Dr Laurence Crowley CBE
It was with much regret and great personal sadness that the Centre staff team learnt today of the death of our esteemed Chairman Dr Laurence Crowley. Laurence had been a member of the Centre's Board of Directors since the Centre opened in April 2007. He was the founding Chairman and served in this capacity on two further occasions.
Laurence's experience was vast, serving as Chairman of a number of Boards including the Bank of Ireland and Aer Lingus as well as Executive Chairman at the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business UCD. This experience Laurence put to good use during his time on the Board at Middletown. He was keen to develop the skills-set of young managers and viewed the mix of young and more experienced management as a complimentary combination that both could benefit from. Laurence was passionate about North South relations and thoroughly enjoyed his time on the Middletown Board. He was the consummate professional and a very wise counsellor too. He would listen and ensured that everyone was given the opportunity to have their view aired and considered. Observing Laurence as Chairman was a masterclass in business management. Fellow Directors and staff members have learnt so much from him over the years and we were always privileged to have his wise guidance.
In social settings Laurence could hold his audience spellbound with stories from his amazing life always told in a quiet unassuming but fascinating style. His contacts were like a who's who of Irish society both present and past. He was undoubtedly part of the integral fabric of a family embedded in public service. The Middletown Centre for Autism owes him a huge debt in helping to steer the foundling organisation through its early days. The respect he engendered afforded the Centre the opportunities it needed to become established and his guiding hand steered it through a number of early difficult periods.
Like so many, I am truly grateful that I could call Laurence a friend. He will be sorely missed but his legacy will live on in so many facets of life on this island. Every decision made was made with integrity and a true passion and belief that he could make life better for others. In this he has achieved much and we are all the richer for having known him.
J G Cooper
23rd December 2020