Mourning the Loss and Celebrating the Life of Eldon "Took" Crowell

To:        Friends of Constitutional Accountability Center
From:   Doug Kendall
Date:    May 24, 2010
Re:       Mourning the Loss and Celebrating the Life of Eldon “Took” Crowell


Today, Constitutional Accountability Center is mourning the loss and celebrating the life of Eldon “Took” Crowell, the founder of the D.C. law firm Crowell & Moring, who served as the Vice Chair of CAC’s Board for the past eight years.  Took died yesterday of a heart aneurysm at the age of 86. 

Before I met Took 20 years ago as a first-year associate at his law firm, he had already lived a legendary career in the law.  He had helped build the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of Jones Day into a powerhouse and then led a revolution in 1979, leaving the firm and taking 57 lawyers with him to form Crowell & Moring.  In a very short amount of time, Took then helped build Crowell into one of the largest and best law firms in town, a firm with a great reputation, a unique culture, and a tremendous commitment to pro bono.  That all came straight from Took, who was one of the best businessmen, most committed progressives and greatest characters I’ve ever known. 

Took played an enormously important role in the development of Community Rights Counsel (CRC) and in the successful transition to Constitutional Accountability Center.  Took joined CRC’s board in 2002, immediately becoming a vital force in the organization and my mentor, friend and confidant in running the organization.  In 2007, I approached him with the idea of the transition into Constitutional Accountability Center and he not only supported the idea whole-heartedly, he also provided an incredibly significant financial contribution to make the transition possible. 

I spent about 45 minutes with Took on Friday.  He was very sick, obviously, but completely lucid — we talked about CAC, the Kagan nomination, the Roberts Court — and he was still able to give me his incredibly firm handshake with the always-present twinkle in his eyes.  This is a terrible loss for CAC and for a great many people who know Took and love him dearly.  We will find ways over the coming days, weeks and months to pay him appropriate tribute and to make sure his legacy endures.  We know that from Took’s perspective, the greatest way we can honor him is to work hard to achieve the many ambitious things he helped launch CAC to see happen.