In Loving Memory of Bill Crowther
August 16, 1923
New York, NY
August 15, 2018
Spear-Miller Funeral Home
39 South Benson Road,
Fairfield CT US 06824
St. Luke's Church
49 Turkey Hill Rd. N.,
Westport CT 06880
Thursday, September 6, 2018 11:00AM
Disabled American Veteran's (DAV) Charitable Trust
Aspetuck Land Trust
William A. Crowther
William (Bill) Crowther, a former longtime resident of Westport, died peacefully at his Fairfield home on August 15, 2018. He was 94.
Born in NYC, his family moved often but eventually settled in Manhasset, NY where he entered Manhasset H.S. and graduated in 1941.
The following fall, he attended Colby College in Maine. However, World War II began shortly thereafter and he enlisted in the Navy (inactive duty) while still a freshman. Called to active duty in 1943 at the end of his sophomore year, he left Colby to report to Bates College in Maine as part of the Navy’s V-12 program. From there he was sent to Midshipman’s School at Harvard and was commissioned an ensign in 1944.
Upon deployment to the Pacific, he first served at the naval base on Saipan. After the Japanese surrendered, he was transferred to mainland Japan and served in the Port Director Unit at Wakanoura (Wakayama) and as Harbormaster at Kobe.
He left active duty in 1946 but remained in the Naval Reserves for another 19 years and retired as a Lieutenant. In addition to his own military service, he was especially proud that he was a direct descendant of family members who had fought in the Revolution and the Civil War.
Once in the reserves, he returned to Colby College via the G.I. Bill and graduated in 1947. He then met his future wife, Alice, who was also a Manhasset H.S. graduate. They married in 1948.
During the early years of their marriage, both Bill and Alice embarked on “mad man” careers in NYC. Bill began as a copy writer and progressed to creative director while working at many of Madison Avenue’s biggest ad agencies.
Mid-career he switched to the client side of advertising and became Creative Director for the International Division of Richardson-Vicks, Inc. (RVI) based in NYC. This career-move brought Bill and his family to Westport in 1971 when the company established its new corporate headquarters in Wilton. RVI manufactured and marketed products in 163 countries around the world, Vicks VapoRub being its most famous. As a result, he travelled extensively on business worldwide. He retired in 1985 as RVI’s Director of Marketing Communications, Americas/Far East Division.
As a lifelong sailor, he spent much of his free time on the waters of L.I. Sound sailing his beloved 35-foot sailboat, Mamselle. After retirement, he began sailing with fellow members of the Westport Y’s Men’s “Ancient Mariners.” Until recently, he continued to meet his Y sailing buddies for a weekly lunch at the Horseshoe Café in Southport.
In his late 50s, he fulfilled a boyhood dream to fly and obtained his private pilot’s license. For many years, he flew a leased Piper Cherokee out of Sikorsky Memorial Airport. His interest in flying was influenced by his childhood memories of his father who had been a pioneer in the early days of aviation.
Post retirement, Bill also attended Westport’s “Citizen Police Academy” and was so impressed with police work that he enrolled in The CT State Police Auxiliary Force and became an Auxiliary State Trooper. As a fully armed and uniformed volunteer, his most common shift was an overnight patrol of I-95 riding shotgun in a State Police cruiser. Though his service as an “Auxie” ended when he reached the maximum age allowable by the State Police, he continued to proudly carry the badge in his wallet and to perch his cap on the rear shelf of his car.
His most important contribution to the Town of Westport was his nine years of service on its Planning & Zoning Commission (1994 - 2003). He served a portion of that time as its Vice Chair.
In 2005, he and Alice sold their much-loved antique Westport home and downsized to Fairfield where they continued to live a fulfilling life. He read the Wall Street Journal every day, ate lunch almost daily sitting on his favorite stool at Southport’s Driftwood Sandwich Shop, served as an usher at Westport’s St. Luke’s Catholic Church, and often drove to the local beaches and harbors to gaze out at his favorite scene: the Sound and its boats under sail.
He leaves behind his wife, Alice, to whom he’d been married for nearly 70 years. He is also survived by his three daughters and their spouses; Wendy Crowther (Teri Guma) of Westport, Tracey Maya (Christopher) of NYC, and Kim Manning (Jim) of Westport. In addition, he is survived by four grandchildren: Hadley Maya; and Alison, James and Spencer Manning.
A Catholic Funeral Mass will be held at St. Luke’s Church in Westport on Thursday, September 6 at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be private.
Memorial donations may be made in Bill’s name to the Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV) Charitable Trust (www.cst.dav.org/donate) or the Aspetuck Land Trust (www.aspetucklandtrust.org).