Sequim resident dies in airplane crash


Mary Lagerquist, 78, a Sequim resident for the past six years, died shortly after the small private plane in which she was flying plunged into Chesapeake Bay on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Her son, Lanson C, Ross, III, was at the controls. Ross, a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, was able to swim to safety. He was treated and released after spending the night at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md. Ross lives in Fort Washington, Md.

The preliminary Maryland State Police investigation indicates Ross flew his mother in his two-seater plane from Hyde Field in Clinton, Md., earlier in the day to Tangier Island. They were returning to Hyde Field when Ross began experiencing problems with the plane. He radioed the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and informed them he would try to reach Smith Island.

Ross told state police he was forced to land the plane in the water and that it sank rapidly.

Ross said his mother was injured in the crash, but they were able to make some progress toward Smith Island. Ross said after about a mile of swimming in rough water with waves three to five feet high, his mother died. Ross was able to reach the island.

Police recovered Lagerquist’s body at about 9 a.m. Monday off the southern point of Smith Island.

Maryland State Police have notified officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration and both will investigate the cause of the crash.

A musical talent

Lagerquist’s sister, Lila Stoike, said the two grew up in Mission, Kan.

Stoike, who lives between Sequim and Port Angeles, said her sister revealed a talent for music at a very early age. “When she was 16 she was head of the percussion section for the Kansas City Philharmonic,” she said.

Lagerquist eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and a master’s degree from the Chicago Conservatory of Music.

Lagerquist also spent five successful years touring with a marimba band, including a performance on Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town.”

She married Lanson Ross in 1957. They had two children together. Though they were divorced, the two remained close. Lagerquist and Ross were traveling together by RV when they stopped this week in Maryland to see their son.
Ross still makes his home in Sequim.

Family friend Carmen Rice called Lagerquist “a very sweet, loving woman.”

Stoike said she and her sister recently had signed up for tap lessons. She also said Lagerquist was taking Bible classes at the Dungeness Community Church.

No funeral arrangements had been made by press time.

Reach Mark Couhig at

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