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Furman mourns death of longtime professor, administrator John Crabtree

Dr. Crabtree was a beloved teacher and administrator at Furman who retired in 1993 after a 35-year career at the university.

John H. Crabtree, a longtime English professor and former vice president for academic affairs and dean at Furman University, died June 26 at age 93.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, July 9 at 1 p.m. in Furman’s Charles E. Daniel Chapel. Following the service, the family will receive guests in the Garden Room of the chapel. Memorials may be made to The Salvation Army, or to the charity of one’s choice. An obituary and online guest registry are available here.

Dr. Crabtree’s Shakespeare courses were among the most popular at both Furman and OLLI.

Dr. Crabtree joined the Furman faculty in 1957 as an assistant professor of English and also served as assistant and associate dean for academic affairs, dean of students, chair of the Department of English and academic dean. He retired in 1993 as vice president for academic affairs and dean and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by the university. A scholarship and a lectureship at the university also bear his name.

A native of Raleigh, N.C., Crabtree served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1944-46. He came to Furman after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina.

A Shakespearean scholar, he received the Alester G. Furman, Jr., and Janie Earle Furman Award for Meritorious Teaching in 1976 and taught for many years in Furman’s study away program in England. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was listed in “Who’s Who in America, Directory of American Scholars and Personalities of the South.”

His contributions to the local community included service as chair of the board of directors of the Furman–Greenville Fine Arts Series and the Greenville County Library. He was a member of the advisory board for the Peace Center for the Performing Arts and of the academic advisory committee at Greenville Tech. He was also active in community theatre, and in 1962 received an “Oscar” from the Greenville Little Theatre for his portrayal of Mr. Asano in “A Majority of One.”

Crabtree remained active in retirement as a teacher with Furman’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. His courses on Shakespeare were among the most popular in the OLLI program.

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