The Obit For Paul Crawford

Paul Louis Crawford

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 9/15/2009

CRAWFORD, Paul Louis, a former professional baseball player and umpire, gently crossed over home plate on Monday, September 14, following a long illness. The Chesterfield County resident, formerly of Kalamazoo, Mich., was 85.

Paul was born on May 23, 1924, the son of William Crawford and Isabelle Welch Crawford. He grew up on a farm in Kalamazoo County where he was a standout athlete at Mattawan High School.

By his senior year in 1942, Crawford was invited for a tryout for a professional farm club team. Following graduation, he began his baseball career, playing 13 years in the minor leagues, followed by 9 years of umpiring.

Crawford was the catcher and frequent home-run slugger for the Durham Bulls in the Carolina League in the 1940s.

In 1951, he became player/manager for two years for the Elizabeth City Albemarles (a division of the Yankees franchise), leading the team to one of its most successful seasons when it won the Virginia League Championship Series. He also served as a player manager for one season for the Tigers at Lakeland in the Florida State League.

After that, he played for the Norfolk Tars in the Piedmont League and later returned to Norfolk as an umpire for the Tidewater Tides.

After leaving professional baseball in 1964, Crawford went to work for Allied Paper Co. in Kalamazoo, where he later retired. For years, he umpired college, high school and summer recreation baseball in the Kalamazoo area. Crawford also was an avid golfer, dog lover and collector of old Western movies.

Preceding him in death was wife, Gwen Lapekas Crawford of Decatur, Mich.; son, Paul Clark Crawford of Roswell, New Mexico; four brothers and two sisters.

He is survived by two sisters, Maxine Hess and Irene Milley, both of Kalamazoo; two daughters, Laura Crawford of Hampton and Paula Squires of Richmond; son-in-law, Dean Squires of Richmond; and two granddaughters, the Rev. Jessica D. Squires of Newport News and Kathryn Squires of Long Island, New York; as well as a host of nieces and nephews in Kalamazoo.

A private family memorial service will be held at Hollywood Chapel Mausoleum in Richmond on Wednesday, September 16, with the Rev. Bill Davis officiating. Burial will follow at a later time.

The family will receive friends during a reception at their home in Midlothian on Wednesday, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Lucy Corr Foundation, 6800 Lucy Corr Boulevard, Chesterfield, Va. 23832, or The National Parkinson's Foundation at 1501 N.W. 9th Ave./ Bob Hope Rd., Miami, Fla. 33136.