Harold Reid Crawford, part of "America's Greatest Generation", passed away after 95 years on May 27, 2020, concluding a long and rewarding life. He was born on a family farm in Clinton, Pennsylvania on February 9, 1925.
Harold was raised in the farming communities of Clinton and Beaver, Pennsylvania during The Great Depression and graduated from Beaver High School in 1943. He enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18, just a few days after his high school graduation. He was assigned to an amphibious assault ship, Landing Ship Tank (LST) 555 during the war, serving in the Pacific theatre.
He returned to Beaver in March of 1946, and then attended Tarkio College in Missouri. It was at Tarkio where he met his future wife, Rachel McGowan, and they were married on June 5, 1948. At the time of Harold's death, he and Rachel had celebrated almost 72 years of marriage. Throughout their life together, Harold and Rachel were a team, supporting each other with love and respect in all that they did.
Harold enrolled at Iowa State University as a transfer student in the fall of 1948. After graduating from ISU with a degree in Agriculture Education in 1950, Harold taught high school vocational agriculture classes in Story City and Sac City, Iowa. He earned a master's degree from ISU while teaching in Story City (1955) and returned to ISU in 1965 to teach in the Ag. Ed. Department. He earned his Ph.D. in Ag. Education in 1969 from ISU and served as department head for a number of years. Dr. Crawford taught countless students over his 15 years as a high school teacher as well as his 42 years teaching at ISU. In 1969 he was named Professor of the Year by students in the College of Agriculture.
Harold served as Associate and Assistant Dean and Director of International Agriculture programs in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Iowa State. He helped establish the College of Agriculture's off-campus bachelor's degree program and oversaw the college's (and Iowa's) first satellite class. He was instrumental in setting up cooperative programs with the University of Costa Rica and establishing student exchange programs in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Ukraine. Additionally, he spent countless hours coordinating Ag. Ed. efforts with African-American and Tribal (Native American) colleges. Harold had an office on Iowa State's campus even after retiring in 2007 and enjoyed teaching so much that it's been said he retired three different times.
Iowa State's Ag. Ed. Department celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, with Harold serving for more than 50 of those years. At that time, the Harold and Rachel Crawford Agricultural Teacher Education Complex was named to honor them in Curtiss Hall. His legacy and passion for teaching will live on in these classrooms.
Dr. Crawford remained dedicated and passionate about teaching throughout his life. He received numerous awards over the years, including Outstanding International Service Award, Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service to Iowa State, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award, and was named one of the Nation's Top 10 Leaders in Agriculture Education throughout the history of Ag. Ed. He was named Outstanding Agricultural Teacher/Educator in the United States in 1992, and received many other awards and honors over his years of teaching.
A 55-year member of Northminster Presbyterian Church, Crawford served in multiple leadership roles within the church, including Elder and Deacon. Serving the Lord through church service gave him incredible joy, as did his love of singing various beloved hymns. He will be remembered fondly in the halls of Green Hills' skilled nursing care, still singing.
Harold is survived by his wife Rachel; sons Reid Crawford of Washington D.C., Bob (Ruth) Crawford of Ames, and David (Carolyn) Crawford of Dallas. He is also survived by 4 grandchildren Matt (Katie) Crawford and Drew (Abbey) Crawford of Ames, Jason (Shelly) Crawford of Columbus, OH and Megan (John David) Scozzaro of Dallas as well as 8 great-grandchildren, with two more on the way. Harold was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Mary Crawford, his sisters Robertine Johnson and Lois Anderson, his grandson Joel Marshall Crawford and great-grandson Kade Garrett Crawford.
Perhaps no motto was more important to Harold's philosophy and passion for teaching than this: "To teach is to serve. To serve is to give. To give is to live." He will be remembered as an effective and innovative educator, a teacher of teachers. Harold depended on his faith in God while making major decisions in his life, as well as the support of family and friends. He valued life, greeted it with joy and a positive attitude and knew no stranger.
A celebration of Harold's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, any memorial gifts may be directed to Northminster Presbyterian Church or the Iowa State University Foundation.
Online condolences may be directed to: www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com
It is thanks to Dr. Crawford that I have a Master of Agricultute degree. Because he started the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program while I was working on Master's degree, I was able to take courses in statistics, animal science, horticulture, agronomy, plant pathology, agricultural engineering, agricultural economics, agricultural law, and some areas that I have probably forgotten. At the time, I was hoping to get a position with ISU Extension, but every course that I took helped me with my position in public health, my farm, or my passion for horticulture. The research that I did to finish my degree benefited both the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Sadly, neither of these programs exists today. I owe a great deal to Dr. Crawford. May he rest in peace.
To the Family of Dr. Harold Reid Crawford:
I do not know why I came across this site tonight. However, I would like you to know that I met this fine gentleman in Curtiss Hall in 1978 where I arrived as a brand new faculty member in the College of Education. He moved down the hall straight toward me, knowing I was new. He introduced himself just as you say "with joy and a positive attitude and knew no strangers." He definitely made me feel welcome. I am happy to have know him and son Reid Crawford. Later the latter became a student of mine in Multicultural Education. May this professional giant rest in peace after many jobs well done.
Virginia Correa Jones Creager, PhD
Litchfield Park, AZ
To Rachel and family…. As I was organizing memories for my personal history, I ran across a very special note from Dr. Crawford in response to a Christmas note I sent him many years ago. It was attached to a clipping from when he received an Outstanding Teacher Award in 1978. I then looked on the internet where I was sorry to see that he recently passed away. What a wonderful man! I was his secretary in Agricultural Education from 1973-1977. He was so very patient with me as I was only 20 years old when hired and soon was planning a wedding. I only left him when my daughter was born. He taught me so much and was such an encourager…had such a ready smile…so much energy…a true inspiration...loved his family. What a gift it was for me to have worked with him. My sincerest sympathy to you all. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Jean Hoyt (Kennewick, Washington)
To Rachel and family: Harold will be remembered and missed by so many. We will keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers.
Emmett and Mary Stevermer
To Rachel, Reid, and the whole Crawford Family: I saw Harold briefly a few weeks ago at Green Hills, just before everything closed up for the pandemic. I wish I could have talked to him longer. He was a role model for so many aspiring students. I credit him with re-sparking my interest and love for Central and South America and for his inspiration to work with tribal communities. Please know that he positively impacted hundreds--perhaps thousands--of students at ISU and elsewhere. His love of life and positive approach to everyone he met was an inspiration. Thank you for sharing him with us. My warm condolences to you all on the loss of your husband, father, and grandfather. He will be missed. Jim Pease, Ames
My condolences to Dave and all of the Crawford family. I went to school with Dave from Fellows Elementary through Iowa State. Dave, seeing your parents at Green Hills in recent years, I had several opportunities to talk with them and they were so proud of you, your family, and all you've done. What an accomplished guy and dedicated family man your father was! I will miss seeing him at Green Hills.
Patti Freeman Works, AHS 76, ISU 80
Reid and all the Crawford Family,
I had just a few contacts with your father from FarmHouse days. My recollection is just as all of you have described--so talented, astute, positive, of good cheer, so interested in and supportive of the success of others. He made wonderful contributions to the success of FarmHouse as Reid has continued to do. My sincere thanks to the Crawford guys. Tom Wenstrand. FarmHouse '67; ISU '70
Our condolences to the family. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Ralph and Teresa Rosenberg
At an early stage of my life, Harold was a very important person who helped me. I met him when I was a State President and National Officer of Future Farmers of America. Our relationship continued while I was at Iowa State. Harold was always supportive and encouraging and motivated me to get my PhD in Economics. That was one of the most important decisions that I made in my early life. It has been an important part of my professional career but more importantly helped me develop a framework of thinking to help analyze difficult problems in my practice of law and life.
My sympathies to your family.
Steve and Kathy Zumbach
Dear Bob and family: I was so sorry to read about the passing of your father. I remember you talking fondly about him on many occasion. I hope this message finds you well, as I have lost track of you since out good old days at Lincoln High School. You were the best science teacher, take care, Debbie Stetson/Urbandale,Ia
I have very fond memories of Dr. Crawford. His office was in the Brenton Center suite, so we all got to see him every day at work for many years. What a joyful person he was - always smiling and offering bits of humor and wisdom. He was such a strong advocate for life-long learning, and his enthusiasm made everyone around him want to strive for more. I will always be thankful to him for encouraging me to go to graduate school, which had a big impact on my life. To Rachel and the Crawford family, I wish you peace during this difficult time.
So many memories run through my mind as I remember the Crawford family. Many have roots in the PC church during the days of mission support and Harold's promotion and dedication to mission. It was always fun to see the family at the Iowa Stater on Sundays, too. Sending sympathy and prayers to Rachel, especially, and the rest of your family as you grieve and celebrate the long life of this wonderful man.
I was an agricultural education major at Iowa State when Dr. Crawford came in 1965. He supervised me when I student taught at Colo that fall. I started my teaching career at Dexfield on December 1, 1965 and he visited me there during my first year. He invited me to campus over the next three years to talk with some of his classes. It was probably due to his efforts that I was able to have student teachers during my four years at Dexfield.
Over the next four years, while teaching and working on my Masters, one spring he taught an off-campus class in Williamsburg and I drove to Des Moines each week and then rode with him. We shared many things during the drive and over the evening meal and became very close. He remained my mentor and friend over the following years. Whenever I had opportunities to change jobs, I consulted with him first because he knew my long-term goals and I respected his advice.
My wife Karen and I were able to spend some time with him in his office at ISU when he was doing International Work. A few years later, we were fortunate to be invited to his ISU retirement recognition organized by the University President's Office in 2007.
He was a great teacher, mentor and friend. Besides my wife and parents, he and my high-school agriculture teacher were the most influential people in my life.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rachel and family.
Dr. Marvin R. Hoskey, Professor Emeritus
Northwest Missouri State University
I was a quiet farm lad from Nemaha (A Mighty Small Town) when I was introduced to Harold at the Sac County Fair. For several years I competed with my pigs each August and each year was encouraged by Harold who served as the hog show superintendent. I'll never forget his tireless energy and smiles that later in life I realized enriched thousands of lives. By luck along with the support of my father and mother, I finally captured the grand champion pen of three and market hog my junior year at the Sac County Fair. And Harold was there to cheer me on!
We both left Sac County in 1965 for ISU. Later in life Nancy and I booked an ISU Alaska Cruise/Tour and low and behold when we arrived Rachel and Harold were part of our 10 day excursion. What a fun couple to share this adventure!
I would echo Neil Staldman's comment that Harold always exhibited the "get-er-done" attitude in whatever he touched in life-be that family, church, or community.
Our family's prayers are extended to Rachel, Reid, Bob, and David. Rest in peace Harold- life well lived.
Michael Davis, DVM
Within the last several months, I wrote a letter to Harold Crawford to express my gratitude for his guidance and inspiration. I first met him while working on a USAID funded project engaging foreign graduate students in a project around 1972 called Extended Civic Participation with local business and elected officials. That collaboration showed me how agricultural education principles could be applied to enriching the practical learning by foreign students in the U.S. As we explored these concepts, Dr. Crawford motivated me by saying that if I would work hard and apply Ag Ed principles to my work in international educational exchange, he would guide me to complete a Ph.D. With one quarter exception to finish my thesis, I worked full time on Gene Clubine's team and took one or two classes per term. I had seen how Gene Clubine's decision to not complete a Ph.D. created roadblocks to his advancement despite his immense creativity and skill. My research at I.S.U. opened doors for me as a Fulbright researcher and as a leader in international educational exchange. I hope he and Rachel had a chance to read my last letter and to know how much I appreciated their friendship and guidance. Rest in peace, Dr. Crawford, and thanks a million. Your photo appears at the end of my thesis in the ISU library as a testimony to my appreciation to you.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Dr Crawford was a tremendous teacher advisor I am proud to have called one of my mentor. My prayers to his family. He was a very special man.
The Crawford’s and Stadlman’s have had a long relationship history. It started with my father who was then president of the Sac City School Board and helped to hire Dr. Crawford to become the local voc-ag teacher. In those days, the voc-ag teacher was almost equal to the school superintendent. Under his leadership, the Sac City voc-ag department and FFA chapter rose to prominence in the state. From those small-town experiences, his teaching and influence grew exponentially over the years. It was a unique honor for me to have Dr. Crawford not only as my high school voc-ag teacher, but my advisor at Iowa State and my leading professor for my master’s degree. My late brother, Evan, was also able to have similar experiences and influences. We learned from him that creativity and innovation are as important as knowledge. While his passion was about teaching others on how to teach agriculture, the principals and methods he modeled could be applied to any subject. Amidst his many honors and accolades, he simply wanted to teach. Afterall, learning is a lifelong experience and he would want us all to teach to our fullest potential.
Long before ‘get-er-done’ and ‘just do it’ became national catchphrases, he instilled those behaviors into his students and those around him. With his smile and quick fist pump, you knew that you had done well. While his footsteps will never be filled, they will be long followed. Our sympathies to the entire Crawford Family.
Neil and Nancy Stadlman
Dear Rachel and family.
We are saddened to learn of Harold's passing. The world has lost a wonderful man and a profoundly talented and passionate educator. He was one of the marshalls who officiated at my PhD hooding. I shall never forget his genuine smile and brief but impactful words of encouragement. He changed and enriched lives with talent, hard work and knowledge, buy his true success was entrenched in impeccable values reflective of faith in God, his joyful passion for serving, and his genuine love for fellow human beings. We are proud and humbled to have known him as a colleague and friend. Last but not least, the joy of sitting behind Rachel and Harold and their sons and now grandsons at ISU men's basketball games for almost 50 years brings smiles to our faces. Harold, even in later years, was the one cheering loudest and proudest and would glance at Rachel with a twinkle in his eye when someone stopped to visit with them....there were many. Life well lived good and faithful servant.
Prayers and caring thoughts are with you today.
Godspeed, Lorraine and Peter Hoffman
Harold's interest and actions supporting links to Costa Rica led to significant opportunities for students and faculty at Iowa State. He enthusiastically supported me and other faculty who developed research and exchange activities there. He was one of the great supporters of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its international outreach activities.
Eric Abbott, Professor Emeritus
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University
Reid - My sympathy on your father's death. While at ISU my dad died, and I deeply appreciated your kind, thoughtful words at that time. No matter our age, their age, of the circumstances, losing a parent is hard, and my thoughts are with you... Hope things are going well otherwise. Take care - Paula Dail
It was with deep sadness that I just learned of Harold's death. Harold was by far the most important and most influential teacher I ever had. In 1961 he saved me from a year of taking shop and introduced me to the world of farming, business, debate, parliamentary procedure, public speaking, leadership, and a lot more that I cannot even begin to remember. Were it not for Harold, I would never have been motivated to become a lawyer and move from Iowa to Washington DC for my entire adult life. (Don't blame him for my being a lawyer, he just laid the groundwork). We left Sac City the same year to go to Ames. I had seen him often since then. Obviously he stayed to be one of the most prominent and influential educators that ISU has had. 'The bottom line is I owe my career and my adult life to the start that he gave me. I never properly thanked him, but I think he knew. There are many of us who will miss him. My sincere condolences to Rachel, Reid, Bob, and David. Gene Lange
I was fortunate to have Dr. Crawford as my professor in several undergraduate and graduate Agricultural Education classes at ISU. There is no doubt that any success I had as an Agriculture Education high school teacher and University Ag Education professor was greatly influenced by Dr. Crawford’s creativity, energy and enthusiasm, and his love and respect for each student. When I returned to Iowa State for my PhD in Ag Education he was my major professor. I was thankful for the opportunity to learn from one of “The BEST”. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Crawford family at this time of loss. I’m confident Dr. Crawford would want us all to celebrate his long and productive life.
Thank you Dr. Crawford for the “mentoring”!
Doug and Diana Pals
Dr. Crawford's enthusiasm for international agricultural and extension education and his seemingly boundless energy for such work made a lasting impression on us in the mid-1990s. I learned much from Dr. Crawford. I'm thankful for the opportunities provided through his international programs. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon Dr. Crawford.
I have so many memories, I don't even know where to begin. Dr. Crawford and Dr.Briers were recruiting at Starmont High School one day. Dr. Crawford said, "So I hear you like to talk and tell people what to do, you should be an Ag Teacher." That's all it took. I have the highest respect for this man. He dedicated his life to making the best better, and making the mediocre great. I am caught saying that high school ag is not just "Sows, plows, and hay mows", or maybe another favorite, "A good teacher doesn't just blow in, blow out, and blow off, they nurture and direct". One day right before class I noticed that Dr. Crawford's tie was a bit off to one side. I grabbed his tie, straightened it, and said you have to look your best Dr. Crawford when you are teaching. That day became something that I did all the way up to his retirement. He would give me that little smurk, and say, well how do I look. It's hard to put into words how lucky we were to have Dr. Crawford and company mold us into Agriculture Teachers. I will always cherish that, and also the times I sat around the table in recent years at the Advising Academy, and listened to Dr. Crawford's wisdom. When I received the college advising award, the first person I thought of was Dr. Crawford...this is a big deal, Dr. Crawford earned this award. I also had the opportunity to work with Tribal Community Colleges with Dr. Crawford and Paula. What a passion he had for those colleges and people. Rest in Peace Dr. Crawford. You have been an inspiration and a mentor. Your service in done on Earth, now for your Heavenly deeds. Until we meet again. Barb Streicher Clawson
I had Mr. Crawford in Ag as a Freshman at Sac Community High School. I then attended Iowa State University majoring in Agricultural Education. I taught high school Ag for 30 years. I also worked for Iowa State University Extension for 13 years.
He was a great teacher and person.
Thoughts and prayers are with the family.
Everyone who was "lucky" enough to have Dr. Crawford knows that teaching is a passion that never goes away! RIP Dr. Crawford - I was one of the lucky ones! You touched a million lives in a million ways!
I had Mr. Crawford my freshman year in high school at Sac City. I then attended Iowa State majoring in Ag Education. I taught high school Ag for 30 years and worked for Iow state University Extension for for 13 years. I still work in the Ag industry.
He was a great person and teacher.
I was fortunate to be one of HRC’s student workers while I was student at Iowa State. He became so much more than a boss to me. He was a mentor and dear friend. I am so sorry for your loss Crawford family. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Holly Kasperbauer
He used to come to our house occasionally to meet with our dad. Have ways loved time with him. Dr. Crawford enriched the lives of so many.
I am fortunate to be a long-time friend of Mr. Crawford’s youngest son, Dave. My earliest memories of Mr. Crawford were from Sunday school at Northminster Presbyterian when he was a volunteer teacher. I don’t remember much from those days, but I do remember Mr. Crawford’s positive presence and how he exuded goodness and a strong faith. A knowing smile and a hearty laugh were always close by when Mr. Crawford was involved. My condolences to Rachel and the entire Crawford family. I will also add that the apple did not fall far from the tree in Dave and, I am sure, his older brothers. Blessings to all.
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