Cover photo for Rev. Harry W. Crandall's Obituary
1932 Rev. 2019

Rev. Harry W. Crandall

March 30, 1932 — May 14, 2019

Husband, father, grandfather, Episcopal priest, mentor, leader, US Army officer, humanitarian, tireless volunteer, and a friend to all, the Rev. Harry Wilson Crandall was born on March 30, 1932 on Great Diamond Island, in Casco Bay, Portland, Maine, and died Tuesday, May 14, 2019, after a brief illness; he was 87. Harry is predeceased by his parents, Major General HarryWells and Mrs. Ada Elizabeth (Wilson) Crandall and his brother Steven Charles Crandall. He is survived by his sister, Nancy (Crandall) Maddocks, his loving wife Catherine Frasier ‘Kitty Dee' (Dishman), his children Catherine Furr ‘Kate' (Crandall) Hedderich and her spouse Scott Raymond, Michael Wilson Crandall and his spouse Katherine Kaye ‘Kathy' (Anderson), and grandchildren Catherine Laura ‘Kitty' Hedderich, Wilson Raymond ‘Wil' Hedderich, William Wells Crandall and Cortland Kaye Crandall.

Harry led an amazing and incredibly full life. He would tell people that his life was divided into clear parts. The first part could be labeled his "service to man." A self-professed "army brat," Harry was used to moving as his father changed military assignments. Fate would have it that as Harry entered high school his father would be assigned to the United States Military Academy (West Point.) When he graduated and his family moved to the next assignment (in Hawaii), Harry stayed behind to attend the West Point Prep School and then, as his father had before him, to enter West Point--with an appointment from President Harry S. Truman--as a member of the Class of ‘56.

After graduation, Harry's career was as varied as it was successful. Upon his commission, he served as an Aide de Camp to Brigadier General H.A. Gerhardt, who promptly took Harry with him to Korea. Returning stateside, Harry became a member of the 101st Airborne as an artillery officer. Then it was off to Armor School at Ft. Knox, where he met the love of his life and his wife of 55 years, Kitty Dee Dishman. Shortly after their marriage, Kitty Dee joined Harry at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma; then duty directed him to Germany with a Pershing Nuclear Missile Battalion. While there, he saw the birth of his daughter and, perhaps as a prelude to his future career, he was awarded Legion of Honor membership in the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in Philadelphia. Next came a stint at Ft. Leavenworth and the birth of his son. Followed by a tour in Vietnam in 1968. Once back in the States, he served in the Secretary of Defense's office as a nuclear advisor. After the Pentagon, he was sent back to Germany and the same nuclear missile battalion as commanding officer. Finally, he served at Ft. Leavenworth in the role of Chief of Concepts in the Combined Arms Command. Harry formally retired from the military in 1980.

The second part of his life could be labeled "service to God." While it formally began with his enrollment in divinity school, Harry would tell people that he was simply picking up his original deferred dream from high school of becoming a priest. With the same precision of his previous career, Harry, along with his wife, two kids, a mother-in-law, and a dog, he enrolled in the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Harry excelled in school-- a non-traditional student to be sure, but one whose unique background and training led him to be elected class president for three years. He received the Wood's Leadership Award in the Spring of his freshman year in 1981.

After graduation in 1983, he was called to Hungars Cure Parish on the Eastern Shore of Virginia to be Deacon and then Rector, after Ordination to the Priesthood. Serving a parish with three churches whose roots date back almost 400 years was no small feat. Harry served for nearly 20 years as rector and presided over a congregation steeped in tradition. Harry helped lead his parish to address important yet sensitive issues such as race and economic disparity and, later, issues surrounding homosexuality and gay marriage. These issues were not easy ones, and not everyone in the parish agreed with the path in which the church was moving.

The Hungars community saw him behind the pulpit--a comforting and reassuring figure delivering the message of God's love in a warm and knowledgeable fatherly tone: Harry's ministry drew followers. His style was simple and straightforward, but also one which would have you thinking about his message days and weeks later.

Harry exemplified a "life in Christ." He was available whenever a parishioner was in need. He made time to see the sick at Shore Memorial Hospital and residents at various nursing homes. He worked with the Diocese of Southern Virginia on Episcopal communications. In recognition of that role, he received the Janet Pierce Award in 1998, the highest honor given to Episcopal communicators. He was the first priest to receive it.

Harry would claim that his retirement formed another clear part of his life, but this is misleading. For while he retired from Hungars in 2002 and was unanimously elected as Parish Rector Emeritus, he never truly retired from service. In this new role he combined his service to God with his service to man. His volunteer work continued, and with it his time, talent and leadership were given to groups like Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Rotary (where he served as president), United Way and Eastern Shore Community College Foundation. In recognition for his work on behalf of the Community College, he was presented a Leadership in Philanthropy Award, and a full scholarship was granted to a deserving student in Harry's name. He also continued to work as a volunteer at the hospital and to minister to the elderly and infirmed. In 2008, he received the Outstanding Citizen Award from the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce.

Late in life, Harry would say that his career was in sales, and that he always strived to steer clear of getting on management's bad side. In the end, it turned out management must have liked what he was doing and was impressed enough to give him a promotion to above. While Harry will be dearly missed, we know he is rolling up his sleeves and is hard at work on the next chapter of his career in heaven. Luke 6:23 "Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven."

A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m, Saturday, June 22, 2019, at Hungars Episcopal Church, 10107 Bayside Road, Bridgetown, VA.

Interment will be at a later date at Ebenezer Cemetery near Bluemont, Virginia in Loudon County.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Eastern Shore Community College Foundation, 29300 Lankford Highway, Melfa, Virginia 23410; the Eastern Shore Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 1299, Exmore, Virginia 23350; or Hungars Cure Parish, P.O. Box 367, Eastville, Virginia 23347.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.doughtyfuneralhome.com

Arrangements were made by Doughty Funeral Home in Exmore, Virginia.


Celebration of Life Service

Hungars Episcopal Church
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  • 10107 Bayside Road
    Machipongo, VA 23405
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