William E. "Buster" Crabbe

March 18, 2017 
WATERTOWN, NY  —  William E. “Buster” Crabbe, 81, passed away Tuesday, March 14, at the Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville, NY.

The memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Thursday, March 23, at the Reed and Benoit Funeral Home, Watertown, with Pastor Jeff Smith officiating. Visiting hours will be held 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. A burial service will take place later this spring.

William was born in Harrisburg, PA, a son of the late Engleman, Sr. and Jeannetta (Jackson). 

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers, Engleman James Crabbe, Jr., Richard Crabbe, and Gerald Crabbe, and a sister, Gwendolyn Carter. 

He attended the former John Harris High School in Harrisburg prior to joining the U.S. Army. His military career of 13 years included tours in Korea, Guam, and Vietnam. Upon separating from the Army at Fort Drum, he settled in nearby Watertown, NY. He was employed at a number of local companies, such as Black Clawson and New York Air Brake, prior to rejoining Fort Drum as a civilian. He supervised the supplies sector on “Old Post” until his retirement in the mid-1990’s. He retired with a combined 37 years of service to the U.S. Army.

Affectionately called “Buster”, he was a highly engaged member of the Watertown community, with service to the VFW, the Lions Club, and numerous charity events. He was a dedicated member of the Thomas Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church for decades. Many people in Watertown knew him from the educational programs on Black History Month—particularly regarding Watertown’s place in the history of the Underground Railroad—offered through his church. He also was the face of the award-winning advertising campaign by the Samaritan Medical Center to prevent SIDS.

Buster enjoyed a wide variety of hobbies and activities. He was a familiar face at local sporting events and loved playing cards, horseshoes, and telling jokes with friends. He knew every back road and fishing spot in the north country, and loved taking the family on extended car rides on the Seaway Trail. He had eclectic music interests, from Motown to opera, and a wonderful, quick wit. He was known for his jokes, his faith, his kindness, and boundless generosity.

He is survived by a large extended family and wonderful friends. He is cherished by his best friend and loving wife, Alice (Kelley) Crabbe of Watertown, NY; daughters Jill Farrow, Watertown, NY and Jeannetta (Cleon) Williams, Austin, TX; grand-daughter Alexis Grigsby, Watertown, NY; and great grand-children, Aaliyah and Kash. He had a special bond with his sister-in-law, Mary Kelley, Watertown, NY, nephew, Bob Kelley, Weedsport, NY, and nieces, Rosie Hoistion and Dominique Irizarry, Noblesville, IN. He leaves behind a host of dear family friends, including Alan Countryman and Andrew Smith, Watertown, NY.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Lewis County General Hospital and Residential Health Care Facility in Lowville, NY.

Condolences may be made at www.reedbenoit.com.

Information provided by Reed & Benoit Funeral Home and Newzjunky, Watertown, N.Y.