Prince Sears Crowell Jr. of Bloomington, Indiana, and Woods Hole, died Thursday (April 11), just three weeks before his 93rd birthday. He was married to Villa E. (Bailey) Crowell for over 63 years. He was born in Natick to Prince S. Crowell and Ethel Moody Crowell. He was graduated from Dean Academy and earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College in 1930, and a master’s degree from Harvard University in 1931. He earned a doctorate from Harvard in 1935.
Dr. Crowell taught at Brooklyn College for a year before taking a position at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He was there from 1936 to 1948. In 1948, he went to Indiana University where he taught until his retirement in 1979. At Indiana he regularly taught invertebrate zoology, which was his field, as well as embryology, anatomy, ornithology and introductory zoology.
His parents had a home in Woods Hole and his interest in marine biology started when he took summer classes at the Children’s School of Science in Woods Hole. In his teens, Dr. Crowell worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory. As an adult, he continued to do research at MBL in the summers, often with an Indiana University student as an assistant. A professor emeritus of zoology at Indiana University, Dr. Crowell spent four terms as a trustee of the MBL and became a trustee emeritus in 1979. He also served on its executive committee and was secretary of its board of trustees. When Emperor Hirohito of Japan visited the MBL in 1975, Dr. Crowell was asked to be one of his host scientists because of their shared interest and expertise in coelenterates, now classified as cnidaria: hydroids, corals, jellyfish and sea anemones.
Dr. Crowell was the first program officer of the American Society of Zoologists and the first managing editor of its journal, American Zoologist. He was a member of the Society of Developmental Biology and the International Society of Developmental Biology. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Indiana Academy of Science where he also was chairman of the zoology section in 1948-49. He served from 1959 to 1963 on the Indiana science talent search committee and he was its chairman in 1963. He belonged to and was a past president of the Indiana University chapter of Sigma Xi and the IUB men’s faculty club.
Dr. Crowell wrote many technical reports and articles for publication. He also did research with his mother, a pioneer in bird-banding, on the displacement of terns by gulls on the islands of southern Massachusetts. He had a long association with the Audubon Society and other environmental groups.
Dr. Crowell had a lifelong love of sailing. For more than 60 years, he raced an 18-foot Cape Cod Knockabout, winning many prizes and honors. With his father, he won two Class National championships. Last summer, at age 92, he took guests and relatives sailing in a borrowed 17-foot catboat.
Mr. Crowell was also active in Rotary and the Civil Liberties Union and he was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Bloomington. In Woods Hole, he was a member and past president of the Woods Hole Protective Association. He was also a flag officer of the Woods Hole Yacht Club, and served as commodore from 1963 to 1965.
In addition to his wife, he leaves three children, Persis Ann (Kent) Morrison of Hyrum, Utah, Polly Feitler of Stow, Ohio, and Prince S. Crowell III of Woods Hole; five grandchildren and seven step-grandchildren; numerous great-great grandchildren; and his sister, Olive Beverly of Woods Hole. A memorial service was held yesterday at the First Presbyterian Church in Indiana. Burial will take place in Woods Hole this summer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sears Crowell Scholarship Fund at the Indiana University Foundation.
Reprinted with permission from the Falmouth Enterprise, April 16, 2002