Lydia Nichols Crutchley, age 94, a resident of the McGraw House in Ithaca, NY.,formerly of Southampton, N.Y., passed away on Tuesday, May 31, 2005 at the Hospicare facility in Ithaca.
Born in Westerly, RI on November 10, 1910, Lydia was the daughter of Thomas P. and Jennie A. Howland Nichols. Following graduation from the Westerly High School in 1927, Lydia matriculated at Mount Holyoke College where she earned a BA. She also attended the Union Theological Seminary for two years.
From 1934 to 1936 Lydia worked as a social worker for the North East Neighborhood House in Minneapolis, MN. In 1936 she accepted the position of Director of Religious Education at the First Presbyterian Church in Chicago, IL. Twenty years later, Lydia left Chicago, and went to live in her hometown of Westerly, R.I. with her mother, where they were both involved in community activities. Lydia taught second grade at the Pine Point School in Stonington, CT for two years. She left that position to marry Fenton E. Crutchley, a former classmate from Union Theological Seminary. From 1960 until their retirement in 1979 Lydia and her husband, Fenton, jointly operated the family owned bakery business, Crutchley’s, in Southampton, NY. Crutchley's bakery, started by Mr. Crutchley’s parents in the late 1920's , was famous for "Crutchley crullers", and was written up in newspapers from time to time.
The Ithaca Monthly Meeting (Religious Society of Friends or Quakers), was a highlight of Lydia’s life. As a longtime Friend and former member, along with her husband, of Southampton Friends Meeting (L.I.), she made new connections, and found herself at home in the Ithaca Meeting when she moved to McGraw House in 1995 to be near family. A "people person", she made, kept, and nurtured many friendships over the years. She especially found the friendships she made at McGraw House and in the Ithaca Friends Meeting significant and meaningful. During her last illness, several members of the Meeting joined her on Sundays on a regular basis for small, intimate worship services, which meant a great deal to her. A person of depth and of intellect, she enjoyed long conversations with friends and family about a whole range of subjects including politics, religion, history, and poetry. She was a sympathetic and compassionate listener, and was one in whom friends, family, and acquaintances found easy to confide.
In addition to her parents, Lydia was preceded in death by her husband, a brother, Thomas Nichols, and a sister, Althea Nichols. She is survived by her step-daughter, Susan C. Norvell ,and her husband,Wendell Norvell (Bud), of Ithaca, NY; another step-daughter, Ruth G. Crutchley of E. Granby, CT; a brother, J. Alden Nichols of Urbana, IL & Dorset, VT; step-granddaughter, Sandra E. Norvell , her husband, Christopher Hopkins, and their daughter, Sarah C. Norvell, all of Ames, Iowa ; step-grandson, Russell E. Norvell, and his wife, Adrienne Cachelin, of Salt Lake City, UT; and six nieces and nephews, Margaret F. Nichols of Ithaca, NY, Norma N. Heller of W. Belmar, NJ, Sandra N. Dower of Bemus Point, NY, Jonathan Nichols of Stonington, CT, Catherine N. Thompson of Wisconsin, NY, and David Nichols of Champaign, IL.
A memorial service is being planned and will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospicare of Ithaca, 172 E. King Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 or to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
The family has entrusted arrangements to the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg. 1-888-534-5446.
Page submitted by Joseph L Sibley, Director