REMEMBERING MY GRANDFATHER, WILLARD EVERING CRAWFORD

REMEMBERING MY GRANDFATHER, WILLARD EVERING CRAWFORD

One of the goals on my bucket list was to live longer than my Grandfather. I’ve just
recently succeeded in doing that. He didn’t make it to his 77th birthday, I did. And I didn’t live
this long because I took better care of my body than Grandpa did, because I didn’t. Both
Grandpa and Dad took much better care of their bodies than I have with mine. Neither ever
smoked, drank, or mistreated their body in any way. (Like racing karts and motorcycles, for
example.) They both ate healthy food, and of course there was no “fast food” in those days. I
doubt either would have eaten junk food, even if it was available. The credit for me living this
long all goes to the advancements in modern medicine. But enough about me, now I’ll tell
you about my grandfather.
My Grandfather, Willard Evering Crawford, (aka Grandpa) was born on July 20th, 1873
in Gas City, Indiana, and died on June 27th 1950 in his bedroom at 1539 1st N.E. Massillon,
Ohio at the age of 76, less than a month before his 77th birthday. He died from leukemia, and
he was in great pain during his final days. Grandpa owned his own coal business, and didn’t
have health insurance, so he didn’t have access to pain medication at the end of his life. I
recall seeing him writhing in pain during the final week of his life, while my father (Willard

James Crawford I ) and my mother (Roine Fern {Freeman) Crawford), struggled to make him
feel as comfortable as possible, under those extremely unfortunate circumstances.
Grandpa’s wife, Clara Leota (Stetch) died early in life, at the age of 62, in 1942. I was
five years old when she died, but I don’t remember her. My mother told me I used to call her
“big” grandma, and her mother (my great- grandmother) who also lived there for awhile, “little”
grandma. Grandpa never remarried, but otherwise, he led a pretty good and pleasant life. He
owned a very nice house in Massillon, (see photo on page 3) had a dog named Duchess,
owned two dump trucks (see photo of one of them on page 3) and a pickup truck for his
business. In addition to his three trucks, he also owned a 1936 Dodge business coupe, a car
that I’ve always admired. (see the 1936 Dodge on page 3) He lived on about 2 ½ acres with
his 2 sons, Willard and Walter, and his daughter Mildred. His property bordered on the old
Ohio-Erie Canal, which was great for his sons, and great for his grandsons (my brother and I)

in later years. My brother and I fished at some of the same spots that my dad and his brother
fished, 35 years earlier.
Grandpa’s favorite sport (I guess it could be called a sport) was coon hunting.
(Racoons.) He used to take his hound dogs (not “Duchess, she was his “house” dog) out into
the woods and turn them loose. Eventually, they would “tree” a raccoon, and grandpa would
shoot it with his 16 gauge shotgun. I don’t know what he would do with them. I don’t think he
ate them, although some people do eat racoons. Fortunately, I was never invited on any of
his coon hunting trips. As a dedicated animal lover, I would have probably freaked out. I
think I mentioned in “Our Lives” that I have his shotgun hidden away in my closet.
Sometimes, on weekends, when mom and dad wanted to be alone, I stayed at my
grandfather’s house, and rode with him on his trips down south to New Philadelphia or Dover
to get a load of coal for one of his coal customers. While coal was being loaded in his truck, I
was allowed to watch the coal separating screens, which I thought were pretty cool. All coal
was conveyed over different sized shaking screens. The small, fine coal dropped out first,
through small holes, then as the coal continued down the conveyer, the next larger sized coal
dropped through the larger holes, then the next size, etc. I’m guessing here, but I think the
different sizes of coal was because of the different types of coal stokers and/or furnaces.
There was also a guy that stood near the shaking screens whose only job all day long was to
grab large pieces of slag out of the coal and throw them in the slag bunker. The slag was
burned in coke ovens. Grandpa shoveled coal in his own furnace by hand with a coal shovel,
until coal stokers were invented, at which time he had one installed. The coal stoker had a
huge screw drive that moved coal from the coal bunker in the basement of the house to the
furnace. The size of the fire in the furnace was controlled by the speed of the screw, which
was adjustable, depending how warm it was in the house. No thermostat controlled heat in
those days.
Grandpa’s daughter, Mildred, lived with her father because she had had a stroke at a
young age (in her 30’s, or maybe 40’s) that left her left arm paralyzed. It was nearly
impossible for a female to get a job in the 1930’s and 1940’s with only one good arm. My
aunt Mildred took care of the house, and prepared all of grandpa’s meals for him in exchange
for free room and board. Mildred died 3 years after grandpa, in 1953. I remember Mildred as
being a quite, sad, depressed lady, but it was quite understandable because of her
unfortunate circumstances. She constantly supported her paralyzed arm with her good arm.I don’t ever remember seeing her with her arm hanging down, or in a sling. I remember my
mother telling me that Mildred had a serious boyfriend until she had the stroke. Then he
dumped her. She never dated again, and devoted all of her time taking care of her father’s
house. Mildred was the oldest of grandpa’s three children. Her two brothers were Willard
James and Walter Bry Crawford. Although she was not a happy person, Mildred was always
kind to me, and kind to her pet canary that she had caged in the living room. Mildred had to
spend some time at a mental hospital, and (I’m guessing again here) she had a nervous
breakdown when her father died. The hospital was the Massillon State Hospital, (for patients
with mental problems) and it was located south of Massillon, between Massillon and Navarre.
I don’t think she was there too long, and after she was discharged, my father and his brother
Walter, bought a small house trailer for her, and parked it on Walter’s property near Massillon.
She stayed there until she died in1953.  Walter was Grandpa’s 3rd and last child. Walter was a pleasant guy, he had two boys,

Allen and Tad, and worked at the Massillon post office for most of his life. He was the
assistant post master when he retired from the Massillon post office, and soon built a small,
but successful lawn mower sales/repair business in his barn. He was the local Toro dealer,
and his business did well until he became ill with a liver disease. He died in the Massillon City
hospital in 1997. Walter’s wife Ora had passed away a few years before him. Walter’s oldest
son Allen was born with a bone deficiency problem that effected his mobility. He went to a
Christian college in Canton, Ohio, and is currently a school teacher. Brother Tad was a
pharmacy technician, and has a successful part time business as a Taxidermist, the last I
knew. My two cousins and I have had very little contact over the years.
My Grandfather was still hauling coal within weeks of his death. Probably, more out of
necessity than desire, because, as I mentioned earlier, he didn’t have health insurance. After
he passed away, he was placed in a casket in his living room to be on display for his friends
and relatives for two or three days, an archaic practice that I abhor, but that’s the way they did
it in those days, and I was required to attend. Grandpa, Grandma, Mildred and Walter are
interned at Rose Hill Memorial Park near Massillon. Dad was cremated at Clinton, Maryland.
There are two letters that my Dad wrote to his brother late in life in “Our Ethical Will 2”
that you may find interesting. He wrote about the “good old days,” when Grandpa’s 3 children
were young, and still living with him. I have included some photos below that are germane to
“Remembering Willard E. Crawford, my Grandfather.”

Willard James Crawford II

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OUR BEST FRIENDS HENRY AND KAREN

HENRY AND KAREN AS TEENAGERS- CIRCA 1952.

HENRY AND KAREN AS TEENAGERS- CIRCA 1952.

HENRY AND KAREN CIRCA 2011

HENRY AND KAREN CIRCA 2011

Henry and Karen Lautzenheiser live in Justice, Ohio on a 20 acre farm.  I first met Henry at Heck’s Corners in Massillon, Ohio when we were in the eighth grade.  We lived a short walking distance from each other near Heck’s corners, and were friends through High School.  We both took auto mechanics, at Washington High School in Massillon, and he got really good at it.  I was too much of a goof off to learn much.  Henry pulled me and my brother John out of the Ohio Canal one winter, probably around 1949 when the three of us went ice skating.  We were probably a mile or two from home when John and I skated onto some thin ice and we both went through.  Henry was behind us, and fortunately, he didn’t go through the ice, or all three of would have probably drowned.  Henry laid down on the ice to spread his weight over a larger area, and then inched over to the opening in the ice  and was able to pull my brother and I out of the freezing ice water.  The three of us then skated back home.  By the time we got there, John and I were both icicles.  “Good times.”  (Except for the falling through the ice thing.)

THE DESERT GODDESS AND ME AT BOOT CAMP GRADUATION.

THE DESERT GODDESS AND ME AT BOOT CAMP GRADUATION, CIRCA 1954.

GRADATION FROM BOOT CAMP AT BAINBRIDGE, MARYLAND IN 1954.  I APPEAR TO BE DISTURBED ABOUT SOMETHING, AND THE GODDESS OF THE DESERT LOOKS CONCERNED.  (OF COURSE SHE WASN’T THE GODDESS OF THE DESERT IN 1954.)  MY MOTHER AND FATHER DROVE MY HONEY ALL THE WAY FROM MASSILLON, OHIO TO SPEND THE DAY WITH ME.  THE BAINBRIDGE BOOT CAMP IS NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE; NOW IT’S ALL CONDOS.

LEFT TO RIGHT, ME, HENRY, KAREN, GODDESS OF THE DESERT AT HENRY AND KAREN'S HOUSE, CIRCA 2011.

LEFT TO RIGHT, ME, HENRY, KAREN, GODDESS OF THE DESERT AT HENRY AND KAREN’S HOUSE, CIRCA 2011.

Henry and I enjoyed hunting and fishing as youngsters.  (Gezzer speak for young people.)  On one occasion, we went to Nimishella reservoir, a good fishing lake near Massillon, and rented a boat.  After we located a good fishing area, I cast my line out and immediately heard a yelp from Henry’s end of the boat.  The hook on my line had got stuck in Henry’s eyelid.  There was no way we could remove it without damaging his eyeball, so we quickly rowed to shore and talked a fisherman into taking us to the hospital.  The doctor in the emergency room was able to remove the hook without further damage, but I felt terrible about it for several days after we got home.  We were both lucky that Henry didn’t lose an eye that day.  Henry, for obvious reasons, and me because I would have had his loss hanging over my head for the rest of my life.  Fun times.  (Except for that hook in the eye thing.)

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BECCA’S GRADUATION PHOTOS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

"Old Main" is the original University of Arizona building.

“OLD MAIN” IS THE ORIGINAL UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA BUILDING.

1 ArizonaWildcats 5    GREETINGS AND SALUTATIONS CRAWFORD   FAMILY MEMBER

1st  SCROLL THROUGH ALL PHOTOS
2nd TO SEE ENLARGED PHOTOS, SCROLL BACK TO TOP AND CLICK TOP PHOTO.
3rd  SINGLE CLICK ON EACH PHOTO TO SEE THE NEXT PHOTO
4th USE BACK ARROW TO RETURN TO WEB PAGE.
NOTE: SOME PHOTOS MAY REPEAT. JUST CLICK AGAIN.
IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, CONTACT THE WEBMASTER, GEEZER GRANDPA, AT kart32@aol.com.
              CAKE BY MOM, PHOTO BY DAD.
CAKE BY MOM, PHOTO BY DAD.
Becca in front of the "Old Main " building.

Becca in front of the “Old Main ” building.

4-Arizona wildcats sin

GO CATS…….THE ARIZONA UNIVERSITY WILDCATS BEAT NEVADA 49-48 IN THENEW MEXICO BOWL THIS YEAR.

Mom, Becca, and Dad

Mom, Becca, and Dad

Becca's graduation 6

“BECCA-ON-THE-ROCKS” AT UofA.

Left to right, Steve, Mom, Becca, Dad, and Kevin.

Left to right, Steve, Mom, Becca, Dad, and Kevin.

Becca with the "Hello Kitty" graduation cap she designed.

Becca with the “Hello Kitty” graduation cap she designed.

Left to right, Grandpa, Steve, Mom, Kevin, Becca, Dad, Grandma

Left to right, Grandpa, Steve, Mom, Kevin, Becca, Dad, Grandma

Becca's graduation dress.

Becca’s graduation dress.

BECCA WITH ROSES PROVIDED BY MOM AND DAD.

BECCA WITH ROSES PROVIDED BY MOM AND DAD.

2-University_of_Arizona_seal

BECCA AND "CAKE-BY- MOMMA."

BECCA AND “CAKE-BY- MOMMA.”

Becca's graduation 8

BELIEVE IT OR NOT FOLKS, THIS IS A CAKE; CREATED WITH LOVE, BY MOM SUSIE.

BECCA IS THE FIRST OF OUR GRAND CHILDREN TO GRADUATE WITH A BACHELORS DEGREE.  HER DEGREE IS A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA WITH A MAJOR IN PSYCHOLOGY AND A MINOR IN SOCIOLOGY.  MOM, DAD, GRANDMA AND GRANDPA COULD NOT BE ANY PROUDER.  CONGRATULATIONS BECCA, YOU ARE NOW ON THE FAST-TRACK TO EXCELL IN YOUR CHOSEN FIELD.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA CAMPUS

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA CAMPUS

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ROY ROGERS, DALE EVANS, AND MOM

ROY ROGERS AND DALE EVANS. CIRCA 1985.

ROY ROGERS AND DALE EVANS

    Back in the prehistoric days, when your mother and I were youngsters, our favorite movie heros were Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.  (Two photos below.)  Roy and Dale made over 100 movies beginning in 1938 and ending in the early 1950’s, and then made television shows for 6 years between 1951 and 1957.  In those days, Roy Rogers was the “King of the Cowboys, and Dale Evans was “Queen of the West.” 
    We visited the Roy Rogers Museum in Victorville several times, and on one of those occasions, we were able to get a picture of your mother with Dale Evans.  (Bottom photo).  Roy was still alive on that day, but not feeling well, so he stayed upstairs in the museum and we didn’t get to meet him.
     The museum in Victorville had contract problems with the city some years ago, and the museum moved to Branson, Mo.  I don’t know if Dale was still alive when the museum moved or not.  I think the museum may have gone belly up, because the Roy Rogers web site says the museum is closed.  The information immediately below, is from Wikipedia, with more information available on the Wikipedia link below.
Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye (November 5, 1911 – July 6, 1998), was an American singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain. He and his wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino, Trigger, and his German Shepherd dog, Bullet, were featured in more than 100 movies and The Roy Rogers Show. The show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through 1957. His productions usually featured a sidekick, often either Pat Brady (who drove a Jeep called “Nellybelle”), Andy Devine, or the crotchety George “Gabby” Hayes.

ROY ROGERS AND DALE EVANS IN THEIR YOUNGER DAYS. (CIRCA 1945)

DALE EVANS THE “QUEEN OF THE WEST” AND MY HONEY, “THE GODDESS OF THE DESERT.”
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GRANDMA AND GRANDPA’S TRIP IN MAY 2012 (INDIANA)

PICTURES WE TOOK AT SCOTT AND KATHY’S HOUSE IN GEORGETOWN, INDIANA.

LIVING ROOM

DINING ROOM

SCOTT’S FAVORITE BUZZARDS, HOMER AND JETHRO

VIEW FROM FRONT YARD

Top-POPPA PIA, MAX, and MOMMA MIA
MAX (The big dog) and MOMMA MIA
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ED AND JOYCE’S FAMILY TRIP TO CANCUN MEXICO

Ed and Joyce and the boys traveled to Cancun Mexico and took a boatload of pictures last June-July.   Click on the link to see photos of Mayan pyrimids, action shots of the boys snorkiling, underwater shots, monster lizards, Mayan ruins and other objects of the Mayan culture.  Family trips like this create memories that will last a lifetime.  Enjoy.
SINGLE CLICK TO ENLARGE PICTURES
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MY GRANDFATHER’S AND GRANDMOTHER’S GRAVESITE

My grandmother died when I was 5 years old, and I don’t remember much about her.  I vaguely remember an older women that lived with my grandfather who was bigger horizontally and vertically than he was, but that’s about it.  Grandfather and Grandmother were married in 1897, so they were married for 45 years.  Grandmother was only 17 when they married, but Grandfather was 24.  Hmmmmm.  No comment.

They are buried side by side at Rose Hill memorial Park near Massillon, Ohio, their grave markers are below.

My Grandfather's grave at Rose Hill's Memorial Park.

My Grandmother's grave at Rose Hills Memorial Park.

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