1943 - 2015
The North American ringing community lost a much loved member with the death of Bill Crouch on August 18, 2015.
Bill was born July 31, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended prep school just outside Birmingham, Alabama, and university at Princeton and the prestigious Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and specialized in cardiology. Bill's sister, Patsy, and his future wife, Rosalie, were college roommates at Randolph-Macon, leading to Bill and Rosalie meeting, while on holiday in Spain. This was quickly followed by a whirlwind courtship, marriage and graduate study by both in New York City. Bill and Rosalie have two children, Katie and Richard; and three grandchildren, William, Kelsey and Phoebe.
Bill and Rosalie learned to ring in 1994, at St Michael's, Charleston, shortly after the bells there were rehung. Aided both by his infectious enthusiasm and an innate sense of rhythm, Bill made rapid progress, ringing his first quarter in 1995, and the first of his fifteen peals that same year, at Hendersonville, North Carolina. His interests extended beyond simply ringing, to bells themselves, and he served as Steeple Keeper at St Michael's for a period, where he was heavily involved in the care and feeding of North American ringing's first simulator. His long time ringing home became Grace Church, Charleston, after the original eight were installed there in 1998. Bill traveled widely to ring, ringing in over half of North America's widely dispersed active towers, as well as making three ringing pilgrimages to the UK. Bill was elected a member of the Society of Royal Cumberland Youths in January 2006, having been proposed by his good friend Roger Baldwin. Bill's last peal, of Cambridge Surprise Major at St Luke and St Paul's, Charleston, was rung for the SRCY in February, 2006; and the last of his 133 quarters at Grace Church in August, 2012. Among Bill's peals were several of surprise and on ten, as well as quarters on twelve. Sadly Bill's declining health meant he was unable to ring for the past several years.
Bill will particularly be remembered for the wonderful welcome and hospitality showed to countless visiting ringers, both from North America and the UK. Over the years Bill and Rosalie's residences in and around Charleston were major hubs of North American ringing social activities, as well as serving as hotels for countless visiting ringers. Bill and Rosalie started the fabulous, biennial Ring Around Charleston, one of the highlights of North American ringing, which still brings together ringers both from North America and the UK.
Bill's wonderful humor and boundless enthusiasm helped others to ring well, and to enjoy their ringing. His obvious satisfaction after ringing a peal or quarter just naturally bubbled over to the rest of the band. Bill even managed to put his medical knowledge to work for ringing, convincing an emergency room physician in Boston not to admit him for observation so he could still ring in a peal at The Advent. Bill's enthusiasms were not limited to ringing, and extended to sailing and birding.
Bill will be missed not just in Charleston, but throughout North American ringing.