Robert W. Crowe ’60 died on March 15, 2019, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
(The following appeared online at mccreryandharra.com in March 2019:)
Robert Watkins “Bob” Crowe passed away peacefully at Kendal-Crosslands Retirement Community in Kennett Square, PA, on Friday, March 15, 2019.
A proud third generation Delaware native, Bob was born March 6, 1939 in Wilmington, DE, to Walter Watkins and Pauline White Crowe. He grew up in the neighborhood of West Haven where he and his younger brother Ron spent summers playing in the neighborhood and working in the family’s seafood and produce businesses. Bob attended Wilmington Friends School where he excelled in both the classroom and on the athletic fields, as president of the student association and as a hard-hitting slick-fielding first baseman for the school’s baseball team. Upon his graduation in 1956, Bob headed to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he served as president of Zeta Psi fraternity, spent two years in ROTC, and graduated with a bachelor of arts in May of 1960.
After spending time in the Army Reserves where he taught English at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Bob enrolled in Dickinson Law School in Carlisle, PA. Not only did he excel academically but he was also a contributor to the law review board and the moot court board. It was during this time in Carlisle that Bob would meet the love of his life, the beautiful Nancy Barton. He graduated in spring of 1965 and the couple married in October—a marriage that lasted over five decades.
Bob was admitted to the Delaware Bar in December of 1965 and went on to a fifty-year career in trusts and estates law for Cooch & Taylor in Wilmington, DE, until his retirement in 2015. It was a distinguished career that included membership and a bar fellowship in the American College of Trusts and Estates Council as well as being named one of the “Best Lawyers in America” (Harvard Law School 1983). Over the years he served thousands of Delawareans with their estate planning needs—his colleagues in the legal community and others have defined him as a legend. To know Bob was to know that he was so much more than a lawyer to his clients—he was a comfort and a confidante.
Bob loved his community and cared about giving back. He joined the Wilmington Rotary Club in 1968 at the young age of 29, and served as president in 1984-85. He also served on the board of the Delaware Association for the Blind. Over the years, Bob and Nancy supported dozens of other Delaware-based charitable organizations.
One of Bob’s passions in life was baseball; it began as a young boy with Ted Williams as his role model and continued through the Phillies’ World Series Championships in 1980 and 2008. He took every opportunity to regale listeners about attending Wilmington Blue Rocks games in the late ’40s and early ’50s in Wilmington Park as well as Phillies games in Connie Mack Stadium. This love of baseball was passed to his son, Rob—their semi-annual baseball trips to everywhere from Wrigley Field in Chicago to Hadlock Field in Portland became material for many cherished memories. His other love was singing. Whether in choirs or singing groups in high school and college, the living rooms of friends and family, or even the retirement community where he lived, Bob needed little nudging to join those around him in song. He truly had a talent for harmony. Bluegrass music, barbershop quartet, acapella, Irish barroom ballads—Bob loved them all. He sang songs so frequently while his children were growing up that his daughter Allison still remembers every word, which pleased him to no end. While Bob was so many things— scholar, athlete, brilliant lawyer, singer, baseball fan, military history buff, storyteller extraordinaire, wanna-be biplane pilot, outstanding member of the community —he was above all else a family man. He rarely missed a sporting event, concert, or play whether for his two children or his triplet grandsons of whom he was immensely proud. He taught his children kindness, compassion, humility, generosity, and the importance of laughter; he had an infectious “hall of fame” laugh. His passing leaves a hole that will be impossible to fill, but the memories of this great man will live on eternally for all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife of over fifty-three years, Nancy Crowe, his daughter Allison Crowe Stautberg and son-in-law Andy of Chadds Ford, PA, his son Robert Crowe Jr. and daughter-in-law Jane of Rehoboth Beach, DE, and his grandsons Adam, Brendan and Jeffrey Stautberg.