Martin David Crouch

Date of Birth

July 1st, 1947

Date of Death

September 11th, 2017

Memorial Meeting

Multnomah Friends Meeting

Minute

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 years.

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.