Robert Lee Crouch, age 90 years of Niles, Michigan, husband, brother, uncle, electrical engineer, hobby farmer, and frequent visitor died peacefully Thursday morning, June 10, 2021 with family gathered at his bedside in his home in Bertrand Township following a brief illness. His family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the staffs of Home Instead and Caring Circle Hospice at Home.
He was born on April 2, 1931 in Niles to Harvey D. and Ingleborg (Martinsen) Crouch and was graduated from Niles High School in 1949. He began his career with Bendix Aerospace in South Bend, Indiana specializing in electronics. His skills continually improved to match the latest technologies such that Bendix promoted him to Supervisor. He spent a year flying every Monday to the Rocky Mount Project and returning on Friday. He retired after thirty-eight years of service, but continued for several more years as a consultant to Bendix.
Bob enjoyed farming as a pleasant retreat from the electronics lab, and had some farmland in Howard Township for many years. But his interest, fascination, and skills in electronics continued at home in the evenings, building electronic testing equipment, radio frequency transmitters and receivers, and other products offered by the Heath Company of Saint Joseph, Michigan under the Heathkit name, and eventually filled his basement with those components.
While he easily followed the changing technology from vacuum tubes to soldering transistors, resistors, and diodes, the era of integrated circuits and printed circuit boards reduced Bob’s interest in the field, and he found more interest in visiting with friends. He was a member of the Bendix Management Club, but would also join regular “meetings” of fellow retirees at McDonald’s, and was known to make home visits to friends and relatives, some more frequently than others.
On May 28, 1955 in the parsonage of the former Wesley United Methodist Church of Niles (now New Journey Church) he married the former Wava Jean Wishman with whom he celebrated the remarkable Sixty-second anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on August 22, 2017. He was also preceded in death by his sisters, Shirley Clark, Mary Jane Wolf, and Jeanette Fein.
Surviving family includes his nieces and nephews, Linda Dorn, Richard Fein, Jody Fein, Dianna Hamrick, Sandy Kidwell, Sue Yoder, Kevin Clark, and Pam Boerner; and by a great circle of wonderful friends including his special friend, Jan Jesswein.
The family of Robert Crouch will gather privately to share memories and celebrate his life at the graveside in Highland Cemetery, South Bend. Contributions in memory of Bob may be made to Caring Circle Hospice at Home, 4025 Health Park Lane, Saint Joseph, Michigan, 49085, https://www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org/caring-circle .
Arrangements were made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:
Bob was clearly captivated by electronics technology, but he also enjoyed studying the nature and seasons of farming. And eventually he found his greatest interest and joy in spending time with the people who had always been a part of his life.