Crowder, the son of Charles H. and Leitha Crowder, graduated from Phillips High School in Birmingham. He earned his bachelor's degree at Auburn University in 1959 then completed his law degree at the University of Alabama School of Law in 1962. He served as clerk for Circuit Court Judge Walter Gewin before going into private practice. He was appointed a judge himself by Governor George Wallace in 1973.
Crowder tried criminal cases in the 10th Judicial Circuit of Alabama until 1984 when he transferred to the civil bench. As a criminal court judge, he presided over the trial of J. B. Stoner, who was convicted of planning the 1958 Bethel Baptist Church bombing and sentenced to the minimum 10 years. On the civil bench, he presided in an insurance fraud case that resulted in a $1 million award to Cleopatra Haslip. He was promoted to presiding judge a year before his retirement in 1992. Subsequently he joined the firm of Johnson & Cory, which became Cory, Watson, Crowder & DeGaris when he was made a partner.
Outside of his practice, Crowder was a long-time member of Canterbury United Methodist Church, Potentate of the Zamora Shrine Temple, and a football and baseball coach for the Hoover Athletics Youth Program.
- Gray, Jeremy (January 15, 2010) "Former Jefferson County Judge Charles R. Crowder dead at 72." Birmingham News
- "Charles Rogers Crowder" obituary (January 16, 2010) Birmingham News