Public Works employee quietly steps away after 28 years

kjahner@newsobserver.comJanuary 3, 2014 

— Steve Crowder is retiring from the Public Works Department of the Town of Garner. If you don‘t recognize the name, that’s almost by design; Crowder is, by nature, a quiet and private person.

But if you played on town-operated ballfields at any time in the last 28-plus years, he’s had an impact on you.

Crowder retired at the end of the year after nearly three decades of helping maintain Garner’s Parks. And he’s fine with not being recognized for it.

“He’s a very private individual, He pretty much keeps to himself,” assistant public works director Forrest Jones said. “He’s wanted little fanfare over his retirement.”

Crowder, 53, initially agreed to show up to the Dec. 17 Town Council meeting to be recognized with fellow retirees Frank Powell (town engineer) and Judi Lowry (animal control). But Forrest said the day before he said he wasn’t going to attend, and he was unavailable for an interview.

Crowder served as a crew leader for his department, and Forrest said he did his job well.

“He has worked in parks maintenance the entire time I’ve been here,” said Jones, a 13-year Garner Public Works veteran. “He does a good job at it.”

In particular, he’s spent a lot of time keeping the infields of Garner’s ballparks in shape.

“If you visit our parks, if someone’s played ball in our parks, he’s been a part of it in some role,” Jones said. “Ball is a pretty big thing here in Garner.”

Other town employees whose paths have crossed with Crowder reinforced the quiet-guy theme.

“He’s really quiet,” Rodney Dickerson said. “He’s not really much on crowds. But he’s a good guy.”

Councilman Gra Singleton said he spoke to Crowder as the end of the year approached.

“I told him ‘I knew it’s getting close.’ He said ‘yeah, his kids are grown, his wife’s passed away and he said I’m going to take a few months off and I’ll probably find a job and do something else,’” Singleton said.

Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland

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