Marty Crouch was an electrical engineer, a manager, a life coach, an entrepreneur, a husband, a father, a friend, and a life-long learner. He lived with metastatic melanoma for the last four years of his life. He died in his home on September 11, 2017 at age 70.
Marty was born July 1st, 1947, the first child to Harold and Grace Crouch who uprooted themselves from the Great Plains of Western Kansas to settle in Douglas County, Oregon.
Marty grew up on a 350-acre farm along Calapooya Creek between Umpqua and Sutherlin. During his childhood, he was known to most as “Martin”, later adopting “Marty” while attending college at Oregon State University to pursue a degree in electrical engineering.
The oldest of four Crouch children, Marty recalled of his childhood on the farm, “We roamed the fields, hills, trees and the creek-side.” His love of the outdoors proved to be an overarching theme in his life. He developed an ear for music, graduating from accordion to trumpet, to electric guitar in his youth, only to return to accordion late in life. He retained an extraordinary sense of pitch, correctly identifying, by ear, the notes of wind chimes and other sounds in his last days.
Marty met his first wife Linda during his junior year at OSU. They were married in 1968 and had their first child, Corina, in 1969. After graduation Marty took a job as an electrical engineer with the Bonneville Power Administration and the young family moved to Beaverton, where they worked with a contractor to build their first home—Marty doing the electrical work and assisting with other trades—near Beaverton Christian Church, where they attended. Their second child, Chad, was born in 1973.
The family soon moved to Bull Mountain, on the fringe of Tigard, Oregon in 1977. This afforded the rural-raised couple a semi-pastoral setting with access to the well-regarded suburban school district. Marty designed and drafted the house based on the Saltbox Colonial architecture the couple grew fond of during a vacation to Cape Cod in the early seventies, again plying his skills and labor toward completing construction.
Marty was mechanically inclined and independent, performing most automotive repairs, and home & garden improvements himself. Marty’s personal interests included photography, computers, backpacking, cross-country skiing, kayaking, and running. In the late seventies and early eighties, a promotion within BPA to a management position coincided with an increased interest in running. Marty could often be found jogging long distances along the narrow roads where housing developments cropped up between working farms.
Following a separation that ended in divorce in 1987, Marty began a multi-year period of seeking personal growth. He completed a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lewis & Clark College, participated in various self-enrichment organizations and programs, and in his words, “As years passed, I found a deeper interest in the Unitarians and the Buddhists.” In this timeframe he also took up mountain climbing and downhill skiing. He summited many peaks in the Pacific Northwest Cascades, and remained a member of the Mazamas Mountaineering Organization for the remainder of his life.
Marty moved from Vancouver to the Hollywood District of NE Portland in 1995. He met his second wife Eddy while attending the Living Enrichment Center. Together, they taught relationship classes at the center, and in the autumn of 1996 they were married.
After taking an early retirement from BPA, Marty jump-started a new career as a business and life coach. He soon pivoted to a more technically minded role of providing teleconferencing and Internet services for professionals in the coaching field, eventually expanding his business, WebValence, to include his wife and seven independent contractors to serve a broadening client base.
Marty and Eddy found a lasting home at Multnomah Friends Meeting, a Quaker spiritual community, and formally became members of the Religious Society of Friends. Marty served on the Property Committee and clerked the sub-committee for the Friends’ remodel of the meeting house at 4312 SE Stark St. He also served on the Peace and Social Concerns Committee.
Marty always wanted to leave his corner of the world better than he found it. Never was this more literally true than when, upon receiving notice from the City of Portland to repair cracks in the sidewalk, he chose to, at considerable cost, completely remove and replace the original concrete to provide almost 200 linear feet of safe, handsomely crafted sidewalk for future generations outside Marty and Eddy’s home on the corner of NE 44th and Thompson, and at their rental home on the corner of NE 42nd and Thompson. Marty cherished the Hollywood District for its walkability.
Marty’s desire to effect positive change in his community carried on after relocating to the Hillsdale neighborhood of SW Portland in 2007. Marty advocated for street improvements, modified his home’s landscaping to become an Audubon Certified Backyard Habitat, volunteered to nominate heritage trees, and, with Eddy, invited neighbors into their home for study groups on various topics close to their hearts.
One of Marty’s chief concerns for present and future generations was climate change. His response was thoughtful, proactive, and personal. Among his many commitments to personally making a difference was installing a solar array to provide all the electric energy used for both household needs and electric car charging. As a conscious consumer he was ever mindful voting happened with dollars as well as ballots.
Marty was diagnosed with stage one melanoma in the early 1980’s. The lesion and neighboring tissues were removed with a wide area excision. He was diagnosed, for the second time, over 30 years later in 2013 with stage four melanoma with metastases in his central lymph nodes and lungs. He qualified for treatment in an IL-2 immunotherapy clinical trial and had a favorable response, allowing for an additional three years of largely symptom-free survival. Finally in 2017 a seizure revealed new metastases in Marty’s brain. He was treated with brain surgery, another immunotherapy regimen, stereotactic brain radiation and lastly, a targeted drug therapy. Throughout his treatment Marty wanted his legacy to reflect his contribution to research efforts at finding a cure for others in the future.
Marty is survived by his wife Eddy Marie Crouch of Portland, OR, his daughter Corina Kaul of McGregor, TX, son Chad Crouch of Portland, OR, sister Kathleen Pedersen of Rice Hill, OR, brother Glen Crouch of Salem, OR, sister Annette Harper of Roseburg, OR, first wife Linda Pickett of Tigard, OR, and five grandchildren.
When a member of a Quaker meeting dies, the other members, family and friends gather for a Memorial Meeting for Worship. This memorial will take place on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 4PM at The Multnomah Friends Meeting House, located at 4312 S.E. Stark Street in Portland, Oregon. The Memorial Meeting for Worship will be followed by a reception. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, Marty requested that donations be made to Solar Oregon to support a clean energy future through the use of efficient technology and renewable energy.