B.J. Crawford, 84

Benjamin James Crawford [B.J.} of Bogata, Texas went home to be with his Lord and Savior on December 24, 2011 at East Texas Medical Center in Clarksville, Texas, beginning his greatest Christmas celebration ever.  Mr. Crawford was born on June 19, 1927, to Frank and Bernice Crawford.  He served in the United States Merchant Marines from 1944 to 1947.  He later owned the Direct Grocery Store and then the 19th Street Grocery.  Later he worked at B&W for 13 years before going into the nursing home business in Deport, Texas from 1964 to 1971.  His last job before retirement was owning Crawford’s Grocery in Clarksville, Texas.  Mr. Crawford served as mayor of Deport, Texas, from 1966-1970.  He was a 32nd Degree Mason, a charter member and founder of the First Elks Lodge inParis, and a former deacon in the First Baptist Church of Deport.

Mr. Crawford married Mary Elrod on January 18, 1973.  He is survived by his wife, five daughters and one son:  Charlene Borders and husband, Tommy of Deport; Benny Crawford and wife, Marilyn of Deport; Frankye Sessums and husband, Billy of Blossom; Bobbi Gifford and husband, Allen of Paris; Melissa Healy and husband Danny of Deport; and Melinda Wright and husband, Tyson of Bogata.  He is also survived by grandchildren Theresa Stephens; Jeanna Smith; B.A. Sessums; Marti Chumbley; Breah Hicks; Bryan Gifford; Katha Hudson; Jesse Crawford; Chance Crawford; Lauren and Amanda Healy, Jestin, Ashlee and Zoe Wright; Lori and Jeffery Gifford; two sisters and two brothers, Frankye Nell Simons of Granbury, Sue Partin of Center, Nathan Crawford and wife, Lynne of Plano, and Johnny Crawford and wife, Sharon of Paris; one sister-in-law, Mildred Whitworth and husband, Buddy of Bogata; one brother-in-law, Top Elrod and wife, Ethel of Bogata; 18-great-grandchildren as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Jacqueline Campbell, grandchildren Mike Borders, Amanda Crawford, and Julye Sessums; great-grandson, Aaron Michael Borders.

B.J. was known for his extreme generosity and kindness to others.  He was a wonderful provider and had a tremendous work ethic.  His door was always open to all no matter who came to visit or the circumstance.  He was not a respecter of people but rather treated everyone in an equally compassionate manner.  He was a family man, and his greatest joy was his children and grandchildren, always giving unconditional love to all.  B.J. always had a pleasant sense of humor, a quick sincere smile and courteous manner toward all.

Mr. Crawford is celebrating his new life walking the streets of gold with all the heavenly hosts.

Visitation for Mr. Crawford will be Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 10:00 am at the First Assembly of God in Bogata with the funeral services following at 11:00am with Sister Ethel Elrod and Allen Gifford officiating.  Burial will follow in Bogata Cemetery with his sons, sons-in-laws, and grandsons serving as pallbearers.

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