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Hanging up the stethoscope: Dr. Harold Crewe retires after 41 of practice in Clarenville

Dr. Harold Crewe is retiring next month after 41 years in family practice in Clarenville.
Dr. Harold Crewe is retiring next month after 41 years in family practice in Clarenville. - Jonathan Parsons

CLARENVILLE, N.L. — A Clarenville family doctor has decided to retire from his calling after serving his community for nearly 41 years.

Dr. Harold Crewe announced he will be stepping down effective June 28.

The medical profession, especially in a rural community, was one that has a very personal beginning for Dr. Crewe.

In an interview with The Packet, he said while he likely decided to become a doctor after succeeding in the field of chemistry in university, the more interesting story goes back much further.

Dr. Crewe was born in Ramea on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. But before he was born, his was the only family living on Deer Island, off Ramea.

Crewe says while his mother was pregnant with him on Deer Island, his older sister became sick and tragically died.

“(My mother) was praying for a doctor. You couldn’t get a doctor, there were no doctors to come,” he says.

“So, she firmly believed that’s the reason I became a doctor.”

He was eventually delivered at his aunt’s house by a midwife in Ramea on April 20, 1952. In 1954, they moved to Port-Aux-Basques, where he grew up.

Dr. Crewe also remembers first establishing the Medical Arts Clinic in September, 1977, on the same site it exists today, with colleague Dr. Ed Hunt.

The Medical Arts clinic when it first opened in 1977.
The Medical Arts clinic when it first opened in 1977.

“He sort of recruited me as a colleague, and we decided to come out here together.”

He says they had the building built by Roy and Bill Vardy.

While the building has undergone many changes and add-ons over the years, Dr. Crewe has remained one of the constants — witnessing all the changes inside as well as outside the walls in the community.

He remembers there wasn’t much surrounding their building, not a paved road or a street light coming to it. They also pre-dated the G.B. Cross Memorial Hospital. He says the role of a family doctor has changed over the years, but it’s still a vital part of the community.

He’s worked alongside many co-workers over the years — as well as some who have been there for the bulk of it.

“I certainly fell in love with Clarenville and learned very quickly to utilize what was here — which was outdoors for me. Cross-country skiing in the wintertime has been a passion of mine since I moved here; and I had a sailboat for just about 25 years so I sailed around here for ages.”

He adds that the people of the town have been kind, it has been a good place to practise and raise his children, with no regrets.

As for what retired life will bring, Crewe expects to be close to his kids and grandkids, in St. John’s and Western Canada.

“But I have no intentions right now of doing anything,” he mused.

His only firm plan is to “just sit back and look out my window every morning at the ocean and see the bald eagles and otters and whales, it’s pretty spectacular … I never take it for granted.

“You wake up to that, b’y, and you don’t have to hear horns and the hustle and bustle of traffic, it’s pretty hard to leave this. Wherever I go, it’s going to be a downstep from here.”

Twitter: @jejparsons

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