Guy Farmer: Mayor Bob Crowell, an admirable politician
I had a lump in my throat last Saturday afternoon as a hearse carrying the body of our late Mayor, Bob Crowell, pulled up in front of City Hall to begin a simple but moving naval “bell ceremony” in his honor. It was the right way to remember a retired U.S. Navy captain, an officer and a gentleman who lived up to our shared military ideals: Duty. Honor. Country.
Mayor Bob and I were friends ever since he took over at City Hall 12 years ago. We had shared values due to our military service, although he was a career naval officer who served in Vietnam while I flew for the Air Force between wars. Nevertheless, both of us believed in honoring our flag, standing for our National Anthem and serving our country. Dedicated to public service, he served his country and his city for most of his adult life, and that’s his proud legacy. I’ll always have a vision of Mayor Bob in his Navy dress uniform at public events in his beloved hometown. He would have loved his memorial service.
As fellow prostate cancer survivors, we kept track of each other’s PSA scores. Mayor Bob was very interested in the proton beam radiation treatments I received at the Loma Linda University Medical Center about 10 years ago and he accompanied me to a local Loma Linda cancer patients’ reunion in Minden a few years ago.
Here’s the kind of person that Mayor Bob was: My Mexican niece, Griselda, visited Carson two or three years ago and we bumped into the mayor downtown. He talked to her like a long lost relative; she was thrilled and I was duly grateful and impressed. Earlier, two Peruvian friends, Eduardo and Graciela “Gachy” Bedoya, visited me here in Carson. Eduardo is a prominent architect and Gachy runs a student exchange program out of their Lima home. My good friend, Chamber Manager Ronni Hannaman, organized a reception for the visitors and Mayor Bob was there to welcome them and make them honorary Carson City citizens, which was a highlight of their trip to America.
Mayor Bob and I had our political differences over the years, starting with that big new library project that we didn’t need, didn’t want and couldn’t afford. Fortunately, it failed. And then I opposed him on the legalization of so-called “recreational” marijuana and rejected his “rule of law” argument that state law required us to legalize pot even though 14 of the state’s 17 counties, including Carson, voted against it.
Nevertheless, it was always possible to disagree with Mayor Bob without being disagreeable, and that’s an admirable quality in today’s polarized political world. I never heard our late mayor say a bad word about anyone, or trash his political opponents because he treated everyone with kindness and respect. Don’t you wish more of our local, state and national politicians were nicer people with better manners?
I thought about Mayor Bob’s ability to bring people together during his memorial service last Saturday as I participated in an amicable conversation between two of my political friends, former Republican Assemblyman PK O’Neill and ex-Carson City Librarian Sena Loyd, a Democrat, who are opposing each other for the District 40 Assembly seat in November. Mayor Bob must have been smiling down upon them.
And the two candidates for the Ward 2 supervisor’s seat, my friends Maurice “Mo” White and Stacie Wilke-McCulloch, are also following Mayor Bob’s “be nice” political philosophy. Good for them.
My condolences to the mayor’s widow, Susan, and the entire Crowell family. Fair weather and following seas, Bob. We already miss you.
Guy W. Farmer has been a Carson City resident since 1962.