In memory of Douglas Crow: A cyclist and caring worker

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Former BYU Custodial Supervisor Douglas Crow died on Feb. 15 in a car accident, which pushed him in the path of a train. (Photo courtesy Berg Mortuary)

He was always smiling, always willing to help and always ready to go out on a bike ride.

Doug Crow worked as a custodial building supervisor in the Kimball Tower for almost 35 years. In fact, Crow, 69, was going to retire in September. But his life was cut short on Feb. 15, when a car knocked him off his bike in west Provo. He was knocked onto train tracks and didn’t have the strength to get up. A FrontRunner train struck him immediately after, as he was not seen by the train operator. Crow later died in an area hospital.

Crow was described by many as happy and loving. He left a long legacy of caring work and had seen this campus change year after year. He was always eager to share stories about local history.

Albert Contreras, Crow’s lead student, said Crow would often take the student custodians to the top of the tower and explain stories about campus history.

“We’d go upstairs to the roof, and he’d tell us stories,” Contreras said. “He’d tell us to come over to the south side of the building, look over there, this is something that happened there. This is something that happened over there. There used to be a cave over there.”

Contreras said Crow always made sure his students were happy; after all, they had to come in for early shifts at 4:30 a.m.

“He really cared about us, his students. He’d bring little gifts for us, like cakes for us to share, and have a morning get together,” Contreras said.

Those who knew Crow knew he had an avid love for bikes. Brad Nielsen, Crow’s area supervisor, said he collected and sold unique bikes and would even bring them into work on occasion to liven things up.

“We would ride them in the hallways here a little bit,” Nielsen said. “He was very healthy and athletic.”

Crow was constantly working behind the scenes, going the extra mile to help students and faculty.

“He knew how to do the little things that needed to be done,” Nielsen said. “A lot of them would see him shoveling snow, sweeping outside after his students had left.”

Crow’s loving and kind demeanor made it all the more surprising when students learned he’d passed away. Contreras said Crow told him he was taking the day off. He was caught completely off guard when he heard the news at the end of his shift.

“It was a shock,” Contreras said. “I just talked to him the day before. … I just stood there for a while. I thought he was going to stay home and sleep in.”

Nielsen said he felt pretty somber when he heard of Crow’s passing but knew he didn’t have to be sad.

“Here at BYU, with most of us having an understanding of the gospel plan, it wasn’t sadness. It was concern for him, his family, for what they’re going to have to deal with,” Nielsen said.

Crow will be remembered by how he lived as a joyful example to others.

“He was aware that he needed to be an example and a mentor to those students,” Nielsen said. “He was happy and smiling.”

“He was just a happy guy: he loved his family, he loved work, he just had fun with it,” Contreras said. “I’m really going to miss him, and I believe all of us who work with him will.”

Carri Jenkins, university spokesperson, said the university is deeply saddened by Crow’s death; the flag at the Smoot Administration Building was lowered in his remembrance on Feb 21. Crow is survived by his wife, seven children and 28 grandchildren.

“He was a good dad, a good grandpa, a good church member,” Nielsen said, “just a good all-around person no matter what.”

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