Friends knew Marty Crouch as a gentle, humble man who
profoundly influenced them. He led by listening — deeply and
patiently. His example inspired. His wisdom, quiet humor and
ready smile dissolved conflict.
Marty became a member of Multnomah Friends Meeting in
Portland in 2009 after having been an active attender for five
Marty had a stage one melanoma lesion removed from his back in
the ‘80s. He was told by his doctor that even though melanoma is
life-threatening, 95 percent of patients with stage one melanoma
survive for five years or more.
The prognosis motivated him to fully immerse himself in a more
conscious pursuit of living life with purpose. He sought out
personal development workshops, connection in relationships and
moments of reflection in nature, all with the goal of becoming
more authentic and alive.
When the melanoma metastasized in late 2013, Marty supported
others with cancer, joined a writing group of men living with
cancer, shared his journey on his blog and volunteered to
participate in cancer research in hopes of helping others.
Among Quakers, he used his counseling psychology graduate
training to help Friends address death and dying issues, practice
nonviolent communication and explore world religions. In his last
months, he chose death with dignity and invited a group of friends
and family to share his last hours. Friends have said that Marty
taught them how to live — and how to die. His spiritual depth was
derived from loving deeply. He summited mountains. He rafted
white waters. He skied, backpacked, biked, ran, danced and
played the accordion.
Raised on his family’s 350-acre Oregon farm and academically
trained as an engineer, he was hands-on. He helped manage the
$800,000 expansion of Multnomah Friends’ meetinghouse. When
conflict arose, Marty encouraged discernment. Friends remember
his pursuit of excellence. Troubled by the warped floor in the
building’s meeting room, he laboriously tore out the floorboards
and then planed down a massive, bowed supporting beam, the
cause of the undulations.
A passionate concern about climate change led him to join in the
meeting’s “Global Coolers.” He clerked the Peace and Social
Concerns Committee and served as a member for many years. At
home, he installed a solar array to provide all the electric energy
used for both household needs and electric car charging.
Versed in software engineering, after his retirement from 25 years
at the Bonneville Power Administration, he started a website
design and hosting company and served as web-keeper for
Multnomah Friends and North Pacific Yearly Meeting.
Marty found a resonance with the Quaker testimonies of
Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality. He is
remembered for his ability to share a “deeper truth” with
compassion and generosity.
A month before he died, Marty visited what would become his
“green burial” grave site. He later wrote about this visit at his
men’s cancer writing group and noted that he went to the
cemetery looking for a sign that he “had completed the
arrangements for a final rest in a good way.” At that moment he
looked up the hillside and remarked to his friend, “Look, a coyote
loping in the midst of the people and their pets with such obvious
self-confidence” …“Yes. I recognized my sign…May he safely
inhabit this place forever.”
After Marty’s graveside service on September 16, friends became
aware of a companion presence: A coyote had re-appeared.
On November 5, an overflow gathering celebrated Marty’s life and
legacy at the Multnomah Friends Meetinghouse.