Thomas L. Crowley, Mower Of Haley Fields, Dies at 81

STONINGTON–Thomas L. Crowley, 81, of Stonington, who for 19 years mowed the fields at Haley Farm State Park under contract to GOSA, died April 29, 2005, at his home in Stonington.

In a letter to Mr. Crowley’s family, GOSA Director Sidney Van Zandt wrote, “He was an icon for us at the Groton Open Space Association. When he began, the fields had reverted badly, but over the years, he and you have brought back so many of the fields and uncovered so many of the stone walls that had long since disappeared under vines and brush. That allowed them to return to their peaceful grandeur instead of being hidden by the march of the forest.” Mr. Crowley used a 1953 John Deere tractor in the mowing.

Ms. Van Zandt said separately, “Because of Mr. Crowley’s ill health this year, his grandson, Brian, cut most of the fields, despite the enormous amount of snow and time spent away helping care for his granddad. Mr. Crowley’s, son, Thomas, was back at the Haley Farm a few days after Mr. Crowley’s death tending to the ‘edging’ with another helper, using their weed-whackers to attack the vines on the walls.”

An obituary in the Westerly (R.I.) Sun said that Mr. Crowley was born in New Jersey and that he married the former Florence Schweitzer in 1951 in Yonkers, NY. A resident of the Wequetequock section of Stonington for many years, he operated the Crowley Farm and delivered cordwood to many homes in the area. He also was employed at one time as a rigger at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics. Mr. Crowley was described as an avid collector of coins, stamps, and rocks. He is survived by his wife and two sons, Thomas F. Crowley of Pawcatuck and Raymond J. Crowley of Great Barrington, RI, three brothers, seven sisters and five grandchildren.

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