RUTLAND — Dean Crossman passed away under the kind care of the staff at The Meadows and Bayada Hospice care in Rutland Town, Vt., on April 5, 2022, at the age of 87. He was born in Ira, Vt., Nov. 15, 1934, and lived most of his life in Rutland, serving as the pastor of the Calvary Bible Church.
He was the son of Gerald and Grace (Merrithew) Crossman of Ira, Vt. He was brother to Paul Crossman, Gerald (Ted), Richard, Ivan, John, and Olive (Stevens). He was married to Constance (Hurlbut) Crossman on his birthday in 1958. Dean is survived by his wife, Connie, and his four children: Andrew Crossman and his wife, Heidi (Guggenburger), Timothy Crossman and his wife Cheryl (Peterson), Faith (Crossman) Claessens and her husband, Bill and Philip Crossman. Dean leaves many grandchildren (Alexandra, Torrey, Stefanie, Skyler, Simeon, Ethan, and Zoey Crossman and William and Nathan Claessens). He also leaves numerous great-grandchildren (Malia, Tess, Samantha, and Mabel Burtt; Thatcher, Ira, and Flynn Crossman; and Rowan Claessens).
It might be tempting to fill this announcement with a list of Dean’s personal accomplishments in life but he was never the sort to think himself the singular force behind anything. Most of that which he did in life that will last, he did as a member of a team and with the assistance of forces he believed beyond his own. Born to a money-poor but love-rich family in the hardscrabble years of The Great Depression, Dean worked on a farm with a team of old-school Vermont farmers. During the Korean War, he worked with a team of U.S. Marines to train pilots. He worked with an organization called “The Navigators” to help teach military members the Bible.
Soon after leaving the military and getting married, he and his well-beloved lifelong partner, Connie (Hurlbut), helped a team of people to organize a church in Brattleboro, Vt., and a few years later, he and another team of people organized another in a home in Rutland (now, the Calvary Bible Church).
With various teams at the church and in conjunction with other area churches, Dean helped to start a local ministry to those who ran into hard times (now, The Open Door Mission). Early in his ministry, he was part of a team of dedicated people that organized a home for youth and families in emotional and behavioral crisis and a home for teenagers with intellectual disabilities in Lyndonville, Vt., (The Fold Family Ministries).
He also helped to found a number of clubs for children (Boy’s Brigade, Pioneer Girls, AWANA), a Christian school (now The Rutland Area Christian School), a bookstore (formally, Discovery Bookstore), a radio station (WFTF), and after he retired, a project to send a film about the life of Jesus to everyone in the state of Vermont. Vicariously, he played a role in the work of many mission projects around the world.
He was a mentor and colleague and encourager (and sometimes substitute) for many different pastors around the state. Dean played a yearly and involved role in the work of camps for young people (Camp Berea in N.H., WOL, among others). He regarded all of this service as a privilege and an opportunity to express his gratitude for all that God had given him.
If this brief bio allowed, the list would probably grow, but it is important to note that Dean will always be remembered by those who knew him as a person who cared about them as individuals more than as a person who organized institutions.
He was a giver. A good deal of the proceeds earned from his “side business” of buying, building, and managing apartment houses, was donated to various charities here and abroad. While admittedly a person with all the flaws humans are prone to, he was a force of caring in his world and among the last words he was able to speak before taking his leave of it was, “How can I help you?”
His loving wife, his grateful children, his many friends, and all those who had a chance to be helped by him wish him well on his next journey and recommend him to whatever teams are in need of his love and humble service in the hereafter. We look forward to seeing him again.
One thing Dean did do all by himself was arrive early in the morning before anyone else on days it was his turn and light the wood stove in the one-room school house in Ira that he was educated in. He always did like starting things.
There will be a celebration of life service on May 28 at the Calvary Bible Church in Rutland from 11 a.m.-noon. Refreshments will follow in the fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made to the Calvary Bible Church Youth Ministry/Camp Scholarships in Memory of Dean Crossman (2 Meadow Lane, Rutland, Vt. 05701) Attn: Financial Office, or at cbcvt.org where there is a place to give memorial gifts.
The private graveside service was held Saturday, April 9, at 11:30 a.m. in East Clarendon Cemetery. The Rev. Glenn Davis, pastor of the Village Baptist Church of Mt. Holly, officiated. Family members offered words of remembrance. Guitarist was the Rev. Glenn Davis.
Arrangements were by Tossing Funeral Home.