The many friends and admirers of Robert P. (“Bob”) Crowner mourn his passing, which occurred this week at the age of 87, after a long bout with cancer.

Bob was an exemplar of the balanced life. He was successful in business before he taught the subject at the university level. He believed in the education of youth, devoting his attentions to enhancing it in both the public and private sectors. He knew a lot about a lot of things but never felt he knew enough that he could crow about it. He was an engineer who knew there was another engineer who towered over all others, the Creator who made us all. He worked hard at every job he held, but still found time to work a lot more as a volunteer for worthy causes. As a long-time member of the Mackinac Center’s Board of Scholars, his bio spells out some of the details:

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Prior to teaching, Crowner worked for four companies in engineering and manufacturing management, culminating in a role as vice president of manufacturing. He also consulted for private companies, a public school district, and city and provincial governments.

Crowner was a Registered Professional Engineer in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. He held a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, a Master of Science in Business Administration from Butler University and a Certificate for the Middle Management Program from Harvard Business School.

He did extensive volunteer work, including 34 years on the Lodi Township Planning Commission and 12 years on the Lodi Township Board of Trustees. He served as the director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Stewardship for the Acton Institute. He served on two private Christian school boards and a charter high school board. He also did volunteer counseling for SCORE, an organization which provides free consulting for small businesses.

Bob was an early friend of the Mackinac Center. In the very early 1990s, I met both Bob and his delightful English wife, Christine, and became instant friends. My assistant at the time, Kendra Shrode (now assistant to my successor Joe Lehman), and I enjoyed the many opportunities we had for lunch or dinner with the Crowners. The conversation, graced by Christine’s English accent, was always lively and uplifting. Bob’s broad smile, twinkling eyes and generous wisdom left a memorable impression every time.

I share with my former Mackinac colleagues a sadness at the news of Bob’s passing, but with the knowledge that he left the world a better place and left it for a better place. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his widow and our friend, Christine.


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