Who was Stan Crow?
Stan Crow passed away on Sunday, November 15th, leaving behind a rich legacy of community. He touched the lives of so many, as a loving husband, father, and grandfather; as co-founder of Songaia CoHousing Community; active and involved member of Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church (he was Board President at the time of his passing), member of the Institute of Cultural Affairs, and as Founder and Director of Rite of Passage Journeys.
A life-long lover of nature, Stan directly provided hundreds of young people with the opportunity to get outside and connect with the natural world. Through his work with the Unitarian Church and Rite of Passage Journeys, he worked tirelessly to provide meaningful coming of age experiences for youth. He also trained and mentored other individuals and organizations to provide rites of passage to youth, in his programs and through their own programs.
He was key to the development of the coming of age curriculum standard in UU churches today; his work is the basis of the rich teaching bundle that Rite of Passage Journeys offers through training and consulting work.
The impact of Stan's legacy is infinite. He had a heart that was bigger than life. Through his unassuming, always-available mentorship of young people, he raised generations of empowered and inspired adults. Through his absolute confidence in each of us, he helped many find their paths. And through his vision, he leaves communities that will continue to serve and gather even in his absence. That these will continue without Stan is a testament to his real leadership and mentorship gift--with Stan, each of us knew that we could do far more than we thought we could.
Stan, we love you and will miss you. Thank you for blessing our lives.
Rite of Passage Journeys has created a Legacy Fund in honor of Stan Crow's life work. If you would like to make a donation in Stan’s honor, you can do so via our Donation Page. Simply write “in honor of Stan Crow” in the comments field.
We are collecting memories of Stan. You can scroll down this page to read memories that have already been submitted. If you have a memory you’d like to share, fill out this form and we will add it to the collection.
Memories of Stan
We at Journeys wish to offer this forum for the Rite of Passage Journeys community, and the wider community, to post stories of Stan, stories that we can collect and preserve as part of his history, and the history of Journeys.
You can share your memories here, and we'll post them right away. This page is for honoring Stan’s life and legacy—mentoring youth, adults, and elders through life transitions—and all the lives he touched through this work.
I’m deeply saddened — was just quoting stan in Colorado this last weekend at an MLA seminar. "Stan's methodology in working with our youth is dramatic and effective with them, for example the Death Lodge is enacted by waking the youth in the night, the guides dressed in robes, with individual tombstones for them to write their own epitaphs themselves. With regard to my own adolescent daughters, he suggested I write on the inside of my eyelids, "this is not about me...this is not about me." Beautiful man, inspiring, with wisdom and sweetness beyond words. - Skye Bailey, Founder, Little Arrows Schools
Jack and Louise Ballard
We are deeply saddened by this shocking news. We have always loved Stan from the time we met in the Washington DC house in the 70's and later at the Kemper Building. Stan poured his entire heart into everything he tackled. Most of all, we have always been indebted to him for the love and care he gave to our son, Chris, in the Student House. We grieve with all of you and most of all, Carol and the children and grandchildren. With our deepest sympathy, Jack and Louise Ballard
I went to Stan's workshops for coming of age twice when we were creating our coming of age program, COA-MATT, at the Washington Ethical Society. Stan became my mentor and advisor as we struggled to put together a meaningful program. I called on him because he had so many years of wonderful experience, with coming of age and with teenagers. He was a well-spring of information and support. I treasured his thoughtful advice. I am so sad to hear of his loss. My deepest sympathies to his family, and to all of you who worked with him on a regular basis. I am sure you will miss his sweet spirit. My heart goes out to you. - Susan Buzek, former Director and co-founder of COA-MATT, Washington Ethical Society, Washington, DC.
I knew of Stan's work with ICA Journeys for many years before we finally met. For all his powerful impact on the world of modern wilderness rites of passage, Stan was so very warm, approachable, and down to earth. I felt like we were old friends from the moment we met. This is a testament to his openness and kindness. At the same time, I really appreciated Stan's clarity and intelligence. This is a truly rare combination, and I feel fortunate to have known him, even briefly. Blessings to all he touched and loved.
Thank you, Stan, for having the courage to share your warmth and be just who you are. You were a leader that showed me that honesty is the true path for us all. Being honest with who you are inside, and sharing that on the outside is what life is all about. Sharing our own personal warmth with all whom we encounter is a quality you showed me the value of. Forever, thank you.
I will always carry Stan in my heart. He and Carol are gentle threads in a collaborative tapestry in our lives. While a geographical distance separated us, Stan wrote several times to me during my daughter's dying and death. I knew he and Carol were near. Auspicious to me that I first met this couple of integrity and truth with Angeles Arrien on Whidbey Island nearly 20 years ago. We hiked the known unknown together. Thank you, dear Stan, for your gentle strength, belief in the goodness and knowing of youth (and their families, into elderhood), and for helping Leah and me journey the creative and caring road less traveled during her adolescent time (you influenced the ceremonial creations we participated in). Carol, my love and healing thoughts are with you... Your family, too. Peace to All Hearts.
Stan Crow has completed his life. Stan was particularly concerned about the initiation of youngsters into adulthood. He wanted boys to be successful men. I knew him only as a mellow revolutionary, a man of faith, and not as fiery youthful warrior. I loved Stan for his kindness & his willingness to teach. Stan believed that we are all of God's family. I already miss him.
I spent too few precious hours with Stan, sharing a meal and discussing men's roles in the world. We talked about how we come into adulthood and how it is that elders facilitate that passage that in no way peers can. We lamented the absence of men in the lives of gang members. Stan and I never really worked together 40 years ago but every time we met we had precious and significant interchanges of ideas. We always picked up where we left off as if the time interlude did not matter. In one sense Stan & I are cut from the same cloth and have deep abiding cares. Stan expressed his in his love for everyone. I knew the man, I loved him, I believe in the things he stood for and I miss him already.
My earliest memories of Stan were his coming with Carol to a new member class for the hoped-for new Woodinville UU church around 1990. I later was astounded with the depth of feeling with which he served as a lay leader of our worship services, particularly calling for sharing of joys and concerns by the congregation. I also fondly recall spending a full day in January with him in a sweatlodge. There are a few people in one's life who sort of exude spiritual radiance to the degree that people around them sort of absorb it by osmosis. Stan was one. I am hugely sorrowful that I missed the memorial service last Saturday. I guess I will just have to have my own private memorial service which this email is a part of. My deepest love is extended to Carol whom I hope to see when I preach at WUUK on Jan. 31 and Feb. 14. - Bill Graves
Barbara & Jaco ten Hove
Stan was both mentor and friend to both of us. We are honestly still in shock that he has gone. We always came to him when we needed the kind of guidance that comes from someone who loves deeply and tells the truth. We both learned so much from him about being human. Will be able to say more when the shock wears off.
Eileen Morrill Howard
I am shocked and saddened to hear of Stan's passing. When I was only 17, I was in Washington DC with him (the Institute of Cultural Affairs) where I went to college. Stan was always so kind and supportive. Through the years he has stayed in touch with me and seemed so genuinely interested in what I was doing. His compassion and interest in young people and, well, ALL people made him such an incredible mentor for the Rite of Passage Journeys. Stan, you will be SO MISSED!
I really can't say Stan without saying Carol...and Carol without Stan. I think I first met the Crow's in Chicago at the old rambling international ICA headquarters and my life has been enriched by their friendship. One memory that jumps...Stan and I were room mates on a caper in Russia in the mid 80's. I told him, "Oh great, my room mate looks like Joseph Stalin!".....Stan's great laugh still rings in my ears. What a truly dear man. I will miss you my brother. Respectfully, Gary Howlett
The Coming of Age weekend workshop with Stan as facilitator is one of the best workshops I've ever attended. I knew I was sitting in the presence of a master teacher. I was captivated and very appreciative of the experience. The loving legacy of his life's work will continue to inspire and motivate generations to come.
I just wanted to say that I as well am deeply saddened by Stan's passing. I feel very privileged to have known him, even for such a short period of time. Stan’s influence has affected me deeply and has had profound effects on my current life. His legacy will continue to transform and inspire. Stan's life is an example of how to be a torch-bearer for this world. My love and blessings go out to all of you grieving at Journeys and Songaia. This was surely a reminder to me of how important and inspiring the work you do over there is. I am one of many who feels grateful to be connected to such a wonderful community.
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend a whole week with Stan Crow just this past June as an apprentice wilderness guide for the Adult Vision Quest organized by Journeys. In spite of his physical limitations, he eagerly boiled up and carefully cleaned the jaw bone of an elk so that we could present each of the participants a genuine elk tooth as a talisman and symbol of our intense time together. No task was too mundane for him—he set up the outdoor toilet, fetched gallons of water from a distant stream, drove the heavily loaded van painstakingly along miles of rutted dirt roads, cooked meals, told stories, planned activities, found just the right poems, and offered profound and life-changing encouragement to the questers. I had just a glimpse of a wise elder who lived life fully and with great humor, love and spirit. My life has been enriched because of my precious time with Stan. May we all be inspired by Stan's life! Sincerely, Helen Kolff
Del Hunter Morrill
My husband and I have known the Crow family since the late 70's when Stan and his girls lived in the same building as we did. We developed a nearly life-long friendship, including Carol, who joined him later. Justin officiated at their wedding, and I sang for it. One of the things I most think of with Stan is his amazing patience, consistent vision, and endurance to see that vision through. I think many of us, like my own family, had that for a certain number of years, and in our later years have just settled in to our daily work and family routines. Not Stan. I greatly admired him for that (and still do!)
This last spring, Stan and I were at the International Wilderness Guides Gathering in Arizona. I had sort of roped him—yet again—into going somewhere for Journeys, but he was doing a lot of travel in the rest of his life and hadn't been so excited to go. He had decided that this was his last WGC gathering; there were just too many demands on his time…
I knew Stan a long time ago, in 1979-81. I lived with him as my legal guardian while my parents were out of the country. I'm so sad to hear about his passing. He was such a decent, kind, caring man. I remember his boundless patience and good humor in living with a house full of teenaged girls (there were four of us) as well as his two wonderful daughters, Nina and Karen. A few years ago, Stan invited me out to lunch and we had a chance to talk about those days. I wish I could thank him again for his caring.
Patricia Boivin Price
Tom and I were with Stan in the New York House of the ICA for two years in the late 70's. I remember Stan being a very good cook and could whip up a real tasty dish out of just a few basic ingredients. Our Thanksgiving Feast was always a labor of love. I also remember Stan when he worked with youth in Chicago where he was the Stage Manager, did Set and Wardrobe design for the many theatre productions they performed. The performances were outstanding and the youth and him really seemed to have a good time. Thank you Stan for all of your years of service to young people.
The School of Lost Borders
Hearing about Stan's death has shaken all of us. Word had drifted in to the School even before your beautiful letter, and we all feel the sadness, the loss, as well as the memories of our elder who stood so big, yet so touchable a presence in our lives. It is always so shocking to hear about someone who we felt so close and easy with, so respectful of, and who was such a big and generous presence, suddenly gone. At least in any way that we can physically touch again, smile with, learn from in his beautiful presence. He leaves a very big memory imprint behind, and always a place in our hearts…
I still remember Stan when he was my guardian at Bothell Washington. I still remember that house on Bothell where Stan had his hands full with us bunch of mischievous young adolescents. I still can remember every morning songs of Mr. Piano Man waking everyone up in the morning to be ready for school. Ahhh those were the days. I wish we could start a database of all those that were under Stan and his wonderful wife Carol's care growing up from Bothell on. Thank you Stan for those loving, memorable years of my life. You will be missed so much. My condolences to the family.
Sandra Conant Strachan
Like many others, I'm indebted to Stan and Carol---and indeed all those at Songaia—for allowing my daughter Alison to spend time there at a difficult period of her life. Stan's steady efforts and mentorship of Alison were so important to her launching a new phase of her life, and it was a tremendous illustration of his generosity of spirit and his wisdom. I will miss knowing he's there.
I met Stan at the International Wilderness Guides Gathering in April. Gentle, warm, interested and receptive—he made me feel welcome. I was and am grateful to him for that. And, I'm sad to learn of his death, and the lost opportunity to grow a relationship with him. My heart goes out to his family and those bereft over him.
Stan was so kind to me this summer. When I arrived, he made me feel welcome, and made sure I was taken care of up at the yurt. He also accepted me unconditionally into the Journeys world and helped me feel like a part of it, regardless of my lack of experience with the work. Right before I left, he said some beautiful things to me and gave me some very powerful advice. When I look at the driftwood and the beads from each of you, I am reminded of what a special organization he created. Though I didn't know him for long, he definitely touched my heart. I know he will be missed tremendously.
Oh Stan... You will so be missed. Blessed Be all that was your Life. Enjoy the Journey. Many blessings... Scout
Peter M. Wallis
Stan's life and generosity were of such a stature that I wanted to post this quote in his memory:
STAN was such a man who indeed brought hope into our world through his vision, love, dedication, and willingness to honor the nobility in each person of his far-ranging and beloved community. I join my voice with all others who will dearly miss this splendid man....Peter Wallis
I met Stan many years ago when he was up here in Vancouver BC, facilitating a rites of passage workshop with Darcy and some others. I kept in touch with him over the years about programs, etc. Stan really stood out for me as a very sincere and loving person. His Integrity and his vision for his work in life inspired me. I took my experience of knowing him and attending his training and implemented it into the work I do in my First Nations community in North Vancouver. From my understanding, Stan was a well-respected Elder in his community and that is how I will remember him. Blessing and Safe Journey's Stan ~ Best wishes to his family and loved ones. Kus lus ~ Squamish/Sto:lo Nation
When I was trying to think of a story that might do justice to Stan, I’d loved to have been able to describe a far flung adventure where we climbed a hill and watched the sunset on an amazing valley or have seen him in action on a one of the bike tours in the early days of Journeys. But when I first meet Stan in 2001 as an intern for ten eye-opening months with Journeys, my lasting memory of being with Stan will be constantly on route to do something. Stan was almost always driving whilst telling me a story…
Melissa Gayle West
Oy, Stan. I guess you're in the biggest rite of passage of your rich life. Just wish you weren't doing it without us. I'm gonna miss you so much: your humor, your passion and gusto for life, our conversations about eldering. The world's a smaller place without you. May your vision live on through all the folks you've taught and touched for so long. Bon voyage, you master of adventures ~ Much love, Melissa
Stan's laugh and good cheer are special memories, of course. Yet as I consider how Stan touched my life, it's in his spirit of acceptance. I always felt better, stronger, and more capable after meeting with him. I am glad during my brief leadership role with ICA that I could be part of setting the Rite of Passage Journeys program free. Stan had much to do with helping us get to the right decision. Stan's flame burned brightly and helped others grow to become more what they hoped to be. Somehow Stan had a calming affect on me, yet one that challenged me to aspire to my higher self. I never went on a Rite of Passage Journey—my experience with Stan were meetings at the former ICA office in Wallingford or lunch at the Chinese restaurant near my office—a couple of short visits to Songaia, too. Stan followed his own path to riches in his life and his relationships. His was a life well-lived. We are that much better off for his having shared his journey and dreams with us.
I first met Stan when he spoke to my class at Antioch University about rites of passage for adolescents. My soul heaved a sigh of relief, and my heart swelled with gratitude to learn of this vital cultural work. Since then, my life, and my hope for the future have been richly nourished by the work of Journeys. I have held Stan in the highest regards as embodying the essence of Elder. I am so, so, sorry to learn of his passing. I hold Carol, Stan's family, and all of the community in my heart and prayers.
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Our summer youth programs, for ages 8 – 18, help young people navigate the journey from childhood to adulthood in a supported, mentored way.
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These programs foster the presence necessary for authentic connections, which are essential in our relationships with all beings.