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CROWDER, Thomas Reid Scholar, lover of music, mathematics and education, beloved husband of Linda Rinearson and father of Rebecca, Jonathan, Gregory, Charlotte and Michael, grandfather of Tobias and Nora, died on May 31, after a short illness due to cardiovascular disease. He was 89 years old. Mr. Crowder was born on 13 December 1922 in Chicago, IL, the youngest of three children of Thomas Reid Crowder Sr. and Grace Meigs Crowder, both physicians. He and his sisters Alice and Juliet were raised in Winnetka, Illinois, graduating from New Trier High School. He later interrupted his education at Dartmouth College (class of 1945) to serve with the US Air Force in Germany at the end of World War II. During his service he studied radar and mathematics. On return he studied pre-med at the University of Chicago and then entered Harvard Medical School only to realize he was not meant to be a doctor. He then discovered his passion for music, studied at Longy School of Music, and got a Masters from the Harvard University Graduate School of Music in 1950. Working with his good friend Allan Forbes, Tom became President of The Haydn Society from 1950 to 1956 working in Boston, New York and Vienna. The Haydn Society was started in Boston in 1949 by H.C. Robbins Landon, with the primary aim of recording and publishing Haydn's works. The Haydn Society revolutionized record covers. It was the first record company to illustrate the covers. With the help of Tom's college roommate Alvin Eisenman, who headed Yale's Graphic Arts Department, they arranged for artists such as Joseph Low and Margaret Michel to design their record covers. He had a distinguished 35-year career as a systems engineer and mathematician with GTE Sylvania in Needham. He worked on radar and telephone simulators, air traffic control trainers, and numerous research projects. Tom loved languages and studied Spanish, Arabic, French, Russian, Chinese, Sanskrit and many more. He taught Numerical Analysis at UMass Lowell for eight years. He was a passionate believer in education, an active supporter of public schools, and a critic of MCAS exams. He also tutored throughout his life teaching children and then adults studying for the GRE. He particularly enjoyed attending Massachusetts Department of Education meetings and writing letters to the editor. He played the piano daily and was studying guitar at the All Newton Music School. While he was at GTE Tom met his second wife of 34 years Linda Rinearson. In 1978 he and Linda were married by the minister of the First Unitarian Society in Newton, where they have been active members ever since. Those who knew Tom Crowder admired the depth of his knowledge. He was a voracious reader and book lover and traveled throughout the world. His gentleness and sense of humor will be missed. He leaves his wife Linda and their two children Rebecca and Jonathan Crowder; his son Gregory Crowder of West Newton; daughter Charlotte Crowder and her husband Mark Shaughnessy of Brooksville, Maine; and son Michael Chase of Sacramento, CA. He was the cherished grandfather of Tobias Shaughnessy and Nora Shaughnessy. His sisters Alice Crowder and Juliet Dammann preceded him in death, as did his first wife Jenny G. Crowder. Those wanting to honor Tom Crowder's life and spirit may make a donation to the organization that runs homes for people with intellectual disabilities where Gregory Crowder lives: Newton Weston Wellesley Community Living Inc., 1301 Centre Street, Newton, MA 02459. Or make a donation to the First Unitarian Society in Newton. A celebration of Tom Crowder's life will be held at the First Unitarian Society in Newton on Saturday, June 9 at 2 p.m., with a reception to follow.

Published in The Boston Globe on June 7, 2012
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