I have known Jimmy and Carol all my life because I have the honor and blessing of being one of their godchildren. There is such a warmth that comes over me when I think of Jimmy because he gave not only me, but countless people, many “good old clean fun “ memories to hold on to. The kind that build integrity and character and bring a smile to your face. That was because Jimmy had a desire to be what the Lord wanted him to be and he bore that out by being a man of honor and truth and using his gifts to bless others.
Anyone who knew Jimmy knew that he loved to do many things and liked to bring others into his world of fun and entertainment. Whether it was a new dance move he was excited about, a dance routine he and Carol choreographed, or discovering his Indian heritage, Jimmy stirred up interest in others about his latest adventure because he truly found it exciting. These adventures included learning how to remodel a house, water skiing with his boat, learning about German clocks, rebuilding a slot machine, making his own wine, teaching others how to dance or be a dance teacher, creating a game room for his many “children” and friends, building a coy pond in his back yard… and the list goes on and only Carol truly knows the countless activities Jimmy got his hands into. For his dance students, he and Carol provided an atmosphere where teenagers could gain self confidence, find support for their hard work and make a circle of friends that the Crowells tried to make sure stayed out of trouble while they were in their care.
So many memories flooded my mind the night I found out Jimmy had passed away. I can see his hair getting sort of misshapen because he was trying to coordinate the sound track with the record player. I can see him repeating a step again, again and again, hoping it would finally sink into our trunks and limbs. I can see laughter and sort of a youthful look on his face as he spoke about one of his many adventure mishaps. I can see the smile he kept on his face most of the time, even when I visited him during the past 2 years.
A few more things I’d like to say about Jimmy: he had a wonderful and elegant gentleman quality, however, he was not difficult to get to know. He freely opened up his heart to many and hoped they could become a friend or at least an acquaintance. Even behind the scenes when stressful situations arose and Jimmy lost the smile on his face, I could tell he aspired in his heart to follow the faith he had in Jesus and try to follow the Lord’s direction to be kind hearted to all people. And he considered all of his students to be one of his children of a sort. Almost every visit I made to the Crowell’s house after leaving Oklahoma City, Jimmy always bragged about one of his student’s achievements with pictures and the excitement of a proud father.
Sometimes, it is not until we are an adult that we realize how many good things were provided by someone in our youth. Jimmy helped form a good part of the world I ,and I believe many others, experienced, and it was rewarding and it was good. Thank you Jimmy for sharing yourself with us and for loving us the way you did. Thank you for being more than any godchild could ask from their godparent. It’s nice to remember you with so many smiles and so much enthusiasm for life.
Lisa Barnes Niemeyer