Omar D. Crothers
Dr. Omar D. 'Chip' Crothers, 71, of Portland, died on Friday, May 17, 2013 at Maine Medical Center after complications from heart surgery.
Chip was born on October 16, 1941 in Elkton, Md., the son of Omar 'Gus' Crothers and Margaret Jefferson. He attended The McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Md., and graduated from Princeton in the class of 1963. He played freshman football and four years of varsity lacrosse, primarily as a goalie. He graduated from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1969, then pursued an internship at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, an orthopedics residency at Tufts New England Medical Center and a hip surgery fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He served on the orthopedics faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in the late 1970's.
In 1979, he moved to Portland, Maine, and co-founded Orthopedic Associates, which has grown into one of the largest orthopedics practices in the state. For fifteen years, he was one of the most prominent hip surgeons in northern New England, helping hundreds of patients regain their health and mobility. He also served as a consultant to Osteonics, a division of Stryker Corporation, and as an officer of the Orthopedics Research and Education Foundation.
As a child, Chip spent summers at Camp Deerwood on Squam Lake in Holderness, N.H. A traditional New England boys' camp, Deerwood became one of Chip's most beloved places; his two sons followed in his footsteps to spend many summers there during their own childhoods. As an adult, Chip co-founded the Deerwood Foundation, which provides scholarships for financially needy children to attend the camp.
During the winter of 1982, in partnership with Les Otten, Chip founded Maine Handicapped Skiing (now referred to as Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation), which has developed athletic skills and self-esteem in thousands of young people and adults over the past thirty years. Chip came up with the idea when he observed one of his own pediatric orthopedic patients glide down a ski slope more effortlessly than she had been able to walk into his office. He figured if it worked for her, it could work for many others; with the help of Otten, then owner of Sunday River Ski Resort, they put together a program, developed it into a solid non-profit organization and, as a result, raised millions of dollars to change thousands of lives. In 2011, Chip was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame for his work with Maine Handicapped Skiing.
Chip loved Maine, the outdoors (particularly on a bike or pair of skis) and political debates, but most of all he loved his family and friends. He is survived by his five children and their partners, W. Sean Crothers and his wife Lisa Grenier of Auburn, Lauren Crothers Simard and her husband Kurt Simard of Bethel, Mary Crothers Stone and her husband Marco Stone of Portland, Jacob 'Gus' Crothers of Cambridge Mass. and Elizabeth Kanha Crothers Stockford of Portland; and his six loving grandchildren, Madeline Jefferson, Cameron Lily and Sophie Bristol Simard of Bethel; Lillian Eva Stone of Portland; and Amanda and Matthew Grenier of Auburn.
A memorial service in Chip's honor will be held on Tuesday, May 21 at 3 p.m. at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 425 Congress Street, Portland. Donations in memory of Chip can be made to:
Maine Handicapped Skiing
(aka Maine Adaptive Sports and
8 Sundance Lane
Newry, Maine 04261
Or The Deerwood Foundation
c/o Henry Damon
16 Dee Road
Lexington, Massachusetts 02420