It is with great regret and sorrow that we
must forward the message below concerning the death of our classmate, Jim
Crowther, on Saturday, October 25, 2008, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is
survived by his daughters, Catherine Fraser and husband, Robert of Albuquerque;
Carolyn Roller and husband, Michael of Fort Collins, CO; and Cristin Crowther of
Albuquerque; and his sister, Nancy Berman and husband, Robert of Woodstock, MD.
Memorial Services will be held Friday, October
31, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., at French Mortuary Chapel, 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE,
Albuquerque. Interment of cremains will follow at Sunset Memorial Park, 924
Menaul Blvd. NE.
The family requests that memorial contributions
be made to the charity of your choice.
Well done, Jim. Be thou at peace.
I am writing to
you on behalf of my father, James Crowther. My dad had a heart attack on
Saturday and passed away. His service will be this Friday morning in
Albuquerque where he will receive military honors. We know how special his days
at West Point were to him and we're glad he had the opportunity recently to
attend various reunions to catch up. If you need to contact us with any
questions, you can reach us at this email or our phone (970) 412-6425. Thank
Class Memorial Pages\F-1 Jim Crowther.pdf
One of the earliest memories I have of my father happened when I was about 4
years old. I had stubbed my toe riding my bike in front of our house and it
began to hurt and bleed. My dad had seen what had happened, came over to me and
held me, and told me not to cry, to be a tough little soldier. I didn't realize
it then but looking back now I can see that was the way he lived his own life.
He dealt with far more adversity and pain than a simple stubbed toe, but he
endured it with strength and dignity and rarely shed a tear.
My father taught me a lot about life. He taught me the value or hard work and
how to take pride in a job well done. He was disciplined, organized, and
thorough, and he was! never, ever, late! He was, of course, a soldier and an
engineer and therefore a stickler for details. He once brought me home a plaque
to hang in my room which read, "Why is there never enough time to do something
right but there is always enough time to do it over?" That was his philosophy is
a nutshell. He pushed me to finish whatever I'd start and to never give up just
because something got hard. I struggled through three years of honors math in
high school but he wouldn't let me quit. Instead, he patiently (and sometimes
not so patiently!) sat up with me night after night helping me through the
My dad wasn't one to say "I love you" or "I'm proud of you" much but he was
great at showing it. When I finally settled on nutrition as my major in college,
he promptly signed up for all the nutrition and wellness classes at work. When
he didn't relentlessly tease the wonderful man I'd chosen to marry like he had
all my previous boyfriends and welcomed Mike into our home, it showed me that he
was proud of my choice of husband. And when he visited me in the hospital after
I'd given birth to my daughter, Rachel, I saw him wipe a tear from his eye, beam
down at his beautiful granddaughter, and he patted me on the head, silently
saying, "Well done."
My dad made many sacrifices in his life and he served both his country and his
family with honor and dedication. He dealt with adersity head on and often with
a sense of humor. Just ask me to tell you about some of his Viet Nam stories!
Growing up, my dad was a rock in a sea of emotional females and we were so
grateful for his stability. He wasn't perfect, but he was strong and proud and
generous. I just can't believe he's gone--I thought he'd live forever. But what
he taught me, my sisters and his grandchildren will continue on. God, in His
perfect timing, has called my dad home where he is now reunited with his
parents, a daughter and two grandchildren who died far too soon, and with
numerous fellow soldiers who lost their lives in war. And I'll bet he's even
playing a little fetch with our old dogs! There will be an emptiness in my heart
now until I see my dad again in heaven, but I am so thankful to the Lord for
blessing me with such a wonderful man as my father.
My dad is my hero. He was a brave and
dedicated Army officer. When you asked him what he did for a living he would
tell you he kept our country safe for democracy. He was a soldier, a friend, an
educator, an artist, a writer and a comedian.
In my eyes, my dad could do anything. If
he couldn’t do it himself, he knew what to do to make it happen. He would move
mountains or walk through fire for me without hesitation if he thought I needed
something. I could count on him for anything. Every Sunday without fail I
would get an email to schedule our weekly dinner dates.
He was my biggest cheerleader when I was
successful. More importantly, when I fell, he was there to pick me up, dust me
off and send me back out there to try again. He would listen to me ramble on
and on about what was going on in my life like it was the most important thing
he had heard all day.
I remember dad getting me dressed for
school when I was little. When I was a little older, I remember him sitting in
his recliner in the family room reading the paper. I remember watching Jeopardy
at dinner and trying so hard to beat him to say the answer. I know he let me
win a few times even though he always knew every single answer! I remember dad
bringing me home souvenirs from his business trips. I remember dad being silly
at the BBQ grill for my birthday parties. My friends loved him too, they didn’t
call him Mr. Crowther, they called him dad. I remember how loud his sneezes
I will miss our dinner dates and going to
Isotopes and Lobo games. He knew I liked the nachos and he liked the Indian
tacos. I will miss reading his letters to the editor. He was published in
everything from the Alibi to the Albuquerque Journal to Sports Illustrated. I
will miss talking about football and baseball. He brought me home two foul
balls he got when he went to watch spring training this year. I will miss
talking about our turtles and checking to see if they have gone into hibernation
yet. I will miss dad bringing me a rose from his garden. He had such a green
thumb. I will miss dad coming to my house and playing with my dogs and telling
me it was ok that they were jumping on him. I will miss him petting my cat even
though he was so allergic to cats.
My dad will never walk me down the aisle or
dance with me at my wedding. He will never be there to play with my babies.
But I know his spirit will be all around me. I miss you dad. I pray that the
EMT told you I would be at the hospital as fast as I could. I pray you knew I
was in the hospital waiting to be let back to see you. I pray you could hear
the words I spoke to you even though you were already gone.
Thank you for everything you ever did for
me. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it hadn’t been for you. God blessed
me to have you as my father.
When I was younger, I would think to myself that my grandpa
was not like other grandpas. My grandpa was not meek, sweet, and gentle, but
proud, smart and strong. I didn't know other kids whose grandpas' houses were
full of books on theoretical physics and differential equations. To me, my
grandpa was special--someone I could look up to. Literally, at over 6 feet, and
figuratively--intelligent and strong, proud and independent.
I always thought he was a genius. I would email him all the time for help with
my math and science homework. Once I interviewed him about his ancestors for a
history project. When we went to his house in the summer, I would gawk in awe at
all of the math and science books! he had on his bookshelves. I remember him
writing out an equation on the kitchen table and telling me that one plus one
really doesn't equal two. He seemed to know everything there was to know about
computers, too. For Thanksgiving one year, he brought me books on computer
programming, and showed me all the cool things you could do with the program. My
grandpa was one of the smartest people I've ever known.
He was also one of the strongest. It wasn't really that long ago that I last
rode on his shoulders. From his shoulders, it felt like I could see the whole
world. When he visited us in Maryland, we would go sightseeing in DC--we would
walk around and look at the monuments, taking turns on his shoulders. And when
he would squeeze my leg, I was always amazed by how strong his hands were--it
But most of all, my grandpa was proud and independent. I always knew how proud
he was of serving in the army--he told stories about it all the time. Some were
even funny. I didn't know much about all of the guns and tanks and troops he
talked about, but one thing did come through to me. I was inspired by the way my
grandpa lived his life--thoroughly, and with a purpose. My grandpa believed in
doing things right.
I will think of him this Thanksgiving when he doesn't show up, when there are no
presents from "the Great Turkey", wrapped so neatly, when my dad is sitting
alone on the couch, watching the football game. I will miss his stories, his
jokes, the way he laughed, the way he made my mom laugh so hard. I might even
miss the way he squeezed my leg. But I will always remember him.
My grandpa was an example of many characteristics I strive every day to exhibit.
My grandpa was, and is, and always will be someone I can look up to.
I really enjoyed talking to Grandpa Jim every Saturday
morning when he would call. We would talk about sports and who the Broncos were
playing. It was always fun when he would come for Thanksgiving. We would always
have a lot of fun when he would come to visit. He would tease us about the
"Great Turkey". I will always remember him and miss him.
I loved how Grandpa Jim was always teasing and making jokes.
I liked Myrtle, his turtle, and how he fed her strawberries and kept her in the
bathtub until she was bigger. I liked going places with him like up the tram and
to Isotope games and to the Washington Monument. I'll miss him a lot especially
CROWTHER -- James I. Crowther
Jr., age 68, a resident of Albuquerque, passed away Saturday, October 25, 2008.
He is survived by his daughters, Catherine Fraser and husband, Robert of
Albuquerque, Carolyn Roller and husband, Michael of Fort Collins, CO and Cristin
Crowther of Albuquerque; and his sister, Nancy Berman and husband, Robert of
Woodstock, MD. Jim was blessed with six grandchildren, Andrew, Zachary and
Nathaniel Fraser, and Rachel, Joshua, and Adam Roller. He was preceded in death
by his daughter, Karen Crowder; and two precious grandchildren, Patrick and Amy
Fraser. Jim was born in Baltimore, MD in 1940 to James and Estelle Crowther and
was married to Linda Gempp Crowther from 1961 to 1998. He graduated from the
U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1961 and served in the U.S. Army for 20
years. Jim's service included two combat tours of duty in Vietnam plus
assignments in Germany, Taiwan, and locations throughout the US. He earned a
Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering and taught at West Point in
addition to his command, staff, advisory, and research assignments. Jim retired
from the Army in 1981 at the rank of Lt. Colonel. His military decorations
include five Bronze Star medals, the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal and others.
Jim moved to Albuquerque in 1981 and joined Sandia National Laboratories where
he worked for 21 years. His activities at Sandia Labs centered on analysis of
conventional and nuclear military operations and weapon systems, and included
interaction with a wide range of military agencies in the US and overseas. Jim
retired from Sandia Labs in 2002 and enjoyed travel, military history, sports,
and family activities. He maintained contact with fellow Vietnam veterans,
especially from the First Infantry Division and the First Combat Engineer
Battalion. Memorial Services will be held Friday, October 31, 2008, at 10:00
a.m., at French Mortuary, Wyoming Blvd. Chapel. Interment of cremains will
follow at Sunset Memorial Park, 924 Menaul Blvd. NE. The family requests that
memorial contributions be made to the charity of your choice. French Mortuary,
Inc. 7121 Wyoming Blvd. NE (505) 823-9400
Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:
TAPS MAY / JUNE
James L Crowther, Jr. '61
No. 23334 • 19 Apr 1940 - 25 Oct
• Died in Albuquerque, NM
Interred in Sunset Memorial Park, Albuquerque, NM
I wanted to write my own memorial because I'd seen a few from other grads and
thought most came across as a little more informal, plus I liked their little
vignettes of life that others wouldn't know about. Probably most of all, I
wanted to put down a few words of my own about how much West Point has meant and
the satisfying life I had to look back on because of it. Our four years at the
Academy are such a small fraction of our life span-maybe only six or seven
percent of our time alive but the intensity and direction of those years are
felt for so long afterwards.
As far as I know, I hold the distinction of being the only member of my class to
wear both kinds of stars, turn-out and academic, the same year. The academic
stars I credit to my high school; the turn-out stars were courtesy of the PE
Department, my scourge all four years at West Point. But because of them, in
later life, I went to the gym like I probably wouldn't have done otherwise, and
so I stayed in half-decent shape. So that's one long shadow from West Point.
My roommate most of the time at the Academy was Don Walsh. We didn't much keep
in touch for a long while after graduation, but I treasure the afternoon we got
together about 45 years later in Pittsburgh, where Don had settled. Same with
Gus Stiehl - we three roomed together for a year, and I lost contact with him
altogether, but I had dinner with Gus and his lady at his place in Arizona, and
those 45 years completely melted away for awhile. More long shadows from West
I went Engineers after graduation and led my first platoon and company in the
4th Infantry Division at Ft. Lewis, WA. I remember seeing guys I knew from
earlier classes at the Academy, including some I wasn't especially impressed
with as cadets, but who had already matured into competent and confident
leaders. The seeds had sprouted, and I hoped the same would apply to me.
My next assignment was with a small advisory team on remote Matsu Island just
off the coast of mainland China. Then I went to grad school at the USAF
Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, one of only three or four Army
types in a sea of zoomies. I told them I was outnumbered but not outmanned.
There I found out that Air Force guys aren't so bad after all. One of them
enjoyed swatting the shoes of his compadres during our BS sessions, telling them
to "get your feet off the desk when you're talking to an Army officer!"
Next was the highlight of my Army career, command of Charlie Company, 1st
Engineers, with the Big Red One in Viet Nam. I couldn't begin to collect the
words to describe the experience of that year. Suffice it to say that, given
there had to be a Viet Nam, I wouldn't trade that year for anything. I always
would have wondered what Viet Nam and combat were really like and how I would
have reacted in that environment. Maybe what sticks with me most about that
time is how, even during the draft, the guys in my company put themselves at
risk willingly and repeatedly, day after day, with everything to lose and
nothing to gain except getting the job done. We are a fortunate country with
sons like that. Maybe my best personal compliment from that time came decades
later, when I met my old jeep driver and his family for dinner, and his wife
took me aside to say, "He always speaks highly of you."
After Viet Nam came teaching Math at West Point, a lot of fun and the best
family assignment of my career. I passed the exams for a Professional Engineer
license in Pennsylvania while there too. Then it was back to Viet Nam for a
second tour, this time with an advisory team to a Vietnamese Army Engineer Group
at Hoc Mon. Not
very satisfying, since we basically were working ourselves out of a job and
turning things over to the Vietnamese before the big pullout. Leavenworth was
followed by a research assignment at the Los Alamos National Laboratory,
birthplace of our country's nuclear weapons program, that shaped my second
career after retirement from the Army.
I spent three years at Headquarters, U.S. European Command, as chief of the
nuclear plans shop, my only experience at high-level staff and my only Joint
experience too. A quick year at Ft. Belvoir with the Army Nuclear and Chemical
Agency, and it was time to hang up my spurs and move on. In 1981, I signed up
with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and worked there for 21 great
years, mostly doing systems analysis of new conventional and nuclear weapons
systems. I found that the military isn't the only place with dedicated and
patriotic people, but there is a difference between "working at" a civilian
company and "being in" the military.
Along the way, I picked up a Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars, an Air Medal
and some others. In retirement, I enjoy grand-dadding, traveling, military
history activities, and keeping up contacts from Army days. I had many good
years with my only wife Linda, but, unfortunately, the marriage ended in divorce
in 1998. We had three great daughters, Cathy, Carri, and Crissi, and six
Supposedly one of the ancient Greeks said, "Every man thinks less of himself for
not having been a soldier." I'm glad I didn't have to find out if that's true.
James Irving Crowther, Jr.