Joseph H. Crabtree 1943 - 2021

Joseph H. Crabtree passed away suddenly on Monday, January 18, 2021, in Tampa, Florida, of COVID-19 pneumonia. He was 77 years old.

Joe was born to Joseph and Margaret Crabtree on December 30, 1943, in Trenton, New Jersey. He had a happy childhood growing up in Follansbee, West Virginia.

Joe attended The Linsly School in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he played football, basketball and ran track. He later attended Ferrum Junior College, where he played on the 1965 NJCAA national football championship team under head coach W. H. "Hank" Norton. His love of sports made him into a self-proclaimed “sports junkie.” Joe had a broad knowledge of interesting sports trivia.

Joe paused his education to join the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. He was a recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, and two Purple Hearts. Following his honorable discharge, Joe enrolled at West Virginia University, earning baccalaureate and master’s degrees.

Joe married Virginia “Ginny” Crabtree on May 29,1971, in Arlington, Virginia. Propelled by Joe’s career, they relocated numerous times with their twin children, Tara and Michael, before settling in 1990 in McMinnville, Oregon, when Joe became warden of the Sheridan Federal Correctional Institution. He retired in 1999.

Devoted to supporting youth, Joe coached numerous soccer teams and mentored young athletes for many years in McMinnville. He also served as president of McMinnville Soccer Club. During his tenure as head coach of the McMinnville High School soccer team, they won the state championship in 2006.

Joe had a great sense of adventure and loved to travel. In the years following his retirement, he and his wife Ginny spent winter months living in Spanish-speaking countries, studying the language, traveling and enjoying the climate and new cultures. A few of his favorite destinations were Honduras, Guatemala, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, Panama and Ecuador.

Joe and Ginny loved hosting gatherings with friends and family. A gifted storyteller with a great sense of humor, Joe made longtime friends and newcomers feel welcome. The consummate host, Joe ensured no one’s wine glass was ever empty. Devoted to family, a daughter’s move to Tampa, Florida, inspired Ginny and Joe to purchase a condo nearby so they could be closer to his grandchildren (and the warm winters!).

Joe is survived by his loving wife, Ginny; daughters, Michelle (Rudy) Psaroudis of Fort Mill, South Carolina, and Tara (Joe) of Tampa; and son, Michael (Ellen) of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; plus six grandchildren: Dylan, Desmond, Kyla, Calvin, Nora and Luke.

When it’s safe to do so, a celebration of Joe’s extraordinary life will be held in McMinnville. Joe will be interred at the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Joe’s name to McMinnville’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The family is deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of good wishes and support from friends and family near and far.



What an honor it was to work for Warden Crabtree, prior to his retirement. He was such a kind, and generous, person. It didn’t mattered what your title was, Warden Crabtree treated everyone fairly, and with respect. He would be the first one to “roll up his sleeves” and stand next to you. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

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