Robert Kelvin Crabtree (Rob)

27 Feb 1945 - 30 Oct 2019

Robert Kelvin Crabtree (Rob)

27 Feb 1945 - 30 Oct 2019

CRABTREE, Robert Kelvin (Rob):

Peacefully, surrounded by his family on Wednesday, 30 October 2019, in his 75th year. Dearly loved husband of the late Christine. Loved and loving father and father-in-law of Matthew & Helen, Rupert, and Rebecca & Jeff. Cherished Poppa of Georgia, and Sophie; Noah, and Oliver; Finley, and Hamish.

Donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters Taranaki would be appreciated and may be left at the service.

Messages to the Crabtree family may be left on Rob’s tribute page at

A service to celebrate Rob’s life will be held at Eagars Te Henui Chapel, 174 Lemon Street, New Plymouth on Saturday 9 November 2019 at 1.00pm, followed by a private cremation.


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⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣Thinking of you all and sending our love. Rob was such a special part of our wider family, always interested in everyone and he loved to hear news of all the cousins! He was a man of many talents, with such a warm, giving personality and always made us feel welcome.
Rob spoke so well at John's funeral, which meant so much to us all.
Elaine remembers first meeting Rob when he was about 8 months old and said he was a gorgeous boy, with that lovely round face and big,brown eyes - as beautiful a boy as he was a man she says!
Much love to you all,
Elaine, Jenifer and Murray.

Jenifer Hunt ( 11 Nov 2019 )

Dear Crabtree family,
kindly accept our condolences on Rob's too-early passing.We feel so priviledged to have shared those Howick Rotary and community years with Rob - the 'go to' bloke, par excellence, for organising and fronting..well,'any and everything' really... always accomplished with contagious enthusiasm! We'll always value his friendship along with the trademark joyous hospitality of Rob and Chris at their Howick home.
Rod & Sue Somerville ( Dunedin)

Rod & Sue Somerville ( 10 Nov 2019 )

To the Crabtree family,
I hope you are all coping okay after Rob's passing.
He was a revered member of the New Zealand Sports Journalists Association.
I know Rob will forever be remembered in the industry for his call of the Kiwi rowing eight's gold medal at the Munich Olympics, yet he did so much more than that behind the scenes.
I loved working with him over the years, particularly in organising our annual awards function which he did with such aplomb.
Rob was wonderful company, thanks mainly to his generous and robust personality, and it was a pleasure to get to know him.
Please accept my apologies at being unable to attend the funeral, but his is a life to be celebrated.
Best wishes,

Andrew Alderson ( 08 Nov 2019 )

I was very sorry to hear about Rob's passing. He gave me my break into PR in about 2002 at CAL PR which later helped me develop my career at TVNZ and later the BBC. I will always be very grateful for that.

Robin Field ( 08 Nov 2019 )

It was with great sadness that i heard of Rob's illness and passing.
We shared our barefoot days in broadcasting in Broadcasting House
Wellington, with a group of other keen sports broacasters, busting to do our best. It was a gentler place in time then. Golly thats over 50 years ago, amateur sport and the All Blacks got 10 shillings a day. We all supported each other, it was fun and exciting time. Rob was an excellent broadcaster and we were all thrilled for him when he got on the archives tape at the Munich Olympic by calling the gold medal row of our fabulous rowing 8.
He had many more highlights than that though. Rob was then a young man
of great integrity and loyality, personal characteristics,that featured throughout his whole life. Later we were to paddle different Wakas but it was great to cross tacks and catch up.
My condolences to all the Crabtree Clan at this very sad time, his life's standards never wavered what ever he did.
you are. testimony to that.

be proud of a fine man.

Doc Williams Marlborough

Doc Williams ( 07 Nov 2019 )

Rebecca and Jeff,
We were so saddened to hear of the passing of Rob. What a wonderful man. Our thoughts and sympathy are with you and your boys at this sad time.
With kindest regards, Nicky and Tony.

Nicky Laird ( 07 Nov 2019 )

Dear Rebecca, Jeff and family,
We were saddened to hear of Rob's passing.
Our deepest sympathy to you all during this very sad time but his full life has alot to celebrate.
With kind thoughts, Jenny & Alastair Aitken

Jenny Aitken ( 05 Nov 2019 )

Rob was a very special man and I knew him through Rotary and Student Exchange. We always liked to catch up when we met at functions or other Rotary functions.

Special thoughts to you all. Remember and talk about all the special and fun times you have all had together with your Dad,

Rest in Peace Rob

Marion Patchett

Marion Patchett ( 05 Nov 2019 )

Deeply saddened to lose such a Legend and Friend so early
Had so much fun with Rob & Chris in Howick Rotary and on
the golf course and socially at their lovely Bleakhouse road
home and will be really be missed by all his Rotary colleagues
and so many great friends he had and helped along the way

Great speaker and Family man and a real gentleman

Thoughts are with all the family , Rupert, Rebecca, Matthew
and Jeff and send him off in style for all of us

Clive & Margaret

Clive& Margaret Derbyshire ( 05 Nov 2019 )

Rob's warm smile is something that will stick with me. I recall being incredibly nervous prior to sitting the Viva Voce exam for APR and when Rob smiled at me encouragingly I suddenly felt much more at ease. He will be sorely missed by the PR industry in New Zealand for his enormous contribution over many decades. My heartfelt thoughts are with his friends and family who will miss him every day.

Nikki Wright ( 04 Nov 2019 )

My sincere condolences to the family. I hadn’t seen Rob since 1963 or 1964. He was a year or two behind me at Hutt Valley High School. Later I played in a dance band with him. He was the cheerful drummer and at that time had the nickname ‘Frap’. Lots of fun. R.I.P, Rob.

John Davidson ( 03 Nov 2019 )

Thanks Rob for a life well lived ....remembered for his service to others - FunDrives all over NZ and other events raising money and hope for the Child Cancer Foundation and one of my initial Rotary colleagues when I joined Half Moon Bay Rotary many years ago .... Rest in peace
Mark Conelly and the Child Cancer Foundation Family - with thanks

Mark Conelly ( 03 Nov 2019 )

Dear Crabtree family, it was a shock for us to hear of Rob's death. We are Rotary family from 9920. What a magnificent conference he had in Taupo, very hard to beat that one. All the MCing he did so well. The Rotary Functions he and Chris hosted. He will stay with us as a professional, a man with great presence and a good sense of humour. A man who loved his family and Rotary. Best wishes to you all and we hope you have a good day for him. Annie and John Rennie Past District Governor District 9920, 2003 2004

Annie and John Rennie ( 02 Nov 2019 )

Very sorry to read of Rob's death - gone too soon. He was the handsome leading man Sky Masterson to my Sister Sarah in an Opera Technique's "Guys and Dolls" back in 1968 and I was pleased to see he continued enjoying singing.

Rosalie Purchase ( 02 Nov 2019 )

Matt n Hellen, so sorry to read of the passing of your Dad. Please accept our condolences. Have you all in our prayer at this sad. time for you all.
Murray n Marie Astwood

Murray n Marie Astwood ( 02 Nov 2019 )

Sorry to hear the news.Can only fondly remember our association over the years
at TVNZ functions, Stokes Valley Vol Fire, St Paul's choir L/Hutt, Epsom Presb Choir in Auckland (with Rebecca) and other musical occasions as well as being a good neighbour in Stokes Valley many years ago. Ron C

Ron Clark (organist) ( 02 Nov 2019 )