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Obituaries » Albert Milton Crowder Jr.

Albert Milton Crowder Jr.

May 5, 2017

U.S. Veteran

Service Date: September 2, 2017


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Albert Milton Crowder Jr.
February 18, 1938-May 5, 2017

Al died Friday, May 5, 2017 at the age of 79 at his home in Petaluma, California after a long illness. His family were all there, which is the way he would have wanted it. He is survived by his wife, Ann Margaret Praisewater Crowder, his daughter, Kimberly Ann Crowder Laidlaw, and his son, Mark Albert Crowder.

Al was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, to Leola Evelyn Combs and Albert Milton Crowder, Sr. Although Al had no siblings, his first cousin Charles Christophersen — the son of his aunt Kay Christophersen — was like a brother to him. He had a very memorable, and good, childhood.

Al attended military school at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, and graduated in 1955. He then spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, traveling throughout Japan and Thailand. Once, en route to Japan, he had a stop in San Francisco and just happened to walk into a nightclub where Miles Davis was recording a performance later released as one of his famous “In Person at the Blackhawk” albums. He spoke fondly of his travels throughout southeast Asia and the time he spent there, and proudly recounted that he and his Air Force buddies introduced the concept of “happy hour” to Bangkok.

He went on to attend college at the University of Florida, where he met his wife Ann of more than 52 years. They met in a bookstore where Ann worked and it was love at first sight. He took her to coffee, and the rest is history. Al and Ann were married in Perry, Florida on August 21, 1965, then honeymooned in Nassau, Bahamas. They started their careers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas where Al was hired as an engineer and Ann was a mathematician. Al worked at NASA from 1967 to 1974, during the Apollo years. He was involved in simulations for Apollo 11 and Apollo 13, and witnessed the first moon landing.

Texas is also where both Al’s children were born: his daughter Kim in October 1970, and his son Mark in March 1972.

From 1971 to 1974 he also attended law school at South Texas College of Law, and received his JD in 1974. He began practicing law, working at the Naval Weapons Center outside of Ridgecrest, California for a year, before returning to Texas. He became a patent attorney and had a successful career spanning many years until he retired in 2008.

Al joined the Masonic Lodge in 1969 and was an active member until the day he died. Over the years, he completed the York and Scottish rites and was Master of Douglas Lodge 153 in Castle Rock, Colorado from 2004-2005. In Portland, Oregon, he headed the scholarship committee, resulting in many worthy young adults receiving scholarships to the school of their choice. He would have been a 50-year member in 2019.

He and his beloved wife Ann lived in many wonderful communities as they traveled the country together. They left Texas in 1990 to move to Boise, Idaho, where they lived until 1998. After Boise, they lived in Castle Rock, Colorado. In 2007 they moved to Portland Oregon, where they lived until 2016.

Some of Al’s proudest moments were attending his son Mark and daughter-in-law Veronica’s wedding on Sauvie Island, his daughter Kim and son-in-law Keith’s wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland, and the birth of his granddaughter, Penelope Frances Laidlaw. Al took great pleasure watching his son-in-law Keith become an American citizen and his daughter-in-law Veronica attend Physician’s Assistant school, dreams Keith and Veronica both worked hard to achieve.

In 2016, Ann and Al moved to Petaluma, California to be closer to their granddaughter, who knew Al as “Pop-Pop”. Al’s last year was filled with family and friends, fun times with his beloved granddaughter, lots of his favorite foods made by Ann and his daughter Kim, and many terrible jokes exchanged between him and anyone willing to listen.

The family is planning a celebration of Al’s life for family and friends on Saturday, September 2, 2017 from 4-7pm at Ann & Al’s home in Petaluma, CA, with plenty of his favorite foods and drink… just as Al would have liked it.