Born in Newark, N.J., in 1919, he attended Yale University as an undergraduate and earned his MD at the medical school in 1944. He acquired his first teaching position at the university after his internship and residency at Yale New Haven Hospital.
He met nursing student Madeleine Robb and married her in 1945. He moved to southern California in 1953, after his wife contracted polio and needed a place to recuperate.
After serving six years as a director of the Southern California Permanente Group, he took on a private practice along with a teaching position at the University of Southern California.
He moved to Stanford in 1964 upon being appointed chief of surgery at the new Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital. He worked in a number of positions at Stanford, then moved to the University of Wisconsin in 1973 to become dean of the medical school.
He returned to Stanford in 1977 with the aim of aiding the school, which was experiencing financial and political difficulties. Three years later, the university's president Donald Kennedy appointed him vice president for medical affairs.
"I was never sorry for a moment. He provided strong and thoughtful leadership, and the School of Medicine quickly prospered under it," Kennedy said in the press release.
He received approval from Palo Alto for a modernization and expansion of Stanford's medical center. The construction included expansion of four stories containing 11 patient care units, a new surgical suite, improved pharmacy and clinical lab and radiology services.
Later, considered by his wife as his most prized achievement, he assisted Lucile Packard in conceptualizing the design for a new children's hospital in the area.
"After my mother died (well before the hospital was built), Dr. Crowley made sure that their common vision was fully realized in the new facility. Without his leadership, we would not have the world-class children's hospital that we have today," Susan Orr, one of Packard's children, said in the release.
He became chair of the Packard Children's Hospital board in 1987.
He is survived by his wife Madeleine of Stanford; sons Lawrence Crowley of Littleton, Colo., and Stephen Crowley of Castle Rock, Colo.; and daughter Suzanne Iglesias of Santa Ynez, Calif.
A memorial service will be held April 21 at 3 p.m. at Stanford Memorial Church, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford.
Donations may be made to the Lucile Packard Children's Fund online at www.supportLPCH.org or by mail to Tara Quinn, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, 400 Hamilton Ave., Suite 340, Palo Alto, CA, 94301.