Martin (Marty) William Crennen, F.A.I.A., died on March 18, 2017, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena after an extended illness. Marty was born in 1930 in Billings, Montana to Janet and Martin Crennen, who lived on a homestead in Musselshell County near Roundup, Montana. At age 1 ½ yrs., his family moved to Gallatin Gateway where his Dad had purchased a farm. Marty attended grade school in Gallatin Gateway, and then after 8th grade Marty’s parents moved into Bozeman so that he could attend Gallatin County High School. During his junior year Marty was selected to attend the first session of Montana Boys’ State in 1947.
After high school graduation in 1948, Marty and several friends enlisted in the Navy. He had signed on for three years; however when the Korean War broke out his tour of duty was extended for a year and his ship, the USS McCaffery, a destroyer, was on its way via the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Suez Canal, and Indian Ocean to patrol the Straits of Taiwan. His ship’s duty also included rescuing pilots whose planes had been shot down in the Sea of Japan.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Marty enrolled in the School of Architecture at Montana State. He also joined the Sigma Chi fraternity at MSU where he made many life-long friends. His Sigma Chi Brothers continued to gather annually at their elk hunting camp for over 40 years and also met together with their families every year at Big Sky for New Years, Marty remained a Life Loyal Sig all his life.
Following graduation from Montana State in 1957 (his was the first class to graduate in the new Brick Breeden Fieldhouse), he married Margaret Ann Olson from Ennis, Montana on June 2, 1957. They began married life in Great Falls, Mt. where Marty worked for Knight & VanTeylingen, Architects. He also began what was to be a lifetime of community service when he became President of the Great Falls Jaycees. He also served as Montana State Vice-President of the Jaycees. While living in Great Falls their two sons, Mike and Tim were born.
In 1964, the family moved to Helena where Marty joined Joe Campeau in the firm of Campeau & Crennen, A.I.A. He remained a partner for 30 years until his retirement in 1994. Marty designed many interesting projects including churches, schools, banks, nursing homes and government office buildings across southwestern Montana, but mainly concentrated in Helena. His firm designed its own office building at 1 North Last Chance Gulch, the first new construction on the Gulch after Urban Renewal. Several years after his retirement, he went back to work part time for the City of Helena Building Dept. reviewing plans. He greatly enjoyed the friendship of the staff in the department.
Marty was a great supporter of his profession. He served as state president of the Montana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Then Governor Tom Judge appointed him to the Montana State Board of Architects on which he served for nine years, several times as Chairman. Marty then became involved with the National Council of Architectural Boards and was elected to the National Board serving as the Director of a Region stretching from Montana through Oklahoma. He also served on the National Exam and Grading committee for many years.
Marty was elected to the College of Fellows during the National Meeting of the A.I.A. held in New York City in 1987. In 1993, he was elected Director of the Northwest-Pacific Region of A.I.A., a region including Alaska, Hawaii and Guam and served on the National Board of A.I.A. through 1996. In 2005, the NWP Region recognized Marty as their fourth recipient of the Region’s Medal of Honor at the Regional Conference held in Seattle, Washington. Through his A.I.A connections, Marty felt lucky to affiliate with a group of architects who loved golf, half of whom were Americans and the other half British. Their common interest was golf and every two years would take the group to Britain and then two years later to a golf destination in the U.S. where they played a week of Ryder Cup style matches.
In more recent years he discovered the pleasure of cruises and explored both Western and Eastern ports in the Mediterranean, as well as ports in the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, the North Atlantic and the South Pacific. In addition Marty enjoyed attending ship reunions for the USS McCaffery when he could, meeting first in Baton Rouge, then Savannah, and finally in Boston.
Marty served on the School of Architecture Advisory Board at Montana State University for many years and was named an Emeritus member of the Board. He was a lifetime MSU alum and Bobcat supporter and held season football tickets ever since the “new” stadium was built - over 40 years!
Marty made significant contributions to the city of Helena serving on many Boards, often as Chairman. Boards included St. Peter’s Hospital, Florence Crittenden Home, Helena Housing Authority, United Way, Food Share, and Old Governors ’Mansion. He also enjoyed serving as a St. Peter’s Hospital volunteer for many years after his retirement. Marty was an active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral serving (more than once) on the Vestry and as Jr. and Sr. Warden. He was a long-time member of Green Meadow Country Club where for many years he enjoyed playing with his golf team in the Wednesday evening league. Later on he played in the Wednesday morning Senior league and then finally just enjoyed lunch on Wednesdays with his good friends. Marty was also a Shriner, and enjoyed many years of playing the drum and marching with the Algeria Shrine Patrol.
Marty is survived by his wife, of nearly 60 years, Marg; his sons Mike (Louellen) Crennen and Tim (Deb) Crennen; his grandchildren Tyler Crennen, Amanda Crennen, and Michael Crennen; his nieces Kathy (John) Sobrepena, and Bobbie (Brent) Bahny; nephew John Overstreet; and several grand and great grand nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and sister, Jean Overstreet.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Weiner and his Staff and the entire Staff on the oncology floor at St. Peter’s Hospital for the exceptional care given to Marty. Also special thanks to Father Gabriel Morrow and Deacon John Moran for their countless visits and prayers.
A Memorial Service will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral, 511 N. Park Ave., at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 21st, 2017 followed by the interment of ashes in St. Peter’s Memorial Garden with Military Honors. A reception hosted by St. Anne’s Guild will be held downstairs in the undercroft of the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: The Marty Crennen F.A.I.A. Architecture Scholarship, Montana State University Alumni Foundation, P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, Mt. 59717-2750 or to St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation, 2475 Broadway, Helena, Mt. 59601 or St. Peter’s Episcopal Cathedral, P.O. Box 819, Helena, Mt. 59624. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Martin.