…made me who I am: thinking for myself, appreciating engineering and science but also literature and music, believing that ethics come from within and that we need to treat other people well because we’re all in this together, not because some giant shaking finger in the sky will smite us otherwise. (My father was also, always, a strong, active, supportive church member, even president of the Modesto Council of Churches for some time as lay leader of his church…that’s a different issue. My brother called him a “James Christian.” Some of you will know what that means better than I do.)
…was reliable. If he said he’d do something, he did it.
…was head of a functional family. We grew up knowing we were loved. Not a lot of money (he was always a city employee, back when that meant, well, not getting a lot of money), but lots of what we needed.
…was always intellectually curious, reading, learning, discussing. Was also a woodworker, electrician, civil engineer (by trade), stamp collector, genealogy buff, photographer, and more.
…was married almost 60 years to my mother; then, a year or so after she died (when he was 88 or 89), married a 91-year-old widow in the church and had another first-rate marriage for more than 7 years before she died.
…was a mensch.
…had 97 good years and most of a 98th good year, albeit with more trouble getting around and some other problems. He died in his sleep, apparently without pain.
…was born November 30, 1908; died November 18, 2006; and had his life celebrated yesterday afternoon at First United Methodist Church in Modesto, in a service that he had a large part in designing and would have liked, even if it ran a little long.
No condolences required. He was a good man and a good father. He had a great run. I was reminded yesterday how much he meant to many parts of his community–the church, the Engineer’s Club, Y’s Men and the YMCA and the camp, Camp Jack Hazard, and more. I was reminded in some ways how relatively little I’ve done by comparison.–and, to be sure, how proud he was of what I have done.
If you’re interested, the obituary notice should still be available from the Modesto Bee:
Start here, go to the search box, enter “crawford” (I can’t link directly to the result); the name’s Charles Crawford.