Peter "Pete" Lyman Crawford, 72, of Lake Charles passed away on Thursday, September 1, 2011, in a local hospital.
Pete was born on September 3, 1938, in Lake Charles to Lyman A. "Pete" Crawford and Louise Romero Crawford. He graduated from Landry Memorial High School under the tutelage of the Christian Brothers in 1956. He was named President of his Class in 1956 and was a member of the All District Football Team. Pete also attended McNeese State University, where he graduated with a Master's Degree Plus 30 in Education. During his college career, Pete was honored as a Distinguished Military Student, a Distinguished Military Graduate, was named Battle Group Commander of the McNeese R.O.T.C., and was named as a Who's Who Among College Students. Pete married Christine Niel in January 28, 1961, and they had four children. In January of this year, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Following college, Pete joined the Army and attended Provost Marshal General School in Ft. Gordon, Georgia. As a military policeman, he was stationed at Ft. Rucker Alabama, where he was named Company Commander and Assistant Provost Marshall in the early sixties. During his tenure there, he protected James Meredith during the integration of Ole Miss, was decorated as a sharpshooter, and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1964. After his tenure in the Army, Pete returned to Lake Charles and began his career as an educator. He was a football coach at F. K. White in the mid-sixties and was the only coach to ever claim an undefeated, unscored upon, untied season. In 1967, he became an Assistant Coach at LaGrange High School and was instrumental in their 1969 State Playoff run. In 1971, he was named Assistant Principal of LaGrange H.S. and was Principal from 1973 to 1981. Following his career with LaGrange, Pete became the Title 1 Director of Federal Programs for Calcasieu Parish Schools until he retired in 2005. During his service in the educational system, Pete was a 26-year member of the Louisiana Association of School Administrators of Federally Assisted Programs (LASAFAP) and served as President in 1988. He also served on the McNeese Alumni Board from 1972 to 1975 and was awarded the State Leadership Award in 2002 by the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators. He was also a member of the American Legion, W.B. Williamson Post No. 1.
Pete was preceded in death by his father, Lyman A. "Pete" Crawford, and his sister, Theresa Jane Crawford. He is survived by his devoted wife, Christine Niel Crawford; his mother, Louise Romero Crawford; his children, David Crawford and wife, Beverly; Kevin Crawford and wife, Karen; Angie Crawford Schmitt and husband, Andy; and Mike Crawford and wife, Jennifer, all residents of Lake Charles. He is also survived by his siblings, Phyllis Solari, Mary Higdon, Dr. Patrick Crawford, Dr. John Crawford, Carolyn Toups, Joe Crawford, and Susan Meche. Pete was blessed with eight grandchildren, Alex Schmitt, David Crawford, Abby Schmitt, Austin Crawford, Sara Crawford, Jacob Crawford, Emily Schmitt, and Josh Crawford.
Pete was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle. He was a leader among men. He believed that hard work and dedication were inherent to a life lived well. Pete believed that all things could be accomplished through perseverance and determination, and personally, he always put forth more than was expected in any endeavor. He was always an optimist, believed that you should never quit, even in strife, and was always cheerful and positive, even when times were difficult. He loved football as he believed that sports taught life lessons on discipline and teamwork. He also loved coaching football and considered it a battle of the wits.
Pete taught and led, first by example. His primary lesson to all who knew him was the value of good character. He loved the Louisiana heritage and had a passion for fishing and hunting .He enjoyed taking care of his boat, the Kingfish, and he cherished spending time with his family and friends. Pete was a hero to all of us.
His Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 AM, Monday, September 5, 2011 at The Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. Monsignor Jace Eskind will officiate. Burial will be in Highland Memory Gardens under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home. Visitation will be, Sunday, from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM with a rosary being recited at 6:00 PM, and continue from 8:00 AM until 9:30 AM, Monday, in the funeral home.
The family would like to express their thanks to Lena, Rae, Mildred, and Christian, who helped care for Pete over his last years, especially his favorite nurse, daughter-in-law Jennifer Crawford. They would also like to express their thanks to the doctors and staff of Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for their excellent care.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Immaculate Conception Cathedral School, St. Louis Catholic High School, or the charity of your choice.