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Dennis Crow, former Sandy High principal, dies

Crow, a big fan of old-time radio, worked at Oregon Trail schools for 21 years
by: File photo, Dennis Crow, pictured in 2004, shared his love of old-time radio with other fans.

The mellifluous voice of Dennis W. Crow, historian, old radio fan and Sandy educator, was stilled early Sunday morning when a fast-moving cancer claimed his life at his Gresham home.

Crow was a devotee of old-time radio and, even as a grown man, just goofy about the 'Cinnamon Bear.' He took his radio program to the Troutdale Historical Society just a month ago and was set for two more appearances when illness struck him at the age of 65.

'He lived his life up to a week before he died,' said his wife, Shirley. 'He was doing everything he wanted to do, and he was very happy.'

A service for Crow, who began teaching at Sandy High in 1964 and retired in 1995, will be at 4 p.m. Monday, April 28, at Sandy Assembly of God, 39800 Highway 26. Visitation is from 4 to 7 p.m., Friday, April 25, at Sandy Funeral Chapel, 39551 Pleasant St. Burial will be at Damascus Cemetery.

'He was really loved in the community,' said Sandy historian Phil Jonsrud. Jonsrud said Crow was one of the best speakers he ever heard and that at the last meeting of the historical society read a poem about passage of the Shelley family on Laurel Hill that brought his audience to tears.

'We have lost someone who embraced the community from the youngest child in the classroom to the eldest concerned citizen,' said Ann Marie Amstad, Sandy Historical Society secretary. 'He was a good listener, a creative thinker and a man who exemplified compassion in his daily life.'

Crow was a board member of the historical society, a board member for nine years of Mt. Hood Hospice, which cared for him in his last few days, a member of Kiwanis and a past deacon of Sandy Baptist Church.

He used his collection of 4,000 radio programs to transport groups, including Elderhostel classes, back to the days of 'The Shadow' and 'Fibber McGee and Molly.' At Christmas, he revived and shared his material on the 'Cinnamon Bear,' which he heard in his childhood and preserved for others to enjoy.

'It (radio) was a different kind of entertainment,' he told The Outlook in 2004. 'It was family oriented.'

He was born July 6, 1942, in McMinnville to Jamie (Mize) Crow and Loyd W. Crow and grew up and was educated in McMinnville, graduating from Linfield College in 1960.

It was at Linfield as a radio talk show host and disc jockey that he developed his passion for radio. All his life he liked to announce in silken tones: 'KMCM on your dial, a whole new wonderful world of sound.'

He began teaching at Sandy in 1964, working his way up the administrative ladder to become superintendent of the Sandy High District (now Oregon Trail School District) in 1990.

He married Shirley Boring, also a board member of the Sandy Historical Society, on July 31, 1971, in Sandy.

In retirement, he worked seven years at Waldenbooks in Gresham. 'That was his candy store,' said his wife. 'He could sell you a book and give you a synopsis.'

'He leaves students too numerous to count remembering his insight into and recitations of poetry, prose and literature,' Amstad said.

In addition to his wife of Gresham, he is survived by a brother, David Crow, four nephews, three great-nieces and one great-nephew.

Sandy Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements.

The family suggests contributions to Mt. Hood Hospice, Sandy Historical Society or the Sandy Baptist Church.