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Obituary: John York Critchley '39

John York Critchley, 94, died Feb. 16, 2011. He was born Oct. 18, 1916, the son of William S. and Mabel F. [Bame] Critchley. John spent most of his life in Auburn, always returning home to West Lake Road after the Army and his work had taken him away. He attended Antioch College where his talent as a sculptor developed and then Syracuse University where he earned his degree in architecture. He was proud of his Army service in World War II in which he earned several medals including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. John's long career in architecture included buildings in Auburn, among them the 'new' Presbyterian Church. He worked in France, first on a base for the American and French air forces combined. Later, he was the architect in charge of restoring the Rothschild mansion in Paris which had been a Nazi headquarters and would be the American ambassador's residence. Part of the work included tracking down and reinstalling missing parts of the building including the 'grand' staircase. His later career included work for Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. John loved traveling, music and sailing. He had a special affinity for animals; according to a niece he could 'charm the birds out of the sky.' He had an instinctive ability to train his dogs to a remarkable degree of obedience and communication. John married Barbara Brooks in October 1996. Together they lived happily in a beautiful house he designed and had built for them on a hillside overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee and the hills of New Hampshire. He died in Florida where they had a vacation home. John survived his parents; his sister, Mary York Critchley Main who died in 2008, his cherished uncle, Clyde Bame, his first wife of 38 years, Elizabeth, known as 'Bet,' and his second wife (of three years), Evelyn. In addition to his wife, Barbara Brooks Critchley, of Dowling, Fla.; he is survived by two nieces, Martha Drogin, of Portsmouth, N.H. and Ruth Wilson, of Sudbury, Mass., their families, and several cousins, all of whom miss him very much. Burial will be in Sand Beach Cemetery at the convenience of the family. Those who wish may contribute to John's favorite charity, the Springfield Rescue Mission, PO Box 9045, Springfield, MA 01102, in his memory.