Dr. Edward Crowther
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Professor, Bishop, Civil Rights Activist, Psychotherapist
Born on March 4, 1929 in Bradford, England. Dr. C. Edward Crowther passed away surrounded by family on Saturday, June 26th overlooking his beloved Santa Barbara.
Growing up in Yorkshire, Dr. Crowther attended the University of Leeds and then Cuddesdon College, Oxford. He taught criminal and constitutional law at Exeter College, Oxford before moving on to a different career path within the Anglican Church. He was ordained deacon in 1956 and priest in 1957. Edward served as curate at St. Philip and St. James’ Church, Oxford, between 1956 and 1958.
A gifted speaker with a commanding presence, Edward went on a preaching tour in the United States, before becoming Chaplain at UCLA. At UCLA he got his start in the civil rights movement by picketing against racial discrimination in fraternities, sororities and businesses. This activism led to a position as Dean of St Cyprian’s Cathedral, in Kimberley, South Africa in September 1964. He quickly rose within the ranks of the church, becoming Episcopal Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman in 1965. At just 36 years old he was the youngest Bishop at the time. An outspoken critic of Apartheid, a pivotal moment during his time in South Africa was when 1,000 Black South Africans were thrown out of their homes and moved by the government from their native community to a compound 25 miles away. Bishop Crowther visited and found most of the people without food and water, many not having eaten in days. Vowing to effect change, he garnered international press coverage on the matter, led food drives, invited people of color into his home and dined with them in restaurants. These activities brought the attention of authorities, subjecting him to weekly police interviews and a police car stationed outside of his home. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. invited Bishop Crowther to give the keynote address on racism at the Pacem in Terris conference in Geneva in 1967, photos of the event made their way to South Africa and the Minister of The Interior drew up papers forbidding his return. In defiance, Bishop Crowther returned to South Africa, was arrested, and given a short time to prepare for deportation. On the day of his deportation people traveled for miles to the tarmac of the Kimberley Airport. Many in the crowd were barefoot, singing “God be with you till we meet again” and songs of South Africa.
After South Africa Bishop Crowther went on a worldwide speaking tour, eventually settling in California and becoming Assistant Bishop of California. He joined the faculty of The Black Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara, obtained a PhD in Psychology from UCSB, and taught Psychology at both UCSB and SBCC Adult Education. He was one of the founders of the popular Mind/Supermind lecture series before shifting his focus to treating patients, with an emphasis on hypnosis. Dr. Crowther tested the waters of retirement with a move to the South of France in the early 2000s, but people were his passion and he found retirement unfulfilling. Dr. Crowther returned
to Santa Barbara and his psychotherapy practice, continuing to treat patients until shortly before his death.
Dr. Crowther was honored to count Martin Luther King Jr, Bobby Kennedy and Archbishop Desmond Tutu colleagues in the fight for equality. He participated in and led civil rights demonstrations, anti war marches, spoke before the United Nations and was a fellow at The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Dr. Crowther’s doctoral dissertation, Care Versus Cure in Terminal Illness (1975) highlighted three major themes in palliative care, pain, loneliness, and loss of control and led to the founding of a Santa Barbara County Hospice. Dr. Crowther is also the author of Religious Trusts-their development, scope and meaning(1958), Where Religion Gets Lost in the Church(1968), The Face of Apartheid (1971) and Intimacy- strategies for successful relationships (1986).
An avid traveler, Dr. Crowther continued to travel internationally prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but found no greater beauty than evenings spent at the Santa Barbara Harbor in the company of family and friends, watching Santa Barbara as the mountains turned pink. He is survived by his wife, Claudette Crowther, son Paul, (Joyce Crowther), daughters Alison Crowther and Deborah Bahre, granddaughters Kimberley Warkentin (William Warkentin), Ainsley Hughes (Nicholas Gray), Brittany Saavedra (John Saavedra), Jessica Galambos and grandson Brandon Bahre. Edward was delighted to be a great grandfather to great granddaughters Emma and Clementine Saavedra, Eva Warkentin and great grandsons Wesley and Wyatt Gray.