Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My mother and father separated when I was in third grade, and eventually divorced. Momma and Daddy remained close and cordial friends. Never was a harsh word passed between them that my brothers and I knew about. I have been close to Daddy all my life and am extremely thankful for all his wonderful and continuing influences on my life.

When I was in sixth grade, my mother remarried, and Jim Crawford become my step-dad. They were married for 23+ years. Although they divorced in 1993, in his mind and mine, Jim Crawford remained "my step-dad."
For 42 or 43 years, he has been "Big Jim" to me.


Funeral services for James William (Jim) Crawford, 70, of Monroe, LA will be held at 10:00 AM Friday, May 14, 2010 in the chapel of Mulhearn Funeral Home on Sterlington Road, in Monroe with Eddie L. Simmons and Dr. Harry Boyd, Jr. officiating. Interment will follow at Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Big Jim left this world for the next May 10, 2010. He was born October 11, 1939 in Monroe, LA. He graduated from Northeast Louisiana State College in Accounting in 1963. He was a Certified Public Accountant and practiced in Monroe since 1972. He was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants, as well as the Northeast Monroe Rotary Club, the Lotus Club, Northminster Church, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and the American Sailing Association. He was an avid supporter and Treasurer of Med Camps of Louisiana.

Survivors include his sister, Carol Ann Guilbert; daughter, Catherine Ann Crawford Palmer, her husband Dave, and their daughter (Jim's grand daughter) Dianne; son, James William Crawford, Jr. and his daughter (Big Jim's grand daughter) Marley Catherine; three much loved step-sons, Harry, Keith (Whitey), and Ben Boyd and their families, including five grand children, Sara, Benjamin, Jonathon, Bethany, and Audra ; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM Thursday, May 13, 2010 at Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road, Monroe.

Last Friday evening I was able to stand by Jim's bedside at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In some of the last conscious hours of his life I was able to thank Jim for all he meant to me and had given me in this life.

Jim nurtured what I believe is an innate love of the outdoors in me. We spent day after day, hour after hour, hunting and fishing together from south Louisiana all the way north to Alaska.

He taught me courage by his example. When I was a kid, we hunted at George Franklin's club in Morehouse Parish. Up on the north end of Franklin's, to hunt a certain section of woods one had to traverse a pipe thirty feet or so across an irrigation ditch. Jim would traipse across that pipe like there was nothing to it, often stopping in the middle and dancing a little Irish jig. It always scared me half to death to cross, but Jim's example always got me to the other side. And not just the other side of that ditch, but the other side of many scary things in life.

He helped me receive my education. Not only did he pitch in toward tuition and books fees, he helped me find several part time jobs to put spending money in my pocket. He got me a job working on a surveying crew with his father, J.C. Crawford when I was in High School, and with his uncle James (Gus) McCoy when I was in college. He encouraged me to ask his friend Richard East for a job making Apache climbing deer stands after classes during college. He probably twisted Billy Golson's arm to get me a job driving a propane truck and installing cellulose insulation in houses. I even worked part time for Jim at the CPA office my last few semesters of undergrad work.

In a strange sort of way, Jim's thinking was often remarkably clear. He had an ability to instantly analyze a situation, evaluate options, and formulate planned solutions. Maybe that's part of what made him an excellent tax adviser as a CPA.

When I first sensed God's call to ministry on my life, it was Jim who sat down with me and helped me think it through. It was Jim who suggested that if I could do nothing else and be happy, then go be a preacher. But be the best preacher I could possibly be. When I wanted to ask Tami to be my wife, it was Jim who tried to talk with me about being the kind of man a woman might need.

Jim was generous to a fault. You didn't have to ask Jim to give, just somehow let him know there was a need. I'll never forget him stocking the refrigerator and pantry in our tiny seminary apartment with a carload of groceries.

Jim shared his shocking and outrageous sense of humor with everyone he met. He was my source for Cajun jokes. Just a few months ago he roared with laughter at the story of Boudreaux, Thibodeaux, the little Cajun genie and the Bic lighter. With his willingness to go to absurd extremes in practical jokes, his humor has become legendary in northeast Louisiana. Almost everyone who knows Jim has some story to tell. He's the funniest person I ever met and likely ever will.

Last Friday I told him I'd miss him. And I will. He replied, "Harry, you remember Methuselah from the Bible? The Bible says Methuselah lived 969 years, and "after that, he died." We all die. I'm going to see my mother and father and brother, and my grandmother. For me, all of life has been an adventure. And now I'm going on the greatest adventure of all. I'm going to see Jesus."

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