Donald  Crabtree
Chief Master Sergeant Donald R. Crabtree, U.S. Air Force, retired, age 76, passed away after complications from surgery on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Muskegon. He was born Oct. 21, 1942 in Detroit.
He was a man of faith, family, patriotism and had a love of people whenever and wherever he met them.
After high school he proudly served his country for 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, rising to its highest enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E9). During his distinguished career he experienced combat in Vietnam as a junior airman, many deployments with brothers- and sisters-in-arms of all branches of service and stood side by side with his future son-in-law, a soldier, as they watched the Berlin Wall fall as part of the United Nations military arm (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe).
After his retirement he stayed in Belgium and worked quietly as a hotel clerk and traveled widely. Upon the death of his mother, he devoted himself to the full-time care of his father.
He enjoyed 29 years of marriage to the love of his life, Hansi Barbara Crabtree-Younkin.
Donnie expressed immeasurable gratitude to the people of the Muskegon and Traverse City communities who helped him live independently. He was kind, caring and compassionate to everyone. He knew no strangers, only friends whom he happened to have just met. His favorite thing to do was brag about his daughters and grandchildren ... fully convinced he was the most blessed man on the planet.
He is survived by his daughters, Patricia Ann Learn and Carrie Lynn (Matthew) Crosby; six grandchildren, Megan, Christopher and Joshua Learn and Christian, Ruby, and Kylie Crosby; three brothers, Dennis Crabtree, James Crabtree and Paul Crabtree; sister, Debra (Dennis) Runyon; sister-in-law, Linda Crabtree; and lifelong friends, John Lux, Jimmy Kruise, Jerome Kamayzek and Larry Brown.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Faith (Phillips) Crabtree; brother, Daniel Crabtree; and sisters-in-law, Joyce and Genelle Crabtree.
Military honors will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 at Sunrise Memorial Gardens, 2188 Remembrance Dr., Muskegon MI 49442, under the auspices of the Muskegon County Council. A celebration of his life will be held at noon Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 at The Lee Chapel of Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services, 6291 Harvey St., Norton Shores, MI 49444.
Memorials in memory of Don may be directed to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
You may sign his online guestbook at
Published on September 19, 2019


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