Christine Ann Niel Crawford, 83, of Lake Charles passed away on Sunday, June 18, 2023, in a local hospital, surrounded by her family. Christine was born on January 2, 1940, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Albert Niel and Lena Pecorino Niel. She graduated from St. Charles Academy in 1959, married Peter Lyman Crawford on January 28, 1961, and they had four children. After her first career as a wife and homemaker, Christine went to work at the Baggett McCall law firm in 1980, but she retired after 25 years of service to help care for her husband.
Christine was preceded in death by her husband, Peter “Pete” Crawford; her parents, Albert and Lena Niel; and by her siblings, Angela Niel; John Niel; and Charles “Charlie” Niel. She is survived by her sister-in-law, Eldene Niel of Lafayette; her children, David Crawford and wife, Beverly; Kevin Crawford and wife, Karen; Angela “Angie” Crawford Schmitt and husband, Andy; and Michael “Mike” Crawford and wife, Jennifer; all residents of Lake Charles. Christine was blessed with eight grandchildren, Alex Schmitt; David Crawford, Jr.; Abigail Schmitt; Austin Crawford; Sara Crawford; Jacob Crawford; Emily Schmitt; and Josh Crawford; and one great grandchild, Oliver Mele.
Christine was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, and she loved her family above all things. She was incredibly loyal, fiercely protective, and would never fail to sacrifice herself for the benefit of her loved ones. If she perceived an injustice, she would never shy away from setting things right. Her grandchildren were the joy of her life, and she loved spending time with them.
Her home was always open to family and friends, and many St. Louis Catholic High School football games began and ended with players and cheerleaders gathered in her kitchen for a pre-game pep rally or a post-game wrap-up party.
Christine was a collector of friends throughout her life. Her classmates from the 1950's met every month and called her regularly, and co-workers from her time at Baggett McCall still kept in touch and considered her a member of their families. Her phone rang every day from morning ‘til night with calls from people who just wanted to spend a little time catching up on the latest news. Cousins, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews from her large Italian family always stayed in touch, gathering together for family reunions or to make hot tamales, and an extensive family of Crawford in-laws all believed that she really belonged to them. Perhaps the greatest testament to her legacy, though, are her children, who did not just think of her as a mom. They considered her a friend.
Christine truly loved people, and they loved her in return. She will be greatly missed by everyone she touched with her generosity, her compassion, and her indefatigable spirit.
Her Funeral Mass will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Monsignor Jace Eskind will officiate, and burial will be in Highland Memory Gardens under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home. Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Cathedral, preceding the Mass.
The family would like to express their thanks to all who helped care for Christine over her last months, including Peggy Williams, and especially her favorite Nurse Practitioner, daughter-in-law Jennifer Crawford, who was such a comfort to Christine and the family during this difficult time. They would also like to express their thanks to the doctors and staff of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and St. Patrick Hospital for their excellent care.