MADISON - James F. Crow, age 95, died on Jan. 4, 2012, at Capitol Lakes in Madison.
He was born in 1916 in Collegeville, Pa. James graduated from Friends University in Wichita and received a Ph.D. in Genetics from The Univ. of Texas in Austin. He began playing in a String Quartet in High School and continued playing his viola up until a few weeks before his death. Chamber music continued to be his favorite, but he also played for many years in the Madison Symphony Orchestra, and continued to perform at his residence, Capitol Lakes, on a regular basis through the age of 95. James met his future wife, Ann, in The University of Texas student orchestra, due to a fortunate proximity between the viola and clarinet sections.
He spent 48 years as a teacher and researcher at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is remembered by many former students, both undergraduate and graduate, for his lucid and enthusiastic teaching. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Fellow of the Japan Academy, a member of the American Philosophical Society, the World Academy of Art and Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences where he has chaired several committees, most recently a committee to study forensic uses of DNA fingerprinting. His most recent honor is the naming of the James F. Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution at the University of Wisconsin-Madison devoted to evolutionary research at the University including the departments of Agronomy, Anthropology, Botany, Biochemistry, Genetics and Horticulture.
After his retirement at the age of 70, in 1986, he continued to be an active observer of Genetics research. For more than 10 years, James F. Crow and William F. Dove edited the popular “Perspectives” column in Genetics, the journal of the Genetics Society of America. More than 100 of these essays, which cumulatively are a history of modern genetics research and its continuing evolution, were published by the UW Press in 2000 as "Perspectives on Genetics."
James was preceded in death by his wife, Ann Crockett Crow in 2001 and descendents include his children, Franklin Crockett Crow, Laura Jean Crow and Catherine Rasmussen; and grandchildren, Laura Rasmussen Torvik, Susanna Rasmussen, Sarah and Matthew Caine, and Ailey and Kielan Crow; and great-grandchildren, Ivy and Julia.
A memorial service will be held at CAPITAL LAKES GREAT HALL, 333 W. Main St., Madison on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012, at 3 p.m. James Crow was a longtime and generous patron of local music. Memorials could be made to any of the many local musical organizations, the Ann Crow Voice and Opera Fund or the James Crow Distinguished Professorship Fund, UW Foundation, U.S. Bank Lockbox 78807, Milwaukee, WI 53278.
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