Online Obituaries for the Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson & Shelby Township MI Area

William George Crawford

December 04, 1919 - November 26, 2017

Online Obituaries for the Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson & Shelby Township MI Area

WILLIAM (BILL) G. CRAWFORD

Bill was born on December 4, 1919, two weeks after his parents arrived in the United States.  His father, William B. Crawford, was from Glasgow Scotland and his mother, Lilian (Carr) was from London, England.  His father had recently mustered out of the British Army following WWI.  He was their first child.  In the next couple of years he acquired two sisters, Lilian and Olive (Polly). They lived in Detroit and later moved to the Brightmoor neighborhood which is where he was raised.

The house was a small clapboard building which was painted white.  It sat on a double lot.  There were flowering fruit trees and a big garden that his father kept.  Besides raising chickens and rabbits and edible vegetables, there was a grape arbor and lots of flowers.  Bill learned to love gardening from an early age.  Everywhere he lived, flowers grew.  That would include roses and lily of the valley, a plant that he pulled up along the shore of the Rouge River when he was a youngster.  He brought it to his father to identify and it was planted in that garden.  Bill took part of it when he moved away and then shared it with family and friends over the years.  There is a patch of that very plant in his garden in Clawson.  He lived in Clawson for 53 years.

While his father worked throughout the Depression, so did Bill.  From the age of 14 on, he held down a job, doing something or other.  He sold newspapers first.  Later he went to work at A & P, stocking shelves.  He and his best friend, Ben McArt, hitchhiked to Traverse City and picked cherries when he was 16 or 17.  He worked on the line at Chrysler following his high school graduation.  After the war he sold magazines to drug stores around town.  Later, as a sideline, he sold matches, calendars and novelty items to businesses and gas stations in order to make extra money.  For 30 years he worked for Chrysler Defense yet retired from General Dynamics, Land Systems Division. 

Following his graduation from Redford High, he attended Michigan Normal, later known as Eastern Michigan University.  It wasn’t long before World War II started and Bill left there and joined the Coast Guard.  He served throughout the balance of the war, attaining the rank of coxswain.  He served on the Great Lakes on an icebreaker and a buoy tender.  He spent time in Cuba, which he loved, in the Gulf, around Central and South America.  He saw time in the Atlantic and spent a fair amount of time in the Pacific.  At the end of the war with Japan, he was part of a flotilla that he described as going as far as the eye could see.  He often spoke of his time on the Nemesis.

After his return from service, he pursued his education at Wayne State University with the help of the G I Bill.  It was there that he met the great love of his life, Shirley (Crossman) R.N.  They met in Psychology 101 and, according to her, he moved one seat closer to her each day until he was beside her.  He met her after each of her classes, walked her to her next session, and then ran hard across campus to his next lecture.  They eloped to Toledo one weekend, the end of August 1947.  Then it was back to class on Monday. He eventually graduated with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in economics.  He and Shirley were married for 58 years at the time of her death. It was a relationship worthy of note, filled with love and joy and lots of laughter.

In his spare time, Bill was active with the UAW, attending training sessions at Black Lake.  He also spent 25 years helping to nurture and guide the development of Motor City Co-op Credit Union from the front room of the treasurer’s home to a multimillion dollar financial institution.  He served on the board of directors and the credit committee.  He believed that you could always save a little no matter how little you had.  And things were obtainable.  Maybe not right now but, with planning, all was attainable. 

He loved to travel.  Some of his destinations were a bit unusual.  He loved all history, including Native American culture and history.  Waterfalls fascinated him and he went to every one of them in Michigan----and some were a hike.  Christmas and the 4th of July were his favorite holidays, though Halloween ranked up there, too. He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. He loved dogs from the time that he was a young boy.  He was great with kids and spent time getting to know them and what they were interested in.  He loved Scottish and Irish music and the pipes made him stand just a little bit taller.  He had a sweet tooth that sometimes got him into trouble. He positively loved ice cream and rarely turned it down when offered.  And above all else, he loved family, those who were related by blood, those related by marriage and those related by the heart.

Bill was predeceased by his wife, Shirley, his daughter, Jean and both sisters, Lilian McArt and Olive (Polly) Johnson.  He is survived by his daughter, Karen, his granddaughters, Mary Groesbeck Balamucki and Dr. Eva Groesbeck D.V.M as well as great grandsons, Mason and Maddox and grandson-in-law, Neal Balamucki.  He also had special friends Ashleigh Irvan and Matthew Benoit.  Special thanks are offered to his caregivers, Cara Stempky, Teri Carson and Matt Benoit, for their gentle and skillful assistance as well as their support.  Thank you.

Bill passed over on November 26, 2017.  He was 97.             

Funeral Information

A Celebration of Life Service will be planned at a later date.

Donations Link:

Michigan Humane Society

William George Crawford

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I cannot say thank you enough. Your sensitivity, your kindness, and the attention to every detail will always be remembered and cherished.