Rae Lord “Ginger” Crowe, a nurse practitioner and longtime professor of nursing who became an early advocate of therapeutic touch, died Sunday of complications from dementia. She was 85.
Crowe, who lived in Melville, was an assistant professor of nursing at City College of New York from 1977 to 1986 and then an associate professor of nursing at SUNY Downstate until she retired in 1999.
For many years, Crowe demonstrated her skills in applying therapeutic touch, a subject she taught in workshops to nurses and students at colleges across the Northeast. She learned the art, similar to the religious laying on of hands, while in graduate school at New York University, where she received a master of arts in 1977 and a doctorate in philosophy in 1989. Earlier, Crowe attended St. Lawrence University for two years as a chemistry major before switching to Cornell University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1956.
Family members recalled the many patients helped by Crowe with her nursing skills, including those who found relief through therapeutic touch.
“She loved being a nurse,” recalled her husband, Kenneth C. Crowe, who was a reporter at Newsday from 1963 until he retired in 1999. “I was amazed how she could help people with injuries. She had many students who were close to her and she helped in their careers.”
Crowe grew up in Binghamton, where she enjoyed parties, golfing and playing the accordion on a local radio station. At the age of 10, after seeing a Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire musical, she decided to be called Ginger, a nickname that lasted a lifetime. In 1956, she married Kenneth and the couple lived in Melville for the past 55 years.
Crowe is also survived by four children, Kenneth II of Albany, Roy and Daniel of Melville and Carol Hattler of Beverly Hills, California; a brother, Michael Lord of Nashville, Tennessee; five grandchildren, Reeves Crowe of Cedarville, New Jersey, W. Benjamin Crowe of West Henrietta, New York, Marisa, Cole and Troy Hattler of Beverly Hills; and one great-grandchild, Orion Raymond Crowe of Cedarville.
Following cremation through the M.A. Connell Funeral Home, her ashes are to be spread at her favorite places on Long Island. A celebration of her life by family and friends is planned for later this week.