John Littlefield Crawford
John Littlefield Crawford, 97, of Franklin, passed away peacefully on March 30, 2016. A native of Macon County, he was the son of the late John L. Crawford and Annie Crawford Higdon, and stepfather Alfred R. Higdon. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his sister‑in law, Doris Hudson.
He attended UNC Chapel Hill where he met his future wife, Dorothy Rose, whom he married on March 12, 1942 in Victoria, Texas, where he was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
He was in flight training at Goodfellow Field, San Angelo, Texas on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. Following basic flight training, he went on to advanced flight training in fighter planes.
After he received his wings and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Army Air Corps, he became an instructor in advanced flight training school for fighter pilots, training not only American pilots, but many Allied pilots from Turkey, Bolivia, Peru, France and other countries. Although he requested overseas action as a fighter pilot, he was told he was more valuable as an instructor, so he remained at Moore Field, Mission, Texas, moving up the chain of command from assistant squadron commander all the way to group commander. A member of the “Greatest Generation,” he helped close Moore Field following the end of World War II and was discharged from active duty. He remained active in the Army Air Corp Reserves and later the U.S. Air Force Reserves until retiring from the reserves as a lieutenant colonel in 1969.
Following the war, he returned to Franklin and worked for his stepfather for many years at Franklin Hardware, which he closed in 1962 following Mr. Higdon’s death. He became a permanent letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in 1956 from which he retired in 1984. He was active in the American Legion, serving as various officers including commander in 1954‑ 55. For several years he was a director of the Bank of Franklin, which later became First Union. He was a former member of the Lion’s Club, a member of the Masonic Lodge, Chamber of Commerce and Volunteer Fire Department, serving as an officer of the last three organizations. He was a charter member of the Franklin Gem and Mineral Society and the Macon County Cultural Arts Council. In recognition of extraordinary service to Macon County, along with his wife Dorothy, the Macon County Senior Services Center was renamed the Dorothy R. and John L. Crawford Senior Center.
He was a founding and active member of the Franklin Church of Christ, serving as an elder.
Survivors include his loving wife of over 74 years, Dorothy Rose Crawford, sons John L. Crawford III and wife Donna of Flat Rock, and Thomas R. Crawford and wife Jae of Sylva; seven grandchildren, Caroline Heubel and husband John of Ft. Mill, South Carolina, Robert Crawford of Charlotte, Molly Moore and husband Parker of Washington, D.C.; Kate Fuquay and husband Jason of New York City, Thomas R. Crawford Jr and wife Michelle of Chapel Hill, Kathryn McMillan and husband Tom of Port St. Lucie, Florida and Holly Conlin and husband Scott of Sylva; 15 great‑grandchildren; sisters Julia Green of Burlington and Beverly Moore of Franklin; brothers Alfred Higdon and wife Ann of Atlanta, and Thomas Higdon and wife Patricia of Las Cruces, New Mexico; and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at the Franklin Church of Christ, 90 McCollum Drive at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3 with Minister Radford Penland officiating. Pallbearers will be John Heubel, Robert Crawford, Thomas Crawford Jr., Benn Grant III, Ben Swafford, Carey Patton, Jr., Jacob Stewart and Donald Fisher. The family will receive friends at the church from 1‑ 2:30 p.m. prior to the service. Burial will be at Woodlawn Cemetery with military rites.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Franklin Church of Christ McCollum Drive Scholarship Endowment and mailed to: North Carolina Community Foundation, 4601 Six Forks Road‑Suite 525, Raleigh, NC 26609, or donated online at www.nccommunityfoundation.org or contributions to Angel Medical Center Foundation, PO Box 1209, Franklin, NC 28734, or to one’s favorite charity.
Bryant‑Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences are available at bryantgrantfuneralhome.com.