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Catherine Ford Crabb
July 20, 1945 ~ January 22, 2024 (age 78) 78 Years Old
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Catherine Ford Crabb (July 20, 1945 - January 22, 2024) was born in Aurora, IL to the Rev. Richard and Patricia Sommer Ford. Cathy grew up in both Allegan and Greenville, MI where her father held pastorates at the Congregational and United Church of Christ (UCC) churches. Cathy graduated from Greenville High School in 1963. She followed a long line of dedicated alumni by attending Albion College where she was active in the college choir, Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity.
After graduating in 1967 with a degree in music and secondary education, Cathy moved to Grand Rapids to begin her teaching career in Grand Rapids Public Schools. An excellent teacher, Cathy loved engaging with her high school students in her English classes and serving as an advisor to both the yearbook and journalism students. She also combined her passion for music and English by developing an elective class in musical theater. A serendipitous classroom placement at Union High School led Cathy to meet her fellow teacher and future husband, Fritz Crabb. The two were married at Park Congregational Church in December 1978.
While Cathy stepped away from classroom teaching after the birth of her daughter, Libby, in 1982, she remained an educator throughout her life. She worked for many years in the adult education programs in Grand Rapids Public Schools before retiring in 2004. Cathy loved spending her winters in Green Valley, AZ, and even allowed Fritz to join her after his retirement. A long-time member of Park Church, Cathy volunteered with the church’s educational programs and helped update the last two versions of the church’s bylaws.
Cathy was thrilled to welcome Libby’s husband, Andrew Wahlstrom, into the family in 2017 and their daughter, Ellen, in 2021. Being a grandmother brought Cathy great joy, particularly as she was able to introduce Ellen to her favorite books and music.
Cathy is preceded in death by her parents Rev. Richard L. Ford and Patricia Sommer Ford, and her brother, David C. Ford. Cathy is survived by a loving family including her husband, Fritz, daughter Libby, son-in-law Andrew, granddaughter Ellen, sister Evelyn Ford-Connors and husband Ed Connors, sister-in-law Sue Nichols and husband Nick Nichols, and beloved nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations can be made in Cathy’s name to Park Congregational Church or the Humane Society of West Michigan.