William ‘Bill’ Dean Crawford
July 26, 1928 — Jan. 1, 2016
Bill Crawford graduated into eternal life on the first day of 2017 in Modesto, at the age of 88.
He was born to Robert and Laura Crawford of Lead, South Dakota, on July 26, 1928. Bill graduated from Lead High School in the spring of 1946 and entered into the Army Air Corps in the fall of that same year. He proudly served his country for three years, stationed as a draftsman in Japan and the Philippines.
Upon return from his service in the Army, he married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Haedt. A lifelong lover of learning, Bill graduated from Black Hills Teacher College in 1953, after which he taught music in Lead, Nisland and Bowdle, South Dakota. He graduated with a Masters in Education from Adams State College in 1956.
In 1955, Bill accepted the position of music teacher for both Summerville Elementary and High
School, and moved his young family to Tuolumne. In his 39 years of teaching in Tuolumne, he taught music for 29 years, wood shop, auto shop, drafting, and continuation school in addition to numerous other subjects. Through his work as an educator he made countless life-long friends in co-workers and students and they provided him with much laughter over the many memories they made together.
A man of many talents and interests, Bill enjoyed model airplanes, woodworking, bicycling, and dune buggies. Making dune buggies with students led to countless ‘Ding Flings’ and camping trips with the ‘buggies’ in the Sierra and across the nation — something the Eagle Scout loved.
Known by many as Mr. Crawford or Papa Bill, he will be greatly missed by those who knew him.
Bill was preceded in death by Joyce, his wife of 60 years; a brother and a sister.
Left to cherish his memory are his brother, Richard Crawford, Spearfish, South Dakota; children, Mike (Linda) Crawford, Modesto, Syd (Chris) Reyes, Salida, and Cristie Crawford, also of Modesto; two grandchildren, Annie (Jacques) Daniel, Rapid City, South Dakota and Bill (Lindsay) Reyes, Canyon, Texas; and seven great grandchildren.
Services will be at 3 p.m. Jan. 7, 2017, at Ripon Grace Brethren Church in Ripon with a reception to follow. Graveside service is at Carter’s Cemetery in Tuolumne at 1 p.m. Jan. 14, 2017 with a reception following at Tuolumne Community Baptist Church, Tuolumne.
In lieu of flowers, please send remembrances to Ripon Grace Brethren Church or Gideon’s International.