Sunrise, January 17, 1961 – Sunset, June 21, 2023
Dr. Charles Edward Crutchfield III passed away peacefully on June 21, 2023, after bravely battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for two and a half years. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Born on January 17, 1961, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Charles was the beloved son of Drs. Charles Crutchfield and Susan Crutchfield Mitsch. He took great pride in being the older brother of Carleton, Christopher, Robert, Raushana, and Rashad. Even during his young adulthood, Charles was known for his self-confidence, generosity, and unwavering determination. Charles embodied these values throughout his life. He possessed a warm and outgoing personality, forging connections with ease and bringing people together. Charles approached life with boundless optimism and a playful sense of humor, embracing every moment to its fullest.
Charles attended Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis for high school, where he excelled as an athlete and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” by his senior class. He graduated with honors from Minnehaha Academy in 1978 and pursued his passion for biology at Carleton College. Charles then continued his medical education at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and completed his dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota.
While studying in Rochester, Charles met his future wife, Laurie. They married in 1994. Together, they had three cherished children, Olivia (23), Charles IV (19), and Arianna (16), who held their father in the highest regard. Charles instilled in his children a strong work ethic, a thirst for knowledge, a commitment to excellence, and a deep sense of compassion for others.
Dr. Crutchfield III was a board-certified dermatologist and the medical director of the Crutchfield Dermatology clinic, which he founded in 2002 in Eagan, Minnesota. Throughout his 25-year career, he selflessly served his patients and advanced medical knowledge, with a particular focus on the well-being of individuals of color. As the first African-American dermatologist in Minnesota, Dr. Crutchfield III was a pioneer in his field. He cared for over 50,000 patients, authored hundreds of scientific papers (including a textbook), and had an impressive legacy of outstanding contributions to dermatology. Dr. Crutchfield III was consistently recognized as one of the nation’s leading skin care experts in local and national surveys involving physicians, nurses, healthcare providers, and healthcare facilities. He received numerous local and national awards and recognitions, including being named among “America’s 10 Leading Dermatologists” by Black Enterprise magazine and “100 Most Influential Healthcare Leaders in Minnesota” by Minnesota Medicine. He also received the Karis humanitarian award from the Mayo Clinic. He held professional affiliations such as serving as President of the Minnesota Association of Black Physicians and being a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, a national medical honor society.
As a senior medical advisor for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder newspaper, Dr. Crutchfield III and his esteemed colleagues authored numerous articles shedding light on vital health topics of interest to the Black community. Additionally, he served as the Vice President of Minnesota’s Black Community Project, a non-profit organization that celebrates the achievements and contributions of the African American community in Minnesota through mediums such as books, documentaries, and podcasts. Dr. Crutchfield III was dedicated to increasing the enrollment of students of color in medical schools to ensure future diversity in medical providers. He mentored many college students to help them gain admission to medical school.
Devoting a significant portion of his time to teaching, Dr. Crutchfield III held the positions of Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biology at Carleton College. He was honored with the Outstanding Clinical Teaching Award, as voted upon by the University of Minnesota’s medical students and received the 2023 Part-Time Teacher of the Year Award. Even while undergoing cancer treatment, he displayed unwavering commitment by continuing to teach his Cutaneous Biology course remotely from his hospital bed.
Since its establishment in 2012, the Crutchfield Dermatology Foundation has been dedicated to promoting good health throughout Minnesota. Its activities encompass awarding scholarships to promising students, sponsoring educational presentations, developing online resources, and publishing books that foster health awareness. Among the foundation’s remarkable accomplishments is the creation of an innovative lectureship on ethnic skin at the University of Minnesota, which has played a pivotal role in educating medical residents and local dermatologists about the unique challenges associated with treating skin of color.
Renowned for his unyielding passion for sports, Dr. Crutchfield III served as the team dermatologist for the Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Wild, and Minnesota Vikings. He frequently attended Minnesota sporting events and was especially an avid baseball fan. Beyond his love for sports, Charles had many diverse interests. He was a talented artist, creating numerous contemporary, geometric pieces. Gardening was another passion, with Charles proudly earning a blue ribbon at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair for his hot peppers. Furthermore, he was an excellent cook and had a discerning palate for fine foods. However, among all his interests, what Charles treasured most was traveling and spending quality time with his beloved family.
Charles was preceded in death by his grandparents, Carter Vernard and Mary Jackson Ellis, and Charles Bannie and Cessie Hollis Crutchfield; as well as his stepmother, Patricia Wilson Crutchfield. He is survived by his parents, Drs. Charles Sr. and Susan (Robert); his devoted wife Laurie; his cherished children Olivia, Charles IV, and Arianna; and his siblings Carleton (Linda), Christopher (Thu-Mai), Robert, Raushana, and Rashad. He also leaves behind a host of beloved nieces, nephews, other family members, and friends.
In honoring Charles’ memory, let us carry forward his legacy of compassion, dedication, scholarship, and excellence. His impact on the medical community, his family, and all those fortunate enough to have known him will forever be treasured.
A private funeral service will be held. A celebration of life memorial service is being planned for later this summer.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Crutchfield Dermatology Foundation would be greatly appreciated.