Memorial service for Don Crossan May 21, 2010

“A memorial service for longtime University of Delaware professor and administrator Donald F. Crossan will be held from 2-4 p.m., Friday, May 21, in Clayton Hall on the University’s Laird campus.”

At the end of Governor Mike Castle’s second term, Don Crossan had chaired the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board for many years.  Delaware was making good progress towards adopting regulations to implement the Coastal Zone Act in line with its real intentions.

Tom Carper, coming into office with an anti-environment, chamber-of-commerce agenda, got rid of Crossan and appointed a chemical industry PR type to head the board.  (16 years later, she’s still there.)  Things went downhill, as described in Alert 683.

Some may wonder if that pattern is being repeated with Governor Markell, but in any case it seems clear that corporate-serving, anti-human public policies don’t lead to prosperity–except for a few at the top.  They just lead to injustice, pollution, and stagnation.

Here is an interesting talk on the Coastal Zone Act given by Russ Peterson in 1009.

And here is an update on last nights sewer plant hearing from Hearing Officer Robert Haynes:

Based upon your and others’ requests, the public comment period was kept open for written public comments, which should be received before 4:30pm on June 1.    Any comments should be sent to Mr. Coyle and/or me. [ ,] Approximately 90 persons showed up and 15 spoke.  The Department will post on the Department’s CZA web site the written comments and hearing transcript, which should be available in a week.  The deadline for the Secretary’s decision is July 23.

In response to Alert 683 we received this email from a relative of Dr. Crossan:

My uncle Donald Crossan enforced the Coastal Control Act in Delaware. He passed away last week. He was the retired Dean of Agriculture for the University of Delaware. There is a celebration of his life on Friday this week at U of D.
If you want to keep his memory alive show up for his memorial and share your concerns about losing what he gave his life for — preserving our coastlines. Congressman Castle spoke at his funeral — please let congressman Castle know your concerns …. Uncle Don also preserved over 50,000 acres of farm land in Delaware. Please do not let my uncle die in vain. Support his coastal zone act!


Donald Crossan died peacefully as the result of a stroke at the Christiana Hospital at the age of 84 on May 3, 2010. He was the son of Samuel Davis Crossan and Anna Bertha Spinken Crossan, both deceased. A native Delawarean, Don was brought up on the East side of Wilmington where he learned about hunting and fishing in the nearby ponds and fields and was an Assistant Boy Scout Leader. After graduating from P.S. DuPont High School in 1944, Don enlisted in the Army Air Corps and subsequently was stationed in Guam where he served as a tail gunner in a B-29 in the Pacific Theater of War with 15 combat missions.
He married Ruth Swanson, the “girl next door” while studying for his BS degree at the University of Delaware and received his MS degree followed by a Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology at North Carolina State College. He spent his entire 39-year career at the University of Delaware where he worked in research, as a Professor, Vice President of University Relations and Business Management, and Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. He was the author and co-author of over 75 scientific research papers.
He served on the Boards of the Delaware Nature Education Society, Newark Senior Center, Delaware Partners of America with Panama, National Corn Breeders Association, Delaware Agricultural Museum, and he led a 37-member delegation to China for People-to-People Delaware. He was well-known for leading agricultural tours to many countries. Upon retirement, an agricultural scholarship was established in his name to students with academic achievement and an interest in agriculture as a career.
Among his academic and community awards are the University of Delaware Medal of Distinction, the Lindbach Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Delaware Outstanding Alumnus Award, North Carolina State University Outstanding Alumnus Award, University of Delaware Wall of Fame, Arthur Trabant Women’s Equity Award, George M. Worrilow Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Agriculture, New Castle County and State of Delaware Farm Bureau Awards for Outstanding Service to Agriculture, and the Delaware State Bar Association Liberty Award for Community Service. Governor Ruth Ann Minner declared July 26, 2001, as Dr. Donald F. Crossan Day for his leadership in permanently protecting over 60,000 acres of farmland in Delaware.
He served under three Governors as Chairman of the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board, and was the first Chairman of the Delaware Farmland Preservation Foundation. After serving on the Board of Trustees of Longwood Gardens, Inc. for 36 years, Don was named Trustee Emeritus.
Prior to his first stroke 13 years ago, Don was an avid outdoorsman, and later enjoyed reading, cultural events, and traveling. Just before his death, he cruised to Antarctica, celebrating with his wife visits to all seven continents. He was “Swedish by Marriage,” and enjoyed helping his wife entertain family and friends in the Swedish tradition.
Donald will be missed sorely by his wife of 62 years, Ruth Swanson Crossan; a sister, Dolores Brandt; three children, Connie C. Cox (Michael Cox), Donna C. Crossan, and Eric R. Crossan (Karla Papen Crossan); four grandchildren, Matthew Cox (Mindy), Lauren Duckworth (Ryan), Kate Crossan (Eric Stauder), and Julie Crossan; five great grandchildren, Haley Everett, Emily Cox, Evan Cox, Colton Duckworth, and Cierra Duckworth; and his nieces and nephews.
A private family service and interment will be held at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery. A Celebration of Donald’s Life will be held at Clayton Hall on the University of Delaware’s North Campus from 2-4 pm on the 21st of May.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution made payable to the “University of Delaware” for the Donald F. Crossan Agricultural Alumni Scholarship, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716; or the Donald Crossan Herbaceous Circle Garden, CANR, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.
To sign guest book, visit

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