Norman Richard Crabtree was born on December 20, 1930 in Evansville, Indiana where he grew up on Claremont Avenue, as part of the Galloway family attending Forest Hills Baptist Church. He graduated from F. R. Reitz High School, Class of 1948 and spent many afternoons in his grandfather’s garage as a teen. He was activated in the Marine Corp as part of “C” Company, 16th Infantry Battalion USMC in 1950 and immediately shipped to Korea. Norman married Mary Carolyn Harmon on April 4th, 1953 and remained married almost 63 years. They raised three children in Louisville, Ky where they lived 51 years before moving to Madison, Indiana in 2011.
Norm passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at his home. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carolyn, who died in 2016 and his mother, Cleo Galloway Crabtree Sovercool of Evansville, Indiana. His father, Chester Crabtree, passed away when Norman was young. Norman is survived by his three children and their spouses: Catherine Simmons and her husband Jim of Boonville, IN; Jacie Stivers and her husband Jim of Melbourne, FL; and, Andy Crabtree and his wife, Julie of Madison/Vevay, IN; as well as grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Our family would like to express our deepest love and appreciation to Brenda Baker, Norm’s devoted caregiver, whom we consider part of our family.
The Marine Corp was an important part of Norman’s life. He served on the front line in the Korean War at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir of the US 1st Marine Division. He survived the battle as well as the march out in below freezing temperatures with no support. His Marine Corp buddy, Andy Oldfield, from California remained Norman’s best friend for his lifetime and they attended many Chosin Few Reunions around the country. The nation honored Norman with Korean Service Stars, UN Medal and Presidential Unit Citation with a star.
Mr. Crabtree worked as a lithographer for Keller Crescent in Evansville, and then for Fetter Printing and Southern Gravure in Louisville.
Norman was passionately involved with all three of his children. He hunted and fished with his son Andy and participated in many Girl Scout activities with his daughters. The family went roller skating, ice skating, sled riding, frog gigging, camping and strawberry picking. Norman was a fabulous water skier and teacher. They spent time at their fish camp on Nolin Reservoir hunting, fishing, and skiing. The StarCraft ski boat was his pride and joy. Norm loved the outdoors and shared that love with his family.
Norman was a member of Beargrass Christian Church, volunteering and attending Friendship Sunday School class in Louisville for many years. Other interest revolved around his mechanical talents throughout his life refinishing pool tables, building tandem bikes and canoe trailers for the Girl Scouts, rebuilding lawn mowers, and refinishing antiques. His love in retirement was radio-controlled model airplanes. He was a member of the Louisville Radio Control Club for decades.
Norman was diagnosed with semantic dementia in 2008. In Madison, the Crabtree’s were members of First Baptist Church of Madison. Norman was loved and will be missed by many.
The Reverend Dr. Susan Lowe will conduct memorial services at 3:00 PM Saturday, March 24, 2018 at the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery Chapel.
Expressions of sympathy can be made to First Baptist Church Stain Glass Window Fund or the Indiana Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Contributions may be made at the IVMC Chapel or at any Lytle Funeral Homes & Cremation Service locations.
Lytle Funeral Homes & Cremation Service, Main Street Chapel, 423 West Main Street, Madison is in charge of the arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at lytlefuneralhomes.com