By D.C. Crawford
"Never play poker with people you don't know."
Just some words of wisdom from my big brother and sole sibling, Jay Crawford, husband, father, grandfather, brother, patriot and family values provider who exited this earthly life April 21, 2019 (Easter Sunday) at age 71 in the high desert city of Ridgecrest, California.
Jay and wife Nancy (children of U.S. Air Force officers) were award winners and long time managers for Ridgecrest's China Lake Naval Weapons Center.
Among Jay's activities (in addition to poker) were:
Casino craps and blackjack; fly fishing and fly tying and enjoying guest speakers at his fishing club; alcoholic beverages (including spirited Happy Hours with Mom Jane); restaurants, bars and sushi, and generous tipping; coffee; jogging; serving as barbeque ace at home; laid back cats Butch and Romeo; spending time at South Lake Tahoe second home; travel (including Japan, China and Australia) and driving (seven hours one way to Mom Jane's in Roseville, California); time at Sacramento's American River Community College (where he met wife-to-be Nancy Rusk), Fresno State University and UCLA; time with brother in law Rick (Nancy's brother) and his wife Jan, and friends Joe and Pat (and Lou and Mary); time with Aunt Fran (Mom's sister) and Uncle Andy, with whom he lived during two years at American River; home improvement projects (including numerous ones at Mom's, working around my kibitzing); doggedly trying to return my serve in tennis; golfing with me even though he really didn't enjoy it; cigars and chewing tobacco; math and electrical engineering activities; country music; Los Angeles Lakers, National Basketball Assn. playoffs and UCLA basketball; reunions of Japan's Misawa Air Force Base High School and his role as Misawa's varsity starting guard in basketball; telling jokes; attending auto racing events (including many sessions with Dad Frank Crawford, a former auto racer); staying positive and chatting with people he just met (learned from Dad); collecting and using tools; keeping his car and wife Nancy's car tuned up; helping cousin Wendy, and assisting daughters Connie and Amanda with everything from moving to setting up computers to school and university issues to watching over granddaughter Savannah.
I'm grateful that Jay assisted me in everything from math issues to my car to placing my baseball bets to investing to helping Mom up to her death in 2012 at age 94. Jay and I are the only children of Mom and 29-year Air Force veteran Frank Crawford, another patriot, provider, collector of tools and casino craps fan who died in 1979.
On a work trip to Washington, D.C., Jay and his co-workers were scheduled for a meeting at the Pentagon when the 9/11 terrorist attacks struck. Their long trip home had to be by rental car.
Stories Jay told about himself:
* After an emotional time at his retirement party (including giving his speech), he arrived home and received a call informing him he left wife Nancy at the hotel.
* In tidying the kitchen, on his own at Aunt Fran's, he decided to do a dishwasher load. Suds ended up on much of the floor because he used liquid dish detergent.