Jerry Crawford passed away on Friday, December 15th, 2023 in Vacaville, CA with his son's Duke and Eric by his side. He was 82.
Born December 29th, 1940 to Floyd & Maxine Crawford, Jerry was the fifth of six children. He was a tough kid who grew up in a tough, hard-working family. During the depression, his family came to California to pick fruit, which is what Jerry and his siblings did in the summers and weekends when not in school.
He was a strong, dominant athlete. Excelled at football, basketball, baseball and track at Strathmore High; football, basketball and baseball at Junior College; and then center-field at UC Santa Barbara after a dislocated shoulder ended the UCSB football career (after he hit some dude a little too hard).
Strathmore was home for 59 years. He met Anneli Mittman while coaching and teaching at Strathmore High and after numerous & consistent proposals, Anneli finally said yes. Within a few years, Duke and Eric were born.
Jerry had three careers - teaching at Strathmore High, owning and operating Crawford Brother's Trucking (with his brother's Arnold and Bruce) and then, while mostly retired at the age of 52, he farmed three of his orange groves and owned a share in Golden Valley Citrus.
In 1999 Jerry & Anneli retired fully and moved to Morro Bay, which he referred to as "God's Country". They enjoyed retired life together on the central coast for over 15 years and took great pleasure in hosting visitors to the Crawford Bed and Breakfast. When Anneli passed in 2016, Jerry moved to Vacaville to be near his family and watch his grandkids grow up and play sports in 2021. His joy was his five grandkids. He cared deeply for his family, friends and each of the towns he called home.
A source of happiness and pride was having his entire extended family and friends to his home on Rd 236 for gatherings. The home included a pool, basketball and volleyball court, chipping greens and sand traps, a rec-room with weights, punching bags, pool and ping pong table, etc.
Jerry had a heart for the youth, especially the ones he identified with. There were many Saturdays where he would come home with a truckload full of kids from town so they could swim and enjoy the property described above.
He joined the booster club with his friend Joe Vidrio and dramatically increased fundraising after he saw the aged uniforms and pads Duke brought home as a freshman--the following year, all equipment was brand new.
Jerry and Joe also started the Strathmore pop-warner program. A few years later the school won the Valley Championship. The generation he helped would later carry the torch forward and build the program that has won multiple State Championships. He had a great deal of respect for Coach Blackwell, referring to him as "one tough dude".
Jerry is survived by his sons Duke and Eric Crawford; their wives Jessica and Tamarra; grandkids Dillon, Maxine, Svea, Ione and Justin; brother Arnold Crawford, sister Ilene Snyder; the greater Crawford family; brother-in-law Martin Mittman, sister-in-law Sigrid Proshold and their families, and who he considered his closest friends, Pete Rodriguez, Doug Whitener, John Blacklock, and their families. Jerry was preceded in death by his wife Anneli; his siblings Bruce, Larry & Nadine Crawford; another of his closest friends Joe Vidrio; and by the athletes he coached and youth lives he affected.
A service will be held at Myers Reception Hall (265 N. E St., Porterville, CA 93257) on Thursday, Dec. 21st, 2023; Interment to be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent in his name to Strathmore Boosters (600 West Grand Ave, Porterville, CA 93257), to your local youth sports team or booster club, or do something nice or meaningful for a kid who might need it.
To share a memory, or express condolences to the family, please visit the obituaries section of our website at www.myersfuneral.com/obituaries <http://www.myersfuneral.com/obituaries>. Myers Funeral Service & Crematory in Porterville is in charge of arrangements.