Keeper Bio: Floyd Earl Crewe

Floyd Earl Crewe

Date of Service: 1930-1968

1908: Born on November 16 in Mathews County, VA.
1930: Marries Melva Sadler on June 21. The couple raises three children.
1930: Joins the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Serves as a seaman on Diamond Shoals Lightship #105.
1933: Survives 150 mph winds of Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane. The Lightship is swept off course 5 miles.
1937: Transferred to the Lightship Chesapeake where he serves for five years.
1939: The U.S. Lighthouse Service combined with the U.S. Coast Guard. Crewe continues service as a civilian.
1942: Transferred to Smith Point Lighthouse where he serves as Second Assistant Keeper.
1943: Transferred to Upper Cedar Point Lighthouse and serves as Keeper.
1947: Transferred to Windmill Point Lighthouse and serves as Keeper.
1954: Assists in the decommissioning of Windmill Point Lighthouse.
1954: Transferred to Wolf Trap Lighthouse where he served for 14 years as Keeper. He was the last Civilian U.S. Lighthouse Service Keeper.
1968: Retires after 38 years of Lightship/Lighthouse Service.
1978: Passed away on August 15 at age 69 and is buried in Milford Haven Cemetery in Mathews, VA. At Keeper Crewe’s passing, only four former civilian U. S. Lighthouse Service keepers remained alive.

Keeper Crewe Anecdotes:

Keeper Crewe survived the hurricane of 1933 while on duty as a 24-year-old seaman on the Diamond Shoal Lightship. He later served on the Chesapeake Lightship which is docked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor near the National Aquarium.

During the winter of 1943, while stationed at Maryland’s Upper Cedar Point lighthouse, he caught enough rockfish off the Potomac River to buy winter coats for his wife and two daughters.

Daughter Glenna Crewe Hudgins recalls one her father’s favorite sayings – “We raise everything we eat at the lighthouse”. Ms. Hudgins said her father was “intelligent, well-spoken and had a saying for everything. He was a good cook and could fix anything that was broken. He left this world a better place than he found it”.

Keeper Crewe retired in 1968 and he was the last civilian U.S. Lighthouse Service keeper at his final station – Wolf Trap Light. His career last 38 years. In 1971, Wolf Trap became one of the last lighthouses on the Chesapeake Bay to be automated.

Source: Glenna Crewe Hudgins, daughter of Floyd Crewe; Lighthouse Service Bulletin, Washington, 10-02-33; Bay Beacons by Linda Turbyville and Lighthouse Directory web site: http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/va.htm

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