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Bill M. Crowley

| November 18, 2009 11:00 PM

Bill M. Crowley, 73, of Libby died Monday in Kalispell from complications of cancer treatment.

He was born Nov. 30, 1935 in Lawson, Mo., the son of Francis L. and Blanche Elizabeth (McQuerrey) Crowley. After the death of his mother when he was the age of 3, Van and Myrna Bright, their aunt and uncle, along with their grandfather, W.D. Crowley, raised him and his twin sister, Betty. He attended Lawson schools and graduated in 1953.

Mr. Crowley married Joyce Marie Weissenbach of Lawson on June 3, 1956 at the Christian church in Lawson. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwest Missouri State College in 1957.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1957-59 and was stationed in West Germany, where his son, Jeffrey Lynn, was born. He entered the reserves in 1959 and was honorably discharged in 1963.

He returned to the Kansas City area after completing his active service and worked for Phillips Petroleum. During this time the couple's daughter, Jennifer Rae, was born in Kansas City.

He began his career in education by teaching at Washington Elementary in Excelsior Springs, Mo. He attended a University of Missouri program offered at Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield and received his Master of Science degree in education in 1967. He returned to his hometown and served as elementary principal in the Lawson schools. He later ran the school district's special education programs in addition to retaining some principal duties at the former Nike base facility.

Family called him an integral part of the lives of many children and families and was known as a principal who knew the name of every child in his care. He retired in 1992 from the Lawson School District and enjoyed his retirement years in Lawson and Libby.

He was active on many church and community boards, serving on the Lawson Housing Authority, Public Water District and chairing the Lawson Centennial Celebration in 1971. He was an elder of the United Christian and Presbyterian Church in Lawson and after a move to Libby in 1998, served as an elder in the Libby Methodist Church.

He was actively involved in the lives of his children and those of his extended Crowley family. He coached his children in basketball and had a lifelong love of sports, particularly basketball and baseball. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed camping and hiking. He loved music and sang in the church choir. He was involved in the lives of his granddaughter in Missouri and great nieces in Montana.

He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother, Ruby (Crowley) Newby; and in-laws, Russell and Virginia Mae Weissenbach.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Marie Crowley, of Libby; a son, Jeff Crowley and wife Donalyn and daughter, Kendall of Trenton, Mo.; a daughter, Jennifer Crowley Johnson and her husband Roger of Wichita, Kan.; his twin sister, Betty Gray of Lawson; brother-in-law, Ed and Lila Weissenbach of Gallatin; and many cousins, nephews, nieces and other relatives.

Montana services included a family visitation from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 at Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Libby. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 at the funeral home chapel.

Services in Lawson will include a family visitation on Tuesday, Nov. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at Polley Funeral Home. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the United Christian and Presbyterian Church in Lawson with burial to follow at the Lawson Cemetery.

Memorial contributions are encouraged for the Libby Methodist Church and the United Christian and Presbyterian Church in Lawson.

Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home in Libby handled local arrangements.