ADA — Richard Crowe was apologetic.
“Sorry for the wait. I just wanted to move some of the snow away from the garage door in case I needed to get the car out,” he said as he gathered his breath and found a seat near the telephone.
That’s not an unusual comment these days, but it catches your attention when Crowe says it. After all, he is 94 years old.
Then again, it is really not surprising to those who know Crowe and his wife, Iva, who is 92. The Crowes have worked as a team for decades, celebrating their 73rd wedding anniversary in November. They credit cooperation, being together and working things out as part of their secret to longevity.
What keeps him going?
“Work,” he says.
What keeps her spry and healthy?
“Working together,” she says.
Nowadays, the Crowes are often seen together, shopping for groceries (yes, he still drives) and running other errands, especially in Ada and Kenton. He doesn’t tackle driving in the metropolitan areas any longer.
The nonagenarians are parents of two children, Elaine Fahey, of Worthington, and Tom Crowe, of Nevada, Ohio, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Richard and Iva, who have lived long enough to see their children retire, are proud of their offspring.
Over the years, Crowe built 45 homes. He did this, as he says “on the side.” For many years, he farmed the 80 acres he owns and another 240 nearby acres.
“I worked late into the night and began again early in the morning,” Crowe said.
His wife, always by his side over the years, helped with the farming as well. Life wasn’t all work; they enjoyed relaxing by fishing and golfing together.
In his youth, Crowe confesses to being what he calls “a rascal,” smoking his first cigarette at 15 years of age, imbibing in booze and gambling at poker with the guys. But youthful indiscretions soon ended.
Crowe said he was introduced to his wife by a friend. They dated more than three years before marriage “because we couldn’t afford to get married; times were tough.” They went on their honeymoon to the Cumberland Gap with only $35 but returned with $5 left over.
Few people escape tragedy in life, especially one who lives a long life. For Crowe, the great sadness came when, at age 30, he and his father, Floyd, age 58, were working on the family farm. The sides of the deep hole, where his father was digging, collapsed. Crowe rushed to help his dad, clawing and scratching at the dirt with his hands to save his dad, but it was too late.
“In time you learn to pick up the pieces and carry on with your responsibilities,” he said. “A tremendous loss is a set back and grief hurts, but a man must persevere on behalf of his own self and family.”
Today, observing wildlife is still one of Crowe’s enjoyments in life. He often heads to the woods on the back of his property where a pair of eagles have made their home for years. “Occasionally, they come near the house,” he said. “The birds hunt for rabbits and mice, but sometimes search out cats and small dogs for food as well.” Many turkeys and hundreds of pheasants once roamed his land, but not anymore. One year he saw a herd of 30 deer on his property.
On the homefront, Crowe says, “Iva’s a great cook.” In addition to preparing delicious and healthy meals, like farmer’s wives are known to do, Iva also served as cook at Hardin Northern Schools for 10 years. With only the two of them at home now, they admit that today’s meals are more easy-to-prepare and easy-to-serve. And, she loved to sew.
Crowe and his wife live only a mile from where he was born nearly a century ago. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” he said.
And together they continue to live in a solid brick home that he built, able to get about on their own, and still take pleasure in life.