Vale Merv Crowley

November 18, 2023

It is with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of Merv Crowley at the age of 89.

Merv was a loyal servant of Hockey Geelong in general and of Geelong Hockey Club in particular.  He is survived by current players Debbie O’Shannessy and her son Glenn and great grand daughter Luka.

Merv’s main contribution was with umpiring and he did so over several decades in rain, hail or shine. He umpired for many, many years at Geelong Grammar School, always reliable and willing to coach junior umpires. His words of wisdom and encouragement often kept our young umpires going.

Merv umpired his way and he never left you in any doubt about his decisions. A sharp whistle and a sharper glare was his trademark. As with all umpires he only pleased half of the players and spectators but Merv would always show up and offer his services. Merv was a constant at all of the carnivals Geelong hosted and was first to arrive and last to leave, being prepared to help in the canteen or empty the bins.

He was a real person as what you saw is what you got. A heart of gold and never held a grudge. The look on his face when giving a decision convinced the observer that he was right when sometimes he may not have been.

Merv umpired for Geelong Hockey Club for decades at a time when it was hard to get umpires. He would arrive early for any game and be immaculately attired, checking he had all of his equipment as well as a spare in case others had forgotten theirs. Merv umpired every game as if it was the most important game in the world. Merv was the size of a jockey but could stare anyone down no matter their size. He had arguments with most people but he always listened to their view and never spoke over them. His ability to articulate his reasoning set him apart from all others.

A committed hockey person, Merv came to the game late in life after watching his daughters play and seeing they needed umpires. Merv was an accomplished table tennis player and coach and if I am not wrong his picture still adorns the outside of the table tennis centre in Church Street, North Geelong.

Merv took great delight in seeing his daughters and grandson play and had much to be proud of. Merv was to be 90 years of age next February and his last years were in a Norlane Age Care Facility.

A gentleman and an umpire who always put others before him are a rarity.  We have lost one of a kind and he will be greatly missed.


Author:  Graeme Dent