Steve Crowley, a longtime Twin Cities health care and technology analyst, was passionate about his trade, his family, his friends and his wine cellar.
"He also was very generous, a great gift giver to friends and very involved with numerous charities," recalled Matt Arens, CEO of First Light Asset Management, who considered Crowley a mentor. "And he was an organ donor. That was final testimony to his giving spirit."
Crowley, 50, was killed in a car accident on his way to work at First Light earlier this month. Crowley welcomed Arens to the industry in 1996 as a rookie analyst at Kopp Investment Advisors. And Crowley had joined Arens at First Light only a few weeks before his accident.
Crowley, a native of Rhode Island who graduated from the University of Chicago, began his Twin Cities investment career nearly 30 years ago at Craig-Hallum. He returned to that firm several years ago, before leaving to work with Arens at First Light.
"Steve was meticulous and detailed and also made strong connections with people," Arens said last week. "I have a stack of e-mails from colleagues, clients and others he knew through Craig-Hallum. His job was to scrutinize companies publicly, and he always was positive and constructive."
Brad Baker, the CEO of Craig-Hallum, recalled Crowley as painstakingly thorough and meticulous.
"He was one of the good guys," Baker said. "He was passionate, opinionated and unusually bright. You would never catch him saying, 'That's good enough.' You also knew where he stood.
"When he left [Craig-Hallum] recently to join Matt at First Light, we were excited for him,'' Baker said. "We stayed friends."
Crowley was well-known for being the first analyst to pick up coverage of Minneapolis-based Techne Corp. in the early 1990s when it was valued at less than $100 million. The value of the biotechnology company has risen to more than $3 billion over the years.
During the technology-stock meltdown of 2000-02, Arens said he, Crowley and others at Kopp were humbled by the downward turn of fortunes. And Crowley "went through hoops" to console and try to find jobs for securities industry friends who lost work during that recession.
Crowley, married and the proud father of three children, also was a wine lover.
"He really loved to study wines and understand values and collecting them and knowing the history," Arens said. "He would open a bottle with friends and explain. Nothing gave him more joy than buying a good bottle of wine that he had gotten cheap, or a mediocre bottle that he got really cheap. It was like an arbitrage play for him. He loved scanning menus and trying to find one he considered mispriced. It wasn't snooty; it was just a passion."
Crowley is survived by his wife of 27 years, Anne Crowley; daughter Elizabeth, and sons Mark and William; parents Francis Crowley, Marie Caponero and stepfather Robert Caponero. He was preceded in death by his brother Mark Crowley.
Services were held last week. Adding to the family's grief, their home near Delano was burglarized during the April 16 service. Investigators say they are looking for a vehicle — an older Suburban-style truck, charcoal gray — that could lead them to one or more suspects.
Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact the Wright County Sheriff's Office at 763-682-1162.