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Richard A. Crewe, 79, who in his youth was a star on the local baseball scene, died Sunday (Feb. 4, 2001) in Mount St. Mary's Hospital after a brief illness.

Crewe was known as the "Home Run King," according to his daughter Kathleen Harold.

"People I didn't even know would come up to me and say, 'You're Dick Crewe's daughter, aren't you? I saw him hit this home run over the barn in Youngstown.' He must have been really, really good."

Crewe, a first baseman, played for Lewiston High School, where he graduated in 1940, and for various local teams. He played semipro baseball in Buffalo in the early 1940s.

His daughter said he was offered professional tryouts by the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox but was unable to attend their training camps because of family commitments.

He maintained his connection with the game as a fan in his later years, and he married a cousin of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, which was appropriate because Crewe was a Yankee fan.

Lila M. Steinbrenner Crewe, his wife for 46 years, died in 1994.

Crewe, whose family has lived in Lewiston for more than 150 years, served as a private first class in the U.S. Army Air Forces from August 1942 to November 1945 in the European Theater. He was a member of Down River Post 7487, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Crewe worked at Union Carbide Corp. in Niagara Falls for 42 years, retiring as a department head in the storeroom department in 1981.

He was a member of the Union Carbide 25-Year Retirement Club. He was also active in the labor union at the company and held several union offices.

In his later years, he worked at Joseph Davis State Park as part of the Green Thumb program. He enjoyed playing golf.

Crewe was a longtime Democratic Party committeeman in Lewiston, although he never held elective office. His daughter said he shook hands with John F. Kennedy at a campaign stop in Niagara Falls in 1960.

He was a charter member of Lutheran Church of the Messiah.

Besides his daughter Kathleen, survivors include another daughter, Roberta Skurski of Ransomville; a brother, Howard of Lewiston; and four grandchildren.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Lutheran Church of the Messiah, 915 Oneida St. Burial will be in Dickersonville Cemetery.

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