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American Patriotic 10


Richard I. "Dick" Crossland

September 7, 2018

Richard I. “Dick” Crossland, Sr., of Lewisburg, died on September 7, 2018 at Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village.  He was 91 years old.

Dick was the son of the late Rev. Fred Crossland and Ethel (Remaly) Crossland.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from James Madison High School in 1943.   Shortly after his 17th birthday he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, and fought in World War II, including battle in Okinawa.  He received his honorable discharge in June of 1946.

After working in retail and getting his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, Dick enrolled at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Mt. Airy in Philadelphia in September 1947.  Dick often talked about how being a “depression kid,” experiencing the horrors of war, and being the son of a Lutheran minister led him to seminary.  Dick treasured those three years at Mt. Airy because it shaped his thinking and his sense of values for the rest of his life.

Dick married Jean Irene Evans on June 12, 1948 in Mahanoy City. Dick’s father, The Reverend Fred Crossland performed the ceremony.   Dick often spoke of the night in 1947 when he met Jean at a Halloween party hosted by the registered nurses of the Philadelphia General Hospital where Jean was in nurse’s training.  It was a special night that lead to a wonderful marriage and life together that lasted 67 years until Jean’s death in November 2015.

Dick graduated from seminary in May 1950 with the Master of Divinity degree.  He began his ministry as a Board Missionary and Developer with the United Lutheran Church in America.  As a church developer, Dick’s job was to start new churches from scratch or help restore or invigorate struggling or dying churches. 

Through this ministry he served churches in Brooklyn, New York; Schenectady, New York; Norwalk, Connecticut; Saugerties, New York; Seattle, Washington and Dallas, Texas.  While in Norwalk, he also wrote for the American Petroleum Institute at Rockefeller Center in New York City.  Dick’s ministry included the development of an ecumenical TV ministry and a Sunday school for children with special needs in Seattle; starting a radio talk show with a Rabbi, Roman Catholic Priest and himself that discussed various religious and social topics of the day, in Dallas; and the development of a chaplaincy program at a hospital in Schenectady.

Dick left full time ministry after moving to Dallas, Texas and entered the world of finance and insurance, working for Southland Life Insurance Company.

In November 1963, he watched the motorcade of President John F. Kennedy drive by the Southland Life Building. Dick and a colleague saw the President sitting in his vehicle, and watched as the motorcade drove out of view.   Minutes later, Dick and the colleague learned of the tragedy that was unfolding and made their way to Dealey Plaza.  For the rest of his life, Dick would describe that moment as “one long, sad and life changing walk.”

He moved to Flemington, New Jersey in 1967 and continued his career in finance and insurance services working for Ministers Life Insurance Company.   Dick and Jean later formed their own company, “The Crossland Group” continuing to focus on providing financial planning, investment, insurance, and tax advice and service to clergy and religious professionals of all faiths.

In 1982, he moved to Lewisburg to live in the Mazeppa home where his father and mother had lived in their retirement. For a time in the mid 1980’s, Dick served as an interim pastor at the Mazeppa Union Church. 

Dick also studied at Villanova University as part of his Officer Candidate training in the US Marine Corps, and took graduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton Theological Seminary.  He earned the CLU designation from The American College at Bryn Mawr.  

Dick served on Board of Trustees of the Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, and also served as President of the Flemington-Raritan Board of Education. He also served on committees for Evangelical Community Hospital.

Dick was an avid tennis player and devoted New York sports fan, and Bucknell Bison basketball fan. He missed his Brooklyn Dodgers when they moved to Los Angeles.  As a child he regularly attended Brooklyn Dodgers games at Ebbets Field.  He loved reading, playing bridge, Broadway Theater, movies, travel and the NY Times crossword puzzle. 

Dick is survived by three sons, Richard, Jr. and his wife, Anne Warren, of Dallas, Texas; Keith, of Gallivants Ferry, South Carolina; and Jeffrey and his wife, Linda Skinner, of Lewisburg; five grandchildren, Brian Crossland and his wife, Carly, Brittany Craig and her husband, Rob, Patrick, Grace and Daniel Crossland; and three great-grandchildren, Samuel and Jack Crossland and Grey Craig.

In addition to his wife and parents, Dick was predeceased by one brother, Fred E. Crossland.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, 106 S. Second St., Lewisburg.

A private committal service will be held in Mazeppa Union Cemetery.

Memorial gifts may be made to The Evangelical Community Hospital, 1 Hospital Drive Lewisburg, PA 17837, Bucknell University, mail checks to Gift Processing Bucknell University 301 Market Street, Suite #2 Lewisburg, PA 17837 or Buffalo Valley Lutheran Village, 189 E. Tressler Blvd., Lewisburg, PA 17837

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