Crumbo was born in Lexington, Oklahoma, the son of an Indian mother and a French father. He attended government schools as a child and showed such promise that he received a scholarship to the American Indian Institute in Wichita for his last two years of high school.
Ron Fleming grew up watching his father and grandfather work in wood and often crafted small items from natural materials such as feathers, hides and bones. He worked as an illustrator for forty years until a drawing of a rose inspired him to carve the shape from wood.
Frank von der Lancken was committed to making art available to all Americans, and he promoted this belief as a teacher in progressive art schools. His mother had come to the United States with her family from Lyon, France, and his father was a German silk merchant.