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Reverend Robert Crandall

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Reverend  Robert Crandall Obituary
Reverend Robert Crandall

Des Moines

The Reverend Robert Crandall, 68, passed away December 9, 2013, surrounded by his family, at the University of Minnesota Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis.

Robert was born on October 5, 1945 to J. Roland and Winifred (Swick) Crandall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He spent most of his younger years in Shenandoah and graduated from Fairfield High School. He attended Simpson College, where he was president of Lambda Chi Alpha and received his Bachelor's degree in 1967. He continued his formal education at Duke Divinity School and received his Masters of Divinity degree and graduated magna cum laude in 1970.

A lifelong United Methodist and a third-generation pastor, Robert served the following parishes in Iowa: Storm Lake, Eldridge UMC as founding pastor, Sioux City, Sibley, Des Moines and West Des Moines. He also was executive director of Bidwell Riverside Center for 17 years, where he helped those in need with child care, clothing and food, and mobilized the community for more resources when they were needed to assist the poor and homeless who would line up at the building asking for help. He retired from Bidwell in 2010.

Robert served on the Conference Board of Church and Society, the Conference Commission on Religion and Race, Board of Ordained Ministry, the Faith and Labor Committee at American Friends, and the Simpson College HUB and Service Learning Committee. He served on the Board of Directors for the following agencies: Interchurch Agency and Forum Ecumenical Agencies, Iowa Legal Aid, Iowa Shares, Methodist Federation for Social Action, and the Iowa Citizen Action Network Education Foundations.

He was a member of the Bishop's task force on Children and Poverty and Homelessness, and the Des Moines Umbrella Group. He was elected as a delegate to both the General and Jurisdictional Conferences. He was an instructor in the Conference School for Lay Ministry, Grace UMC School for Lay Theology, an adjunct instructor in ethics at Des Moines Area Community College, and in religion for Simpson College's evening, weekend and graduate program. He was awarded the Outstanding Young Religious Leader in Storm Lake, the Methodist Federation for Social Action Social Justice Award, the Amnesty International Leadership and Service Award in Human Rights work, the Iowa Legal Aid Distinguished Service Award, and the Simpson College Humanitarian Service Award. He was the first recipient of the Iowa Conference to receive the Bishop James S. Thomas leadership award in 2011 and in 2012. Simpson College students selected him for the Teacher of the Year award for the evening, weekend and graduate program.

Robert was a dear friend and colleague to many. He was passionate about his faith as it related to peace, justice and civil rights for all. He preached liberation theology, and was part of a key group of religious leaders who joined with labor, peace and community activists to fight for family farms, against plant shutdowns, for liberation struggles in Central America, for an end to the nuclear arms race, for a living wage for working people and the right to organize. His leadership inspired many of the civil, religious and social rights groups in Iowa.

His other passions included being a scholar of the Bible, music, wolves, reading, writing, telling a good joke or not so good joke, watching sports, preaching and teaching. He enjoyed being outdoors whether it was gardening, being at Lake Okoboji with family, or camping, hiking or biking with his sidekick David.

Robert is survived by Carol, his loving wife of 46 years; children, Tiana Crandall and Joshua Crandall (Lacey); grandchildren, Brianna, Nadiya, and Dahlia; great granddaughter, Layla; sister in-law, Mary; niece, Stacey; and many other extended family and beloved friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Judy, and his brother Bruce.

The family would like to express their deepest gratitude to Dr. Horner, from Des Moines, and the nurses, physicians, and staff at the U of M Fairview Hospital for their empathy and attention during Robert's prolonged illness.

There will be a Celebration of Life at Grace United Methodist Church, 3700 Cottage Grove, on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the Grace UMC music program, International Wolf Center, Simpson College, or the charity/organization of your choice.

Published in Des Moines Register from Dec. 22 to Dec. 27, 2013
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