— The funeral service for Jesse Wilson Crawford, 95, of Longview, will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at Rader Funeral Home Chapel in Longview with the Rev. Randy Warren and the Rev. J. George Morrison officiating. Burial will follow in Rosewood Park Cemetery. The family will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at Rader Funeral Home.
Mr. Crawford peacefully passed away Thursday, March 13, 2014 in his home.
“J.W.” was born in 1919 in Palestine, Texas to Jesse Elmer and Janie Elvira Pate Crawford. He graduated from Palestine High School in 1936. He moved to Houston in 1942 and in 1947 met and fell instantly in love with Viola Robison. They married Dec. 20, 1947, and together raised two children. They were married 52 years.
Mr. Crawford was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; and his sister, Georgia Manley, of Lafayette, La.
He is survived by his son. Chris Reagan Crawford and wife Susan of Longview; his daughter, Tina Gay Crawford of Longview; and his grandson, Jesse Lee Crawford of Dallas. Also surviving him are his brother-in-law, Earl Manley Sr.; nephews, Earl Manley Jr. and wife Dee, and Randy Manley, all of Lafayette, La.; and niece. Joy Bussey and husband Brad, of League City; and four great-nieces and one great nephew.
A hard worker from his youth, J.W. began working at age 12 as a newspaper boy. For 19 years he worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad. He moved to Longview in 1956 to work for Garrett Oil Tools, which became Axelson and USI. Later J.W. worked for General Dynamics, Kilgore College, was Computer Operations Manager for Wiley College and finally retired in 1985 after 14 years with Bankers’ Computer Service. His field was data processing and computers, and he was one of the early proponents of using computers as part of the manufacturing system in the East Texas oil field.
J.W. loved to travel and as a youth regularly rode his bicycle between Palestine and Jacksonville. In 1935, at the age of 16, he and a friend undertook a 550-mile nine day bicycle trip from Palestine to Galveston to Port Arthur and back to Palestine, with six of those days spent peddling their one-speed bicycles. They returned sunburned and with a nickel between them.
In addition to his family, J.W.’s big love was Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which he rode for years, beginning at age 15. He had a total of three Harleys and collected H-D memorabilia all his adult life.
He was involved with the Gregg County ARC and served on the board for several years. Mr. Crawford was also a past president of the East Texas chapter of the Data Processing Managers Association. He was a member of First Methodist Church of Longview.
Though he would tell people he was “born to be wild,” he was a gentle person with a big smile for everyone. He loved animals and children, motorcycles, and in his later years, watching NASCAR, the Cowboys and the Texas Rangers.
He will be greatly missed by his family and all who knew him.
Pallbearers are Early Manley Jr., Wayne Efurd, Lavester Bryant, Jim Harper, Jay Bissell and Justin Kniffen. Honorary pallbearers are Earl Manley Sr., and Randy Manley.
Memorials may be made to The ARC of Gregg County, P.O. Box 522, Longview, Texas 75606.