Chester (Chet) Ward Crawford, 89, a kind man, devoted husband and loving father, passed away Thursday, July 21, 2016.
He was born July 20, 1927, in Wichita, Kan., growing up during the Great Depression and World War II. He was forced to quit high school and find work to support his mother in the 1940s and was subsequently drafted at age 18 into the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. Having received an honorable discharge, he returned to Wichita, eventually finding employment at Airco Industrial Gases.
He married Frances (Pat) Casey of Sioux City, Iowa, on Valentine’s Day 1953 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wichita, Kan. There they had four children, moving to a small house in Maize, Kan., just outside of Wichita to raise them. Chet accepted a job transfer to the Airco gas reduction plant in East Alton in 1965 and the entire family resettled from Kansas to Alton. He retired from the then-British Oxygen Company (BOC) in the spring of 1989 after 30 years of service. He survived a near fatal car accident just after World War II, two bouts of cancer and heart bypass surgery, living an additional 29 years. Chet was an avid fisherman, preferring the mountain lakes and streams of Wyoming and Montana, enjoyed pheasant and quail hunting on the plains of western Kansas, loved playing cribbage, rummy and Aggravation (marbles) with the neighbors and was a voracious and avid reader. He also enjoyed gardening and listening to classical and folk music. He and his wife also enjoyed opening their home to many foreign exchange students and teachers from Germany and Mexico and hosted countless foreign tennis players during the summer. He had a fun-loving and an easygoing personality, a kind and disarming smile and was known for this terrific sense of humor and light-hearted jokes.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Frances; son, David (Margaret) Crawford; daughter, Linda (Byron) Sutton; son, Larry (Isabella) Crawford; son, Joseph (Lisa) Crawford; and five grandchildren, Jennifer, Michael, Alexandra, Trevor and Erin; and four great-grandchildren, Orrin, Sophie, Layla and Harry.
He was preceded in death by a half-brother, Charles Crawford of Oklahoma; half-sister, Nadine Kinney of Kansas; sister, Lorene Morrison of California; infant sister, June and younger brother, Duane Crawford of Wichita, Kan.
Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, 2016, at Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey.
A private family burial will be held at a later date at Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey.
Memorials may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home in Godfrey is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences and guestbook may be found at eliaskallalandschaaf.com.