Robert Louis “Louie” Crawford 93, of Mattoon, Illinois, passed away Wednesday, October 27, 2021 in the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Care Center in Mattoon, Illinois. He was born September 28, 1928 in Etna, Illinois the son of John L and Helen Opal (Selby) Crawford. Robert married Lola Evelyn Lawrence August 21, 1953 in Mattoon, Illinois. Mrs Crawford passed away November 23, 2018. Louie worked with the Illinois Central Railroad, Meadow Gold Milk Company, Mattoon Garment Factory and also was a self employed Carpenter. He is survived by his sons, Kelly Crawford (Kathy) of Mattoon, Illinois and Randy Crawford (Joanna) of Henderson, Nevada; grandchildren, Kacy Crawford (Eric Janes) of Denver, Colorado, Abigail Crawford of Henderson, Nevada and Charlotte Crawford of Henderson, Nevada; great grandchild, Ziggy Crawford Janes. Mr. Crawford was preceded in death by, his parents; wife, Lola Crawford; brother, Charles Crawford; sisters, Violet Crawford and Blanche O’Donnell.
The family would like to thank the all the staff at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Care the care they gave Louie. Memorials are suggested to the Patient Access Network for Specialty Drugs at 805 15th St., NW Suite 500 Washington DC 20005 or Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Care Center.
As per Louie’s wishes Cremation Rites will be accorded and a Graveside Service will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday October 30, 2021 in the Zion Hill Cemetery in Paradise Township.
It is requested that CDC and IDPH guidelines in regard to COVID-19 (masks and social distancing) be followed at the service.
The Swengel - O’Dell Funeral Home of Neoga, Illinois is assisting with arrangements.
To express online condolences go to www.swengel-odell.com.
Robert Louis ‘Louie’ Crawford
Born September 28, 1928
Died October 27, 2021
93 years old
Louie Crawford was a kind, gentle, loving man. He had a 65 year love affair with the woman of his dreams, ‘Halfpint’, Lola Lawrence, who, I’m told, would whistle at him as he walked to school in Neoga. Once they met, that was it. He was the man of her dreams as well. They were happy just being together.
Those of you that knew Louie for any length of time would have heard him talk of his Uncle Jim.
Jim Crawford was a hard worker. He worked long hours on the railroad in Etna to make pennies a week. He was a record holder in the number of ears of corn shucked in a day. He walked along the railroad tracks from Etna to Mattoon and back on his day off to play a little pool, maybe have a beer or two. He was a fisherman, and a trapper, and a hard knocks teacher, and he was able to keep his family fed during some very lean years, including the Great Depression. Jim was a bachelor, but he took care of Louie and his brother Charlie, sisters Blanche and Violet, and his brother John and wife Helen with little regard for himself. His brother John, Louie’s father, was also a very hard worker, but had been badly injured and partially paralyzed in an accident while working on the railroad. He was unable, through no fault of his own, to continue to work to support his family of five; so Jim stepped up. That’s the kind of man he was. Jim taught Louie and Charlie how to hunt and fish and hammer a nail, and work hard and raise food in the garden. He taught them how to be good men.
Louie loved hunting and fishing with Charlie, and their bond as brothers was airtight, due in large part to the influence of Jim Crawford. He taught by example.
Whenever a friends’ family needed anything, Uncle Jim was there for them. He dug a lot of the graves in this very cemetery, and he never charged a dime.
Jim was struck down by bone cancer in 1954. It was a long term illness, and Louie was at his bedside every day. It was a very sad time, and although Louie had married the woman of his dreams the year previous, and was a father to be, he never missed a day at the bedside of his beloved uncle. It was a very difficult time.
His Uncle Jim passed away on September 8th of that year, and is buried just a few feet from this spot, near those same family members, save Charlie and Blanche.
On what would have been Jim’s 77th birthday, Lola gave birth to their first baby, Kelly. It was a joyful day for a young family going through such a sad time. Louie taught Kelly in much the same way his Uncle Jim had taught him. And he told stories. He told him about Uncle Jim.
Louie followed in Jim’s footsteps, working double shifts at Meadow Gold hauling and loading fifty-gallon milk jugs onto trucks. When he wasn’t working, he loved sailing and fishing on Lake Paradise. He would set up his fishing rod in the boat, and fall asleep until a fish struck his bait.
A few years later, Louie and Lola had another son, Randy. Louie taught him all the same things he had taught Kelly. In the words of Louie’s nephew Larry, he could ‘teach without preach’. By this time he worked for himself as a carpenter, and was a man of many talents. He was a craftsman, skilled in woodworking, painting, and commercial artistry. He instilled a love of music in both of his sons. He would often sing in a deep voice reminiscent of Bing Crosby and Perry ‘Creamy’ (Como). He played 78s of the Hot House Five, Dean Martin, Tommy Dorsey and the Mills Brothers. He’d sing,
“Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we'll travel along singing a song
Side by side
Would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams him in a jar?
Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy….”
Together, Lola and Louie never set limits on what their sons could achieve. They always supported them in any endeavor, even hanging their accomplishments on the walls of their kitchen.
Louie’s older brother Charlie was his best friend. When Charlie died prematurely at the age of 62, he was crushed. He lost his best friend in the world.
After Charlie’s death, Louie found solace in his family and his three granddaughters’ activities; softball, basketball, soccer and dance. He also enjoyed spending time telling stories with his good friends at Bly’s donut shop. He mentioned many times that Steve Walk was his best friend since Charlie died.
In December of 2020, his Great grandson Ziggy was born. Ziggy always made him smile, and he was fortunate enough to meet him in April of that year. I’m sure Ziggy will hear some stories about his Great Grandpa, if Grandpa Kelly has anything to do with it.
I told you that to tell you this…
In the last few days, while Louie was reminiscing with Kelly in the hospital, Louie repeated what he had said to his boys many times.
“I sure wish you knew Uncle Jim”
Kelly tried to gather himself, and told Louie, “I think I do know him.”
Louie then smiled, looked up at Kelly, and said “You couldn’t have paid me a better compliment.“
That’s the kind of man Louie Crawford was.
He was the health care provider for his Father, Mother and sister.
And there are a lot of people much better off for having known this kind, gentle and loving man.
Rest In Peace, Husband, Dad, Grandpa, and Great Grandpa. We all love you forever.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of ROBERT "LOUIE" LOUIS CRAWFORD, please visit our floral store.
Patient Access Network for Specialty Drugs
805 15th St., NW Suite 500, Washington DC 20005
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Care Center.
1000 Health Center Drive, Mattoon IL 61938