Cover photo for Richard Lane Crowell's Obituary
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1930 Richard 2024

Richard Lane Crowell

September 27, 1930 — June 1, 2024

Dr. Richard Lane Crowell passed away peacefully on June 1, 2024 at the age of 93.  Dick recently resided at Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, but lived most of his life in the Ambler area of Pennsylvania enjoying and delighting in the company of his family; beloved wife Arlene Mildred Prell (predeceased 2020), son Steven, and daughters Kathleen, Barbara (predeceased 2014), and Wendy, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Dick was born September 27, 1930 in Springfield, Missouri to Thomas Rolla Crowell and Addie Malinda Lane, and was orphaned in his youth.  In high school he excelled in basketball, ran track and cross country, played trombone in the marching band and orchestra, and played lead roles in Jr. and Sr. HS plays.    He attended the University of Buffalo in NY and earned his B.A. degree in Biology with cum laude honors, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Society, and was in the Theta Chi fraternity, Gamma Pi Chapter.  Dick continued on to graduate school majoring in Bacteriology and Immunology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN where he earned his MS and Ph.D. degrees.

The family moved to Ambler, PA in 1960 where his career flourished as a professor, and later Chairman of the Department of Microbiology at Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he led pioneering research into viral receptor mechanisms for polio and coxsackie viruses for 35 years.  During his academic tenure, Dick was very active in medical education, student mentoring, and authorship until he retired in 1995 from MCP-Hahnemann University.  He was recognized internationally for his contributions to Virology and was elected President of the American Society for Microbiology in 1991.

Dick’s career and love for travel took him to 4 continents and all 50 US states. He shared these adventures with his family, including taking them all on his sabbatical in 1969 where they lived and he performed research at the Wallenberg Laboratory in Uppsala Sweden for a year.  There, they made lasting memories and friendships. Traveling in a VW Camper Bus and camping with the family was a fun way to enjoy Europe and the USA.  Dick and Arlene continued to travel in retirement and would winter in Fort Myers Beach, Florida where he would also enthusiastically research family genealogy.  Richard had a deep love for family and friends, and would generously share his kindness, wisdom, sincerity, and special gift of connecting with people.

Interment will be at Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler, PA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Society for Microbiology at

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