It is with great sadness that we share with you that Dr. Harold Crowder, long-time World Methodist Museum supporter, passed away on 27 March 2017. His daughter Catherine reported the news with great sorrow, adding that “he died peacefully here at home with Mom and three of his children surrounding him.” The funeral service was held on Saturday, 1 April in South Boston, Va. USA. Dr. Crowder and his wife, Thelma’s contributions to the World Methodist Museum included a large collection of valuable busts of John Wesley, works of literature, ceramic pieces, and many other items. Dr. Crowder was an enthusiastic collector of Methodist and Wesleyan memorabilia and historical items, and was considered an “amateur scholar” on John Wesley, often writing articles and giving lectures on the founder of Methodism.
About Dr. Thomas Harold Crowder, Jr.
Doctor Thomas Harold Crowder, Jr., MD became the first pediatrician in Halifax County in 1960. Over the next forty years he had the distinct pleasure of providing medical care to children and teenagers; and in many cases their children and grandchildren in Halifax and the surrounding counties. It was his wish to remember fondly his colleagues, partners, nurses and the many other coworkers who brought medical care to Southside Virginia.
It is with sadness but joy for a life well lived that his wife of 60 years, the former Thelma Cole Barclift, announced his passing on Monday, March 27, 2017 of advancing Parkinson’s Disease.
Harold Crowder was born in Henderson, North Carolina on August 14, 1929. He was the only child of Harold, Sr. and Mary Paylor Crowder. From an early age Dr. Crowder showed a curiosity in learning and serving the community. He obtained his Eagle Scout in 1945. He was an artist and had amazing hand eye coordination. The last was evidenced by the ability to juggle four balls simultaneously, which made the rigors of mobility loss by Parkinson’s particularly vexing. Dr. Crowder was the valedictorian of the 1947 Henderson High School Class.
Dr. Crowder attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of the Zeta Psi social fraternity, elected to Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-med fraternity and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry.
Dr. Crowder received his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in 1955. While there he participated in a summer internship in 1954 in New York City working with polio patients at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, and was a member of the Phi Chi Medical fraternity. He remained at Duke University Hospital to do his internship and then began a residency in pediatrics at Watts Hospital in Durham in 1957. It was during his time at Duke that he fell in love with his wife Thelma of 60 years.
They were married February 16, 1957, and in June left for Wiltshire, England when his U.S. military draft notice became active. He served as a Captain at the 7505th USAF Burderop Park Hospital in Swindon, England, for two years as chief of pediatrics. Returning to the US in 1959, he completed his last year of pediatric residency back at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. In August 1960, he moved with his wife and children to South Boston, VA, where he joined the Fuller-Roberts Clinic and the staff of Halifax Community Hospital.
Over the next thirty-nine years, he practiced pediatrics at Fuller-Roberts Clinic, for nine years as a solo practitioner followed by various pediatric partners until his retirement in September 1999 at seventy years of age. During his medical career he served on many medical committees, including a tenure as Chief of Staff at Halifax Community Hospital. He was a member of the Virginia Pediatric Society and the Southern Medical Association. He also published an article in the Pediatric Journal.
In spite of his busy medical practice and his large family, with which he spent most of his free time, he enjoyed actively participating in Main Street United Methodist Church where he served in many capacities over the years. He was an amateur scholar of John Wesley, the Anglican clergyman who founded Methodism. This interest became a lifelong pursuit of collecting Wesley and Methodist memorabilia. He has written articles, given talks on John Wesley and donated many items of his private collection to the World Methodist Museum at Lake Junaluska, NC, Duke University Divinity School and Ferrum College, VA.
His other hobbies included the study of the history of medicine, as well as collecting antique medical artifacts and vintage infant feeding devices. After his retirement, Dr. Crowder, with his love of history and interest in genealogy, devoted many hours to help maintain the South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History. The couple has traveled extensively, collectively visiting thirty countries on five continents.
Dr Crowder is preceded in death by his parents Mary Maxine Paylor Crowder and Thomas Harold Crowder, Sr. and granddaughter, Michelle Wright-Crowder. Besides his beloved Thelma he is survived by four children, Thomas Harold Crowder III (Linda) of Chicago, IL, Mary T. Crowder-Paden (Reed) of Cornelius, NC, Chancie Barclift Crowder (Marlene) of Raleigh, NC and Catherine Louise Crowder of Greensboro, NC. Dr. Crowder also is survived by six grandchildren: Courtney Care Crowder of Des Moines, Iowa, Audrey Barclift Crowder of Chicago, Illinois, Sarah Paden Boone of Charlotte, NC, William Thomas Paden of Dallas, TX, Andrew Reed Paden of Cornelius, NC and Nicholas Cole Crowder of Raleigh, NC. His is also survived by his sister-in-law Louise Barclift Hight, a niece and nephew all of Raliegh.
The family will receive friends and those wishing to express their sympathies at Powell Funeral Home Friday March 31 from 7 – 8:30 as well as 1303 North Main Street, South Boston, VA. Funeral services will be held at 2pm Saturday April 1, 2017 at Main Street United Methodist Church, South Boston, VA with graveside services to follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery in South Boston.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Main Street United Methodist Church Organ Fund, 705 N Main Street, South Boston, VA 24592 or Sentara Halifax Hospice 2204 Wilborn Ave, South Boston, VA 24592.