Byron A. Crowe

Nov 22, 2019
Byron Crowe

Spruce Head — Byron Andrew Crowe, 87, died peacefully in his summer home at Spruce Head Nov. 19, 2019. He was born in Mt.Vernon, New York and grew up in Coventry, Rhode Island. He graduated from Dean Academy, Franklin, Mass. in 1949. In 1952, Byron married his first love, Ruth Broome. Together they raised three beautiful children and had many great adventures on boats and motorcycles. He never missed a teaching moment with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren working with them on many projects from building wooden boats to creating the famous “Buoy Man” of Rackliff Island. Byron was lucky in life to have the love and companionship of two wonderful women. Following Ruth’s passing he met his second love, Betty Leach, spending two decades together.

During the Korean War, Byron served as a Corporal in the U.S. Army stationed in France. After discharge from the army he returned to Coventry to take over the operation of his father’s lace mill, manufacturing Leavers Lace. He would go on to start up additional lace factories in Rhode Island and Maine. In the late 1950’s he designed and constructed his first rope machines with the help of his mentor and friend ‘Old Man’ Boeglin. In the 1960’s, he began Crowe Rope Company in Warren. Crowe Rope eventually employed five hundred employees, its fleet of trucks delivering rope across the country. At its height Crowe was the largest supplier of twisted rope to the U.S. Government.

Byron helped revolutionize the lobster industry in Maine with the introduction of the first hydraulic pot haulers and synthetic rope to lobstermen up and down the coast. The Hydro Slave pot Hauler and Hydro Slave power steering units that he designed are still in use around the world.

Byron was a true entrepreneur and inventor, and held many patents. An exceptionally creative man, he loved to design equipment and figure out ways to do things better. He was still going strong building machinery in his garage this past year. He spent the last six months of his life writing his life story. From the time he built his first wooden rowboat at the age of twelve, Byron’s favorite place on Earth was the waters and islands off the coast of Maine, especially around Clark Island where he spent his boyhood summers. He loved nothing more than dropping his anchor to spend the night near and island, getting up early in the morning to dig clams until the tide changed. He was still digging up until his eighty-fifth year. In his final days, looking out over the bay towards Clark Island brought him great peace and solace. He was honored to be named as a Paul Harris Fellow.

Byron is survived by his daughter Sharon Crowe, her husband, Philip Roy, and their children, Nathan Pease, Annie Gray (husband Peter), Jessica Roy, Melissa Roy (husband Matt), Andrew Roy (wife Fang), Nicholas Roy (wife Jessica); son Andrew Crowe, and his children Jamie Jessen (husband Alex), and Byron A.Crowe II; daughter Adreth Crowe-Rackliff (husband Craig) and their children Logan Rackliff (wife Hannah), and Alexandra Zable (husband Luke). Great grandchildren: Spencer Richard and Nevaeh Pease, London and Lily Gray, Emma and Claire Jessen, Tess Rackliff, Collin and Finley Zable.

Friends and relatives are invited to visit from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Pastor Chris Emery will officiate. A reception will follow at the funeral home’s 104 Limerock reception center.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Byron’s memory to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Clark Island Project, 1 Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 201, Topsham, Maine 04086.

To share a memory or story with Byron’s family, visit their online Book of Memories at

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