Charles “Charlie” Dalthorp Crowley died in his sleep at home, suddenly and completely unexpectedly on Tuesday, February 27th. We have all suffered an enormous loss.
Charlie was born in Summit, NJ, the youngest son of George Tynan and Jane Dalthorp Crowley. He was named after his mother’s father, Charles Dalthorp. His name sake was a character, larger than life, and Charlie lived up to that from an early age. Growing up in Short Hills, Charlie demonstrated a love for animals, especially the more unusual and misunderstood like snakes and tarantulas. He had a special love for sharks, and shark week was almost a religious observance. Charlie for a time wanted to be a veterinarian, but his love for people led him to medical school.
Charlie attended Millburn High School, where he played football and then spent a post graduate year at Northfield Mount Herman playing football. At Lehigh, Charlie shifted from football to rugby and fraternity life. Charlie, inevitably, became social chairman of his fraternity, Chi Psi, where he established some of his closest and longest lasting friendships. After working as a pharmaceutical rep, Charlie was accepted to New York Medical College, where he learned to be the skilled and caring physician he became and, most importantly, where he met the love of his life, his partner, wife, and mother of his four children, Elizabeth Ozimek.
Together Liz and Charlie built a full life, with a home in Ridgewood, NJ, two medical practices, and four amazing children, who he loved completely: Claire, Colin, Edie, and Ian. Charlie gave everything to his family, doing whatever he could to help them grow into the strong, resilient men and women they are today. Nothing gave him more joy or made him more proud than the accomplishment of his children and that of their friends. Charlie lived large and loved even larger. Buried in his strong 6’3’ frame was a warm and giving heart. He was a beloved youth coach in the Ridgewood youth football, basketball and baseball leagues. He made an indelible impact on each player he coached.
Charlie’s children gave him an endless sense of joy. He was so proud of the woman that Claire became as she thrived at The Lawrenceville School and Middlebury College, and thrilled by her semester abroad in Paris, where he brought the family to celebrate Thanksgiving. He was excited by her impending graduation May 2018 and full-time job offer in New York City. Colin followed Claire’s example of excellence in academia as well as his passion for sports. Charlie was a fixture on the Delbarton lacrosse sidelines where he honed a hobby for photography capturing action shots of Colin and his teammates, basking in their many successes. This year Charlie packed up his camera and moved to the Villanova sideline where he was thrilled to cheer on Colin and the team as they enjoyed great success early in the season with Colin contributing on the midline. Charlie loved watching Colin play lacrosse. He also loved watching Edie, his third child, perform. Edie, who emulated Charlie’s loving, larger than life personality, pursues musical theatre with a passion. Her admission to Bergen County Academy’s Theatre program and successful start to high school was another source of joy for Charlie. With his three older children established in their trajectories, Charlie had been very focused on his youngest, Ian, shuttling him to lacrosse, basketball, and football practices. They had a special connection as they shared the place as the beloved “#fourthchild”, Charlie fully understood Ian’s sacrifice for his siblings similar to his own. Charlie recognized the sensitive strength within Ian and his amazing capacity for empathy and kindness. Beyond their many accomplishments, it was being together as a family, with their dogs Sadie and Bode, that meant the most to Charlie.
In addition to being a tireless father to his children, he was a devoted husband to his wife, Liz, who cherished their deep love as well as strong friendship, partnership as parents, as well as his ability to make her laugh in any situation. He never let a day go by without an expression of his love in actions or words. Charlie was such a force, such a personality, that he became close to the parents and coaches of his children’s friends. Charlie gathered friends wherever he went in life and they stuck to him as he stayed close to them.
Charlie was the center of his family. He fostered a close relationship between his parents and his children as well as his nieces and nephews. He leaves his mother Jane Dalthorp Crowley, 95, brokenhearted. For his brothers and sisters, he was the light of every holiday event; funny, outrageous, loud, and always so warm. He shared that love with his brother George, sister Cate and her daughter Caitlin, brother Bill and wife Shawn, and their children, Catherine, Kiera, and Ryan. He will also be sorely missed by Kim, Liz’s only sister, and her husband Paul Vessa who became another brother to Charlie, in addition to their children Blake, Taylor, and Michael. The two families spent many joyful times at the beach together in Bay Head.
Charlie was always moving, like the sharks he loved so much. In his wake, he left joy, laughter, and strength. He made everyone around him better.
We all miss him so much. A memorial gathering will be held at Feeney Funeral Home, Ridgewood, on Wednesday from 3:00 – 5:00 PM and 7:00 – 9:00 PM. A memorial service will be held at St. Elizabeth’s, Ridgewood, on Thursday at 10:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Charlie’s name at donate.nationalgeographic.org "pristine seas" and put in the memo "Galapagos Sharks".