Bruce Isbester Crabtree Jr.

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Bruce Isbester Crabtree, Jr.

Nashville, TN

Bruce Isbester Crabtree, Jr. died May 3, 2014 at the age of 90, following a lengthy illness.

He was born September 1, 1923 in Chattanooga, TN the son of Bruce Isbester Crabtree and Anna Hunter Kirkpatrick Crabtree, and after early childhood in Chattanooga, was raised in Delray Beach, Florida. At the age of 16, following the death of his father, he moved with his family to Nashville, where he graduated from West End High School and attended Vanderbilt University. His education was interrupted by the Second World War, when he served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Philippines and as part of the post-war U.S occupation forces in Tokyo. Following military service, he studied architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1948 as a member of the engineering honorary Tau Beta Pi and the leadership honorary Omicron Delta Kappa.

He began his architecture career at the Nashville firm of Hart & McBride. In 1952, he joined with Warren W. Taylor to form the firm of Taylor & Crabtree, a partnership that lasted for more than 30 years and was responsible for the design of numerous Nashville landmarks, including the James K. Polk State Office Building, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the Andrew Jackson State Office Building, the United States Federal Courthouse Annex, the Ben West Library building, St. Henry Catholic Church, St. George's Episcopal Church, and numerous branch libraries for the Nashville public library system, as well as the Murphy Center at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, and countless schools throughout the State of Tennessee. From 1984 to 1990, he was Vice President of Yearwood, Johnson, Stanton & Crabtree, Architects, and thereafter until his death, he was a principal in the Nashville architecture firm of Johnson Johnson Crabtree.

He was an active and enthusiastic servant of both his profession and his community. He served as President of both the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Tennessee Society of Architects, and was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in recognition of his service to the profession. He served as Chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals of the City of Belle Meade for 15 years, and was a member of the Belle Meade City Commission, and the city's Vice Mayor, from 1988 to 1996.

Throughout a long and richly textured life, he was consistently creative, talented, funny, smart, articulate, insatiably curious, enormously fun, and, at heart, a perpetual kid -- the best Daddy and granddaddy anyone could ever have had.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Dolly Nance Fischer Crabtree, the light of his life and object of his utter devotion for over 68 years; as well as by his brother, William H. Crabtree (Martha) of Detroit, MI; his children, Anna Hunter Crabtree of Nashville, Bruce I. Crabtree, III (B.J.) of Atlanta, GA, Drucilla N. Pugh (Michael) of Pueblo, CO, Raymond F. Crabtree (Ashley) of Nashville, and Thomas W. Crabtree (Deborah) of Alexandria, VA; as well as by his grandchildren, Allyson H. Pugh of Denver, CO, Emily K. Pugh of Atlanta, GA, Elizabeth H. Crabtree, of Atlanta, GA, Bruce I. Crabtree, IV, of Boston, MA, Thomas B. Crabtree of Nashville, Rachel H. Crabtree of Alexandria, VA, and Preston Hunter Crabtree, Mary Claire Crabtree and Taylor N. Crabtree, all of Nashville.

The family is grateful to the numerous caregivers from Band of Angels who attended him in the last years of his life, and especially to Donna Brinkman, Charlotte Malin, Rahel Mekonnen and Savannah Dunn for their devoted attention to him during his final illness.

His Life will be Celebrated at a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Henry Catholic Church, 6401 Harding Road, Nashville, at one o'clock p.m. on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Alive Hospice or to Smile Train in his memory.


Published in The Tennessean from May 5 to May 6, 2014
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