Rev. Nelson Deforest Crowell
BROOKSVILLE, FL: Rev. Nelson Deforest Crowell, a retired pastor with the Wesleyan Church, age 92, of Rambler Drive, Brooksville, FL, formerly of Dye Road, Forestville, passed away Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 at his Florida residence. He was born at home on the family farm in Forestville on September 4, 1927, the son of the late Earle and Lora (Marsh) Crowell.
He attended the former one room Ball Hill Schoolhouse next to the Forestville Wesleyan Church and later graduated from Forestville Central School, Class of 1945. He took a gap year to work for his brother-in-law, Larry Olson, who owned a construction company. Leaving Olson Builders, he went to Houghton College for Theology and Ministry. Often, he would offer a ride to Betty Wolfe to their family homes in Forestville. Her family farm was down in the valley below the Crowell homestead. These trips led to finding something special about each other and eventually led to their marriage on June 14, 1949. He graduated from Houghton College in 1950.
Mr. Crowell’s first church was just a few miles from where they attended college in a little hamlet called Higgins. Together they learned to utilize each of their ministerial gifts. While there, they adopted two young beautiful twin girls: Sharon and Karen. Mr. Crowell and his wife, Betty, were asked to move to Lyndonville to pastor the Hess Road Wesleyan Church. He would occasionally deliver mail for the US Postal Service to make ends meet. This church grew under their ministry and due to his skills, he was asked to start a church on Cleveland Drive in Cheektowaga.
One of his favorite pastimes was to take the girls to watch the planes land at the Buffalo International Airport. He would spread a blanket over the hood of the car so they could lay on it while the planes were going over their heads. The family grew again as they were asked to adopt a baby from the Rochester area. Stephen was added to the Crowell family. Shortly after, Mr. Crowell left the pastorate to again help his brother-in-law to help build his growing business. He worked as a building foreman. Together they built churches, dormitories, a school, office buildings and a library. Mr. Crowell was noted to be a stickler for details and because of this trait, the company continued to grow. His passion for ministry never seemed to go away. Mr. Crowell would fill in for others as they went on vacation and he also filled the Forestville Wesleyan pulpit for several months as the pastor went on a mission’s trip. Eventually, he and Betty returned to ministry at the Fillmore Wesleyan Church and they retired from the Little Valley Wesleyan Church.
Upon retirement, they returned to Betty’s family home on Dye Road in Forestville for the summers and they purchased a winter home in Brooksville, Florida. They eventually moved to the Wesleyan Village where they could become more active with the day to day events. They especially loved the evening events where they got together with friends. While there, Mr. Crowell became known as the “Tax Man”. He volunteered for the AARP each spring to help prepare individual’s taxes at the various sites around the Brooksville area. Often, if people were not able to go to these sites, he would go to their homes. He also filled much of his time helping others remodel their homes.
Survivors include two daughters, Karen (Gerald) Eignman, of Cheektowaga; Sharon Parker, of Silver Creek; and a son Rev. Stephen (Kristan) Crowell, of Belmont, NY. Also surviving are ten grandchildren, five great grandchildren, several nieces & nephews.
Besides his parents and wife, he was predeceased by a grandson Stephen Crowell, Jr., by a brother Richard Crowell and by two sisters Audrey Olsen and Edith Crowell.
Friends are welcome to call at the Forestville Wesleyan Church, 9495 Prospect Road, Forestville on Saturday, February 22 from 10-11 a.m., from where A Celebration of Life will be follow at 11 o’clock with Rev. Bruce M. Ellis, pastor officiating. Private Interment will be at the convenience of the family in the Forestville Cemetery.
The family suggests memorials may be made to Forestville Wesleyan Church Building Fund, 9495 Prospect Road, Forestville, NY 14062. Arrangements are by Riles & Woolley Funeral Home, Forestville. To post condolences go to www.riles andwoolleyfuneralhome.co m.