Alice M. Crowell, 84; rose to a top post at science center

Alice M. Crowell
Alice M. Crowell
Posted: November 23, 2013

Alice Marie Hess Brandt Crowell, 84, of Newtown Square, a businesswoman who specialized in marketing, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Dunwoody Village, a retirement facility.

For 10 years starting in 1966, Mrs. Crowell worked as an owner-operator of the Old Bennington Woodcrafters in Vermont.

On returning to the Philadelphia area in 1976, she began a 23-year career with the University City Science Center. She was hired as assistant to the president and rose to vice president.

"The Science Center captured her heart and imagination," her family said in a statement. She moved throughout the organization in a variety of positions.

She helped lay the groundwork for real estate development by connecting the center's member institutions with the City of Philadelphia and various neighborhoods.

Mrs. Crowell cofounded the center's Greater Philadelphia Venture Group, introducing start-up companies to area venture capitalists. She led the Application Development Center, an incubator program for software developers that also was part of the center.

"Her gift to the Science Center lay in her ability to see how people and institutions were, or could be, connected, often long before they realized it," her family said. "She worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make and nurture those connections."

Born in Philadelphia, Mrs. Crowell graduated in 1946 from Friends' Central School and earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Connecticut College. She earned a master's of business in marketing from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1951.

Her early jobs were in management training at G. Fox & Co., a department store in Hartford, Conn., and at the Atlantic Richfield Co. as a sales forecaster.

She married Lt. Erdmann Ellis Brandt in 1952. After he died Feb. 20, 1955, while serving as an Air Force test pilot, she married David Crowell in 1958. The two divorced. He died in 2002.

Mrs. Crowell was active with Reading for the Blind, Friends' Central, Connecticut College, Overbrook Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Children's Village, and Dunwoody Village.

In 1997, Friends' Central awarded her the Distinguished Alumna Award for service to the school and the region.

Throughout her life, she played field hockey, tennis, table tennis, croquet, basketball, lacrosse, and archery. At home, she would read or do crossword, jigsaw, or Sudoku puzzles. She was a skilled bridge player.

Family members called her kind and loving, although "those who knew her story best saw her as a trailblazer" for women.

She is survived by son William Brandt; daughters Nancy Reiland, Lynne Allen, Barbara "Raven" Studer, and Marion Entwisle; and six grandchildren.

A funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Overbrook Presbyterian Church, 6376 City Ave., Philadelphia 19151. Visitation starts at 10 a.m. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to the Endowment Fund in Memory of Alice B. Crowell at Overbrook Presbyterian.


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