Edwin Lane Crosby

Sept. 4, 1936 - May 29, 2022


Edwin Lane (Ned) Crosby, age 85, passed away peacefully on Sunday, May 29, 2022 surrounded by his loving family. His health declined suddenly after six years of successfully managing multiple myeloma.

Ned was a bright, kind, much-beloved individual. Those who knew him will remember him for his thirst for knowledge and truth, his passion and compassion, energy and vibrancy, curiosity and keen intelligence.

He was a storyteller and loved playing with and making up stories for his daughters, the children of friends and later his grandchildren. He enjoyed engaging people, speaking foreign languages and conversing on a multitude of topics. He also pursued his work on democracy tirelessly.

Ned was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended Yale University before serving in the U.S. Army in Germany. While overseas he met his first wife, Rosemarie Haag, with whom he had his wonderful daughters, Lisa and Caroline.

In 1976 he married Patricia Benn. Together they enjoyed many life adventures, including memorable trips, living in France and spending time with their close friends, daughters and their six cherished grandchildren. Minneapolis was always Ned's home, but beginning in 1998, he and Pat also lived part-time in Port Townsend, Washington, to be near family, as well as to work in Washington and Oregon.

Ned studied psychology, social ethics and political science at the University of Minnesota, earning his Ph.D. in political science in 1973. In the process of writing his thesis, he invented the Citizens Jury process, one of the most innovative and widely used methods of deliberative democracy introduced in the 20th century. To develop that work, Ned founded the Center for New Democratic Processes (formerly the Jefferson Center) in Minnesota. Ned and Pat also worked together for over a decade to establish the Citizens Initiative Review in Oregon as an official part of the state’s electoral system. To pursue and continue this work, they co-founded Healthy Democracy.

Ned is survived by his beloved wife, Patricia Benn; daughters Lisa Crosby and Caroline (Michael) Walker; grandchildren Rinnah Becker, Ella Becker, Jay Crosby, Reed Barry, Matt Barry, Dakotah Walker; brother Franklin (Gisela) Muzzy Crosby III; as well as nieces, nephews and many cousins. Ned is preceded in death by his parents; his beloved son-in-law Paul Becker, who consulted with Ned and shared a passion for deliberative democracy; his sister, Elizabeth C. (Betsy); brother-in-law Harrison R. (Jim) Johnston Jr.; and nephew Herrick Johnston.

A Celebration of Life Gathering will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 at the QUUF fellowship hall in Port Townsend. Memorials preferred to Healthy Democracy, Portland, Oregon. No flowers please.