Dr. Richard Bruce Crabb died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on February 12, 2018, at Delaware Hospice in Milford of complications from pneumonia.
Dick was born on March 24th, 1934 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Richard and Ida Georgiana Crabb. He had a happy childhood and a warm relationship with his parents, sister, Jane, and grandparents, Joe and Minnie Bauer. From a young age, he set his sights on becoming a doctor and nurtured his love of reading, music, and sports. He sang with his high school glee club and choir and was on the wrestling, track, soccer and baseball teams. After graduating from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in three years, Dick attended medical school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. On completing medical school and serving a rotating internship at Harper Hospital, in Detroit, Michigan, he joined the United States Air Force and served as a flight surgeon with the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, Kadena Air Base in Okinawa for 3 yrs. Following that he completed his 4 year residency in general surgery at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.
In 1967 Dick joined C. Edward Graybeal to practice general surgery in Milford, Delaware. And at that time he stayed in the Air Force Reserve for the next 5 years and was honorably discharged with the rank of Major in 1972. For the next 28 years he was affiliated with Milford Memorial Hospital where he practiced medicine with expertise, compassion, and integrity. He held Milford Memorial and the community it served in very high regard and cherished the many professional and personal relationships he built there. He held multiple appointments at the hospital including president of the medical staff and chief of surgery. In addition, Dick was a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, and the Medical Society of Delaware. After retiring from active surgical practice, he served as medical director of the Milford High School Wellness Center and was on the Bayhealth Foundation Board of Directors. Through attending continuing education conferences and reading medical journals, Dick stayed current in the field and maintained his medical license until last year. His dream for Milford was a new hospital and he almost got to see his dream realized.
Dick met his first wife Frances Martin while in medical school in Washington DC where she was a hospital nutritionist. Together Dick and Fran raised four children – Jennifer, Colin, James, and Mary – until her death from breast cancer in 1973. In 1975, he met and married Patricia Hopkins, a nurse and mother of two young daughters, Tina and Elizabeth. He was a loving and supportive husband, father, grandfather and friend, as well as a doting “pet father” to many cats and dogs over the years.
Dick had a life-long intellectual curiosity and quest for knowledge. He was a voracious reader on a wide variety of subjects and topics, and treasured his ever expanding library and many subscriptions to magazines. He was particularly interested in archeology, history, and astronomy, and had a passion for classical music. Through thick and thin, he was an enduring fan of his beloved Philadelphia Phillies and Dick and Pat spent every March in Florida, following the team in spring training. He was an avid fan of Duke Blue Devil basketball, world travel, canoeing, tennis and playing bridge. In recent years, he crossed off his bucket list visits to China, Egypt, Australia, and Normandy. Dick was a faithful member of Avenue Methodist Church and a loyal baritone in the choir for many years.
Dick is survived by Pat, his devoted wife of forty-two years; son Colin and daughter-in-law Mika Yoshino of Oakland, California; son Jim of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; daughter Mary Crabb and son-in-law Mark Dolan of El Cerrito, California; daughter Tina and son-in-law Mike Hilligoss of Milford, Delaware; daughter Liz and son-in-law Sim Stiffler of Milford, Delaware; son-in-law Tony Lauria of Elk Grove, California; and grandchildren Nick Lauria, Connor Crabb, Saki Crabb, Francesca Lauria, Juliana Lauria, Dylan Hilligoss, Brock Hilligoss, Nora Dolan, and Norri Stiffler. He is preceded in death by his sister Jane Boyette and his daughter Jennifer Crabb.
The family will receive visitors at Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St. Milford, from 5-7PM on Friday 2/23, and from 10-11AM Saturday, with a Memorial Service at 11.
The family would like to thank the staff of Milford Bayhealth Hospital and Delaware Hospice for their expert care and kindness during his illness. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dick’s name to Avenue UMC (see above), Delaware Hospice (100 Patriots Way, Milford 19963), Bayhealth Foundation (www.bayhealthfoundation.org/ways-to-give/donate) or your local SPCA (22918 DuPont Blvd, Georgetown 19947).
For condolences please visit www.rogersfhmilford.com.