Dr. J. Donald Crowley
COLUMBIA — J. Donald Crowley was best known for his love of literature and his sense of humor.
Dr. Crowley was an accomplished writer and published critical editions, books and essays on American writers including Robert Frost, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Walker Percy and Mark Twain. He edited "Robinson Crusoe" for the Oxford Press.
Dr. Crowley died Friday, July 1, 2011. He was 78.
Dr. Crowley born Oct. 31, 1932, to Thomas and Corinne Crowley in Middletown, Ohio.
While attending Middletown High School, he was a nationally ranked junior tennis player and continued to play on scholarship at the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in English. He earned his master's degree and doctorate in English from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Crowley and his wife of 57 years, Sue Crowley, met on the campus of Notre Dame while he was in school there and she was attending Notre Dame's sister school, St. Mary's College.
Dr. Crowley taught at the University of Delaware from 1962 to 1967, then in the MU English department from 1976 until his retirement.
His wife said Dr. Crowley's friends remember he enjoyed gardening and never met a Japanese maple he didn’t like.
“He particularly loved trees," she said. "He planted everything at our home.”
Dr. Crowley was outgoing and met lifelong friends by introducing himself to strangers.
“Wherever he was he would meet people, and he was notorious for calling my mom on the spur of the moment saying, 'I just met so-and-so from such-and-such, and I am bringing them home to have dinner,'” said his daughter, Anne Bogenrief.
Dr. Crowley also enjoyed golf, classical music and, most of all, watching his grand-daughters, Caitie and Lauren Bogenrief, dance.
Every summer, Dr. Crowley visited Aspen, Colo., where the family has a home, and he relished long walks there. He also traveled internationally, including to Greece, Denmark and Ireland, his father's homeland.
“He was very proud of his Irish heritage,” Sue Crowley said.
Dr. Crowley’s family said he inherited his father’s gregarious sense of humor.
Dr. Crowley will be remembered as a well-respected teacher.
"Don Crowley was a memorable teacher who valued the beauty of language and the grace of a well-turned phrase," said Elizabeth Brixey, a student of Dr. Crowley's at MU in the early 1980s who became a family friend when she returned to Columbia. "I particularly remember how he read poetry — I can hear him in my head reading Dickinson and Frost. He had a rich voice, and the words rolled out of him in a kind of musical way."
Dr. Crowley is survived by his wife, Sue Crowley; a son, Chris Crowley of Empire, Colo.; a daughter, Anne Bogenrief, and her husband, Shawn, of Dublin, Ohio; two granddaughters, Caitie and Lauren Bogenrief, also of Dublin; a sister, Shirley Murray, of Whispering Pines, N.C.; and several nieces and nephews.
Two brothers, James Crowley and Thomas Crowley, an infant son, Michael, and sister Claire Merrix died earlier.
Dr. Crowley’s family will receive friends following a funeral Mass at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Newman Center.
Memorials may be given to the Newman Center Scholarship Fund, 601 Turner Ave., Columbia, MO 65201-4206.
Condolences can be posted at parkerfuneralservice.com.