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Freeman Godfrey Craw

Freeman Godfrey Craw Obituary
Freeman Godfrey Craw

AGE: 100 • Tinton Falls

Freeman Godfrey Craw of Tinton Falls passed away peacefully on Monday, May 1, 2017. He was 100 and had lived in Tinton Falls since 2001. Prior to that he had been a long time resident of Short Hills. Known to family and friends as Jerry, he forged a highly distinguished and decorated career in graphic art, calligraphy and topography.

Born and raised in East Orange, Jerry graduated from Cooper Union For The Advancement of Science and Art in 1939. Upon graduation he became a Designer with the American Colortype Company in New York City. In 1943 he joined Tri-Arts Press Inc., as its Art Director, and in 1958 he was named Vice President of the Company. In that capacity, he had complete graphic control over the most interesting and impressive printing produced in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, he created unique visual identity programs for numerous prestigious business and institutional clients, including CBS and IBM. In 1968, he left Tri-Arts to establish his own company, Freeman Craw Design as a specialist in design-for-printing.

As an independent Design Consultant and Art Director, Jerry maintained a full-time office of designers and artists to better serve the complete needs of his clientele. He provided a broad range of graphic and production services, including photography, typography, illustration, composition, platemaking and printing. He also served as Manager 0f Production and Graphics for Rockefeller University Press at that time.

Jerry was considered one of the best graphic artists in the world, and his body of work has been described by colleagues and industry insiders as "legendary". He was best known to fellow topographers for his many type designs commissioned by American Type Founders Company. Among these are Craw Clarendon, Craw Clarendon Book, Craw Clarendon Condensed, Craw Modern, Craw Modern Bold, Craw Modern Italic, Ad Lib, Canterbury, Chancery Cursive, Classic, CBS Sans and CBS Dido.

Jerry's calligraphic works were held in such high regard, that permanent collections were established at the of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum of New York, a division of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art. He also had a number of one-man exhibitions in New York, Chicago and London, and was an honorary member of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany.

Additionally, in 1946 he was a founding member of the Type Directors Club, which today is still the leading international organization devoted to excellence in topography. He was also the recipient of numerous national and international awards and citations for excellence in graphic design. He wrote and designed for the following publications: American Artist, Fortune, Graphis, Print Magazine and the Saturday Evening Post to mention only a few. He even found time as a guest lecturer at institutions like: Yale University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Kean College, The New York School of Visual Arts, as well as the Universities of Alabama, Utah, and Maryland.

Jerry was warmhearted, gregarious and passionate about his art. His intelligence and gentle nature always shined through. He was good humored, loved to be around people and always seemed to get along with everyone, even strangers. He considered himself a "hopeless Francophile", and was heavily influenced by School of Paris painters like Degas, Braque, Picasso, and particularly Modigliani. Having traveled extensively throughout France, he developed a keen appreciation of French culture, French architecture and, of course, French wine. He even taught himself the language and became fluent in it. He loved a good bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape, but would love sharing it with family and friends even more. His warmth, humor and creativity will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

He was predeceased by his parents Stanley and Mildred, his brother Stanley, his wife Janet, his son Peter and his daughter Stephanie, as well as his sister-in-law Nancy and his nephew Garvie. He is survived by his younger brother, Richard, his nephew Rick and his wife Leslie, Garvie's wife Susan, his niece Brenda Curran and her husband Tim, as well as several great and great/great nephews and nieces.

At Freeman's request, a private cremation took place under the direction of O'Brien Funeral Home in Wall, NJ. For more information, please visit In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Cooper Union, 30 Cooper Square 8FL, New York, NY 10003; or online at
Published in Asbury Park Press on May 28, 2017
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