Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson on deceased gay staffer Chris Crowe: ‘He never met a stranger’

Chris Crowe (Courtesy of Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office)

Earlier we mentioned that Chris Crowe, a gay staffer for Democratic Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson who also served as president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, died Wednesday at 29.

Johnson, a longtime LGBT ally, issued a statement on Crowe’s death Wednesday night.

“He was respected by his colleagues for his professionalism; he was beloved by many for his generous spirit and good humor,” Johnson said of Crowe. “He was a person who enjoyed life and always had a smile to share. He never met a stranger.”

Crowe was a Kentucky native who worked as an intern for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in 2005. According to Roll Call, he studied government and global securities at Johns Hopkins University before becoming a staff assistant for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. Crowe became a staff assistant in Johnson’s office in 2006, and last year he was promoted to legislative assistant. From Roll Call:

Crowe, 29, had open-heart surgery last summer after being stricken with meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Friends say he looked to be on the road to recovery, but Crowe took ill last week with a staph infection that caused severe heart damage.

He was on bypass, but when doctors removed him from the machine, his aorta blew and they were unable to stop the bleeding in time.

Originally from Kentucky, Crowe was full of Southern charm and friendly warmth, said Kat Skiles, Crowe’s friend and communications director for the LGBT Congressional Staff Association.

According to Johnson’s office, funeral arrangements are pending. A memorial book in which people can sign condolences was set up today in the Rayburn House Office Building.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Bronx Cafe to close Sunday after 35 years; gay staffer for Rep. Johnson dies

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Bronx Cafe, a staple on the Cedar Springs strip since 1976, will close its doors for good after brunch on Sunday, The Dallas Morning News reports (paid subscription required). The Bronx property — four parcels totaling 30,000 square feet — reportedly has been purchased by a sister company of the adjacent Warwick Melrose Hotel. In a statement, representatives from the hotel declined to comment on the company’s development plans because the sale of the property is not yet final. For more, see Friday’s Dallas Voice (no subscription required).

Chris Crowe, shown at a rally in Washington in March, died Wednesday at 29.

2. Chris Crowe, a gay staffer for Democratic Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, died Wednesday at age 29 as a result of complications from a staph infection that damaged his heart, according to The Washington Blade. Crowe was president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association. Kat Skiles, spokesperson for the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, said: “It’s devastating to fathom an individual as kind, strong and spirited as Chris leaving us due to troubles with of all things — his heart. We send our deepest condolences to his loved ones and family.”

3. A civil unions bill cleared a Senate committee in Delaware on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Lesislature in Washington state approved a bill to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships from out of state.

—  John Wright