Sunday, April 27, 2014

Midway native Loretta Crawford is remembered as one who overcame big obstacles to help others

By Darius Owens
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Loretta Crawford
Loretta Crawford was an uplifting woman who helped others and gave back to her community. She spent most of her 54 years in a wheelchair, but served as a guide to everyone who needed her assistance, said those who knew her.

Crawford passed away on Easter Sunday, April 20. A visitation and funeral service were held Saturday at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Midway.

“She was more of an inspiration for those who felt worthless,” Tony Owsley, a childhood friend, said in an interview.. “She still had the strength to give it to those who felt weak. She was a beautiful person, and had a beautiful soul.”

The ambience of the church during the visitation was peaceful, yet engaging. The pews were filled with Crawford’s friends, family and admirers, who were kind and neighborly as they gave her son and the rest of the family their condolences.

“Her nickname was Booweezy growing up,” said Janet Owsley-Williams, another childhood friend and Tony Owsley’s cousin. “She always had a smile on her face no matter what, even by her being in her wheelchair. She never let that get her down.”

For most of her youth, Crawford lived in Midway. She was born in Versailles and graduated from Woodford County High School. She spent most of her adult life in Lexington but she was well remembered in Midway; Mayor Tom Bozarth noted her passing at the start of last Monday’s city council meeting.

Crawford experienced two life-altering events when she was a teenager that paralyzed her from the waist down. According to her son Andrew, the first occurred when she was 15 and was accidentally shot by her father. The other incident happened a year later after she recovered; she was thrown through the windshield of a car driven by a friend.

These two compounding incidents caused her to be permanently bound to a wheelchair, but the people who loved her say she lived her life positively and served to guide people during their own journeys as well.

“My mother was my hero, my inspiration,” Andrew Crawford said. He was an offensive guard for Bryan Station High School, where his mother served as the team mom and played basketball for the University of Kentucky Lady Wheel Cats.

Crawford worked for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for 18 years in several positions, including caseworker and budget analyst, and was a communications officer before retiring in 2006. Her obituary said she helped many people achieve professional training and employment, which made her a valuable asset to the Lexington community.

“She always wanted to raise a good son,” says Kelley Coffey, friend of one of Loretta’s sisters since childhood. “She was very pleasant to be around, and she always had words of wisdom.”

According to her son, Loretta had a kidney removed five years ago, and this led to some complications. After years of fighting the issues in her respiratory system, unfortunately, she could fight no longer.

Besides her son, Crawford is survived by biological father, Joe Taylor, and her paternal father, Al Snell. So do seven siblings – Marcus, Glen, and Norman Crawford; Brenda Reed (Mike); Marcella Morton (Alex); Paul Jackson, and Mary Snell. Other survivors include aunts Helen Washington and Mary Crawford, and her nephews, nieces, family, and friends.

At the funeral, Elder William C. Wright quoted 2 Timothy 4:7, in which Paul the apostle says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” and Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil…” Wright said God places barriers, or valleys, in our lives for us to overcome them.

“Not only did she have the encouragement and support from her loving family … not only did she draw continuously from the wells of friendship that she formed throughout her life,” Wright said, “but through it all, she realized that she was never alone, because she had a comforter that is the Holy Spirit … ”

Loretta Crawford overcame incredible obstacles, and managed to be there for others. She was loved by many and will truly be missed.


Anonymous said...

Well written.

Anonymous said...

Nice article Darius. I am just getting around to reading it but I have shared it with my FB friends so I am sure there will be a lot of hits in the coming weeks.

Andrew Crawford