Councilman Thomas Crowder announced Tuesday that his battle with testicular cancer had taken a significant turn for the worse, and that he does not expect to finish out his current term.
Reading from a prepared statement, Crowder said, “Friends and citizens, last year I announced that I had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. At that time my physicians anticipated a positive prognosis. I underwent extensive medical treatment that has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful. We have now exhausted all of my options for a cure.”
Crowder is an architect and a Raleigh native who served on the Planning Commission before joining the City Council in 2003. For six terms, he has represented the people of southwest Raleigh’s District D and served the entire city as a staunch advocate for strict adherence to zoning codes and regulations.
When the time comes that his health forces him to resign from office, Crowder requested that the Council appoint his wife, Kay, to serve out the remainder of his term, which runs through December 2014.
“Kay has been much more than my life partner – she and I have discussed most major decisions I’ve made for the city I love,” Crowder said.
“She shares my perspectives on the programs, initiatives and vision for the citizens of southwest Raleigh.”
Whatever course the city takes in his absence, Crowder said the “vision, passion and perseverance” of those he had worked with over the years would “continue to make Raleigh the greatest place in the nation to live.”
He went on to thank the mayor, his fellow Councilors, neighborhood leaders, CAC chairs, the city staff, the denizens of District D and all of those with whom he had shared a love “for southwest Raleigh and the Capital City – these are citizens who appreciate the rich history and the progress we have made over the past decade.”
Most of all, Crowder said he wanted to thank his wife and children for “allowing me the time to serve our beloved city.”
“It has been one of my most humbling and rewarding life experiences. Citizens of District D and Raleigh – thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve you.”
An Impassioned Response
Crowder’s announcement was followed by an extended standing ovation from the Council and those in attendance at Tuesday’s morning meeting.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she had been “shocked and saddened” to hear the news.
“I’ve enjoyed working with you on the council for many years and before that. We have a long history, and I think your suggestion of asking us to consider Kay to take your place is a good one,” McFarlane said.
“I’ve also known Kay for a very long time, and as you said, she might be a little easier to work with,” she joked.
“I can guarantee that she’s not quite the blunt instrument that I am,” Crowder replied.
Councilman John Odom, who appeared to be fighting back tears, said he wished to resign as Mayor Pro Term so Crowder could take his position.
“Thank you John, that’s very gracious of you,” Crowder said.
Councilman Russ Stephenson, also visibly shaken by the news, said Crowder had served as a mentor to him, and had eventually become “a brother to me.”
“The city of Raleigh has benefited so much from his visionary thinking of what we could be as a city,” Stephenson said.
“It’s going to be difficult to not have that driving force here at the table with us,” he added.
“Again, we never thought cancer would get the best of you, we’re really sad and our prayers are with you.”
Crowder thanked him, but noted, “Don’t count me out yet.”