Henry was born on January 27th ,1855. His parents were devout Christians. His dad was a successful businessman who imparted the Christian faith to his children in spite of his tuberculosis that was eating away at his body. Henry’s dad breathed his last when Henry was nine years old. His dad’s death had a dramatic impact on Henry. The day after his dad’s funeral, he sought out their pastor. This man of God led Henry to the Lord that day.
But young Henry contracted tuberculosis also. Sometimes God tests us before blessing us. In the spring of 1873, Henry heard the evangelist D.L.Moody preach at his church. Moody challenged the men to let the world see what God could do with a man who was totally committed to God. Henry was reduced to tears. He felt God speaking directly to him. Henry promised God that if he was successful in business, he would keep his name out of it and give God the credit for any success he might have.
Eventually Henry was healed of his tuberculosis. With a small inheritance from his father, Henry invested in farming (that’s what he knew best) and real estate. When things were going good for them, his partner mentioned a failing little oat mill company near Ravenna, Ohio that was for sale. Henry did all the research on this company and he prayed a lot about buying it. He bought it and merged it with 3 other mill companies nearby, becoming the head of all 4 companies. Henry’s expertise was in marketing and advertising. He invented some new marketing techniques like celebrity endorsements, had contests with prize giveaways and mailing in the box top for merchandise. His other business ventures prospered also. While all of his non-mill companies were successful, none were quite as successful as his oat mill company.
In spite of all this financial success, Henry and his wife spent a lot of time with their children, especially in instructing them about Jesus. During the last half of his life, Henry gave away over 70% of his income to evangelical Christian causes. It is not an exaggeration to say that if it wasn’t for Henry and his active participation with it, Moody Bible Institute wouldn’t be here today. Henry also started a trust to perpetuate his desire to give to the work of the Lord. Its website is www.crowellfoundation.org. Its purpose is “The establishment of the Crowell Trust with a purpose of ‘encouraging and promoting the spread of Evangelical Christianity’ has extended his mission years beyond his life on this earth, blessing hundreds of ministries each year and reaching to the far corners of this world.”
Henry boarded a train in 1943 to go home. He was reading his well-worn New Testament when his heart stopped. It was November and he was 88 years old when he was called home by his precious Lord and Savior.
By the way, his full name was Henry Parsons Crowell and the oat mill company that he founded was the Quaker Oats Company. Yes, that’s right…the same Quaker Oats Company whose products are in grocery store shelves today. You can read more about him at http://www.giantsforgod.com/henry-parsons-crowell-quaker-oats/ or get the booklet “Christian Business Legends” from Business Reform magazine. (Note…there is some discrepancy on his birth and death dates.)
For His Kingdom,