Modest, Helpful, 'Great'
Jennifer Eppolito has dozens of reasons to call her father, Robert Crawford, great: He would stand outside Brooklyn churches in all kinds of weather, selling raffle tickets to benefit St. Rose's Home, a cancer hospital. When he was honored for his work, he would not want to be in any photographs.
He told her, when she was little, "It's more important to listen to what people are saying than it is always to talk."
He was a firefighter for 32 1/2 years.
"You could ask him about anything, like how does a refrigerator work, and he would be able to sit there and put it into pieces you would understand," she said.
When Mrs. Eppolito's daughter, Alexandra, was born, Mr. Crawford took flowers in a vase with the Virgin Mary on it. He taught Alexandra her address by the time she was 2. He called her Poo Poo, and at 62, played Barbies with her.
"To describe my father as great, that's not even a good enough word," Mrs. Eppolito said. "I was lucky for him to be my father. There is no other man that, in my eyes, could stand up to him."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 3, 2002.