John  Crawford
John Robert Crawford, known to many as "JC" (or "Uncle Wonderful",) was born Sept. 13, 1932, in Teague, Texas. He was the only child of parents Vera Coburn Crawford and Leonard Hayden Crawford. He died peacefully, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 at the age of 87 surrounded by family in his home in Corsicana, Texas.
John moved to Corsicana while in junior high and spent his childhood summers playing with his Coburn cousins at his grandparent's home in Donie, Texas. He was a Troop 243 Eagle Scout at the early age of 15, the youngest ever in Navarro County at the time.
Johnny was one of the most prominent students at Corsicana High School, a leader in sports, academics and clubs, a member of the Corsican yearbook staff, President of both Hi-Y Club and Tiger Club, a member of National Honor Society, and in his senior year elected King of the High School and Best All-Round Boy. Johnny was a star athlete, respected by coaches and teammates, noted for his ability, speed, and spirit, the only 3-year letterman in football, also lettering in basketball, and track, and considered one of the Tiger teams' greatest assets. He served as captain of both the varsity football and track teams.
He accepted a four-year scholarship to play football at SMU and proudly wore No.18, quickly gaining recognition as a promising back for the Ponies. Friend and CHS teammate Duane Nutt joined him on the team a year later. He made many lifelong friends on the SMU squad including his legendary teammates dubbed "The Magnificent Seven:" Don "Wimpy" Cole, Jack "Gunny" Gunlock, Bubba Kelly, Darrell "Mix" Lafitte, Lou "Babe" Miller, Dale "Frog" Moore, and Ron Case. He was a member of the ROTC, honored with the distinguished AFROTC student award.
In his freshman year, he met Gayle Neeley, a tall, athletic beauty attending Highland Park High School, who later joined him at SMU and became the love of his life. Within several days of graduating from SMU with a BBA, John married Gayle in 1954. He joined the USAF and moved onto Perrin Air Force Base where their first born, Hayden, was delivered during a tornado, saddling him with the nickname "Stormy" for years. Their second son, Russell, was born on base a year later.
John returned to Corsicana after his USAF service and began work as a salesman for William "Bill" Robinson & Company, Investment Planning and Associates. Both daughters, Amy and Eve were born during that time. Tragically, their 6-year-old son Russell lost his battle with Leukemia shortly thereafter.
John is well known for his 57 years at the famous Collin Street Bakery, where he worked alongside friend, business partner, and bakery president LW "Bill" McNutt, and later with Bill's son, Robert "Bob" Pritchett McNutt, who succeeded him. He enjoyed good times together with the bakery team of Bob Rutherford, Buddy Shaw, J. Dave Walker, Maurice Pollock, Tom Curtis and Jerry Grimmett, shipping millions of cakes to all 50 states and 196 countries around the world. And, his "famous" cookie coupons, handed out freely to children and adults alike, were always delivered with a smile.
Outside of work, he was an avid sportsman playing tennis, racket ball, handball, and golf. He was an excellent golfer, winning the Corsicana Country Club's Tiger Tale Tournament in the 1970s with his good friend, and fellow SMU graduate, Al Kilgore. A notable event, after making a hole-in-one on the ninth Hole, he called it a day, and hung up his clubs for good. During those years, he played weekly tennis matches with close friends Gary Summerall, David Brown, Kevin Keeney, Ronny Willis, Norman Buddy Shaw, Ned Polk, Tommy Herrington and others. Often the wives, Judy, Marty, Carolyn, Gloria, Josephine, Kay, and more, would join them on the courts or at poolside gatherings to celebrate wins and losses and sometimes just sunsets.
John and Gayle enjoyed annual trips to the Caribbean islands, weeks in California, and frequent visits to the Fort Lauderdale home of Josephine and Bill McNutt. They spent many a Friday night having dinner in their back bedroom with friends, Marty and Gary Summerall, pulling up a chair and TV tray. Their days were filled with friends, laughter, fine wine and good food.
John was larger than life, known for his sartorial style with Hawaiian shirts, brightly colored "fancy" pants and crazy socks. A man of unbounded generosity, always smiling and positive, he was a good, solid friend who rarely uttered a bad word about anyone, often slipping away if the conversation turned to gossip. His watchword was, "If you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all."
He was a stickler for grammar and his children often received returned notes or newspaper clippings edited with his ubiquitous red felt pen. Yet, his words of wisdom were remembered by many: "Above all, domestic tranquility;" "NTW - Not to worry"; "LIA - Leave it alone," 'Expect nothing and you'll never be disappointed'; 'Supine by nine'; 'If you get your first serve in, you'll never double fault'; 'Silence can never be misquoted," and "Crabgrass in the lawn of life."
He was a family man, a committed husband of 57 years, a loving dad to his children, and a generous "Pop"to his beloved grandchildren. Quoting from the 1954 Corsican annual staff: "It's hard to find words to describe some people, but to remember Johnny Crawford will always be a joy to his hundreds of friends."
John Crawford was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Gayle and their son, Russell Evans Crawford, and his parents, Vera and Leonard Hayden Crawford.
He leaves behind his son, Hayden Crawford and wife, Jolene, of Corsicana; grandsons Hunter Crawford of Austin and Hill Crawford of Dallas; daughter Amy Crawford Joss and fiance' Bill Gale of Corsicana; and daughter Eve White and husband Chip, and grandson Crawford White of Charlotte, North Carolina; granddaughter Julie Gayle Joss of Corsicana; grandson U.S. Army Staff Sgt. John W. Joss III and wife, Carina, and great-granddaughters Aurelia and Helena, of Colorado Springs, as well as his niece Adrienne Polk Colwill, and nephews, John Polk, Eric Layne and Mike Layne.
John left this handwritten note in his own unique, block lettering on Collin Street Bakery stationery: "In lieu of a service, I request of those interested, to smile and raise a glass or two, in memory of good times had. - JC"
Per his express wishes, there will be no formal service, however a celebration will be announced at a later date. Memorials may be made directly to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, American Cancer Society, or First United Methodist Church of Corsicana.
Published on January 16, 2020


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Showing 10 of 18 posts

Johnny Kent
Jan 20, 2020
Quite a unique man rode once with him in his golden Cadillac. I hope I spelled that right for Vanna's sake. May God forgive me for the late condolence.
Ty Willis
Jan 18, 2020
Johnny Crawford was the best. He once said, “I like people that like me.” That explains why he like so many people. Everybody liked Johnny.
Beverly Bell
Jan 18, 2020
I had thegreat pleasure of know JC and his crazy socks since 1989. He is going to be missed.
Jana Hayes
Jan 18, 2020
Heart felt thoughts and prayers for JC and the Crawford Family. In our hearts JC will live forever. Love you JC from Addison - Always, JZ
Brenda Rash
Jan 18, 2020
Hayden I loved working with your dad. His R&R's and PDQ'S were notorious when I worked in the file dept. years ago. Another great man has gone to his heavenly home. Sending condolences and prayers.
Allison Shafer
Jan 18, 2020
My thoughts and prayers are with all of his family. John was a wonderful, cheerful and funny man. He could always make you smile. He will be missed dearly!
Marian Sheinberg Freeman
Jan 18, 2020
Your Dad and the whole family influenced the first 7 years of my life when I lived next door and helped shape who I am today. I have beautiful memories of that part of my life and will be forever grateful. Sleep with the angels JC. Much love to you all.
Joseph Tomasello
Jan 18, 2020
Heartfelt sympathy Amy you were always at your father’s side and loved him like you loved to smile. To John & Julie take care of your mother, I remember you both fondly. Prayers for all of you.
Gary & Sheila Poe
Jan 17, 2020
We are sorry to hear about your dad.
Jordan Allen
Jan 17, 2020
John was always very supportive of my brother and his ventures in Racquetball. The Crawford family even gave me a job at one of the bakeries, while I was in college. Very supportive and kind family! Sending the Crawford Family our sincere condolences. Praying for you. God Bless
Debra & Steve Schneider
Jan 17, 2020
AMY...and to all of your family....John was a special person, he was an inspiration to many, his compassion and kindness to others for his community was one of his greatest traits and was reflected by his family. Our sincere thoughts and prayers to all of you...