1914 ~ 2011
ST. GEORGE, UT-Jasper Louis Crawford, age 97, passed away peacefully on September 26, 2011 surrounded by his friends and loved ones. Jasper was born January 5, 1914, to Mary Jane Bean and William Louis Crawford in Springdale, Utah, the third of seven children. He spent the first seventeen years of his life at Oak Creek, that part of Springdale, two miles up Zion Canyon. Living in that part of Zion Canyon, which was later made part of the National Park, instilled in him a love of nature that helped guide him to his future career.
He attended high school in Hurricane where he graduated in 1933. His college education at both Dixie Junior College and Brigham Young University was interrupted by a depression and a war, graduating from BYU in 1947 with a degree in zoology. He jokingly admitted that it took him fourteen years to get a four-year college education.
Most of his summers were spent working as a kitchen helper at Zion Lodge or road construction projects in the park. He became a close friend of Johnnie Doane, stepson of the CEO of the Nevada Construction Company, builder of the Zion Tunnel, which gave him special opportunities in the workings of that great project. During the years of the great depression he spent two winters and one summer as an enrollee of the CCC camp where he helped build several of the stone structures, including the Park's warehouse and garage. He has taken pride in pointing out to friends that he helped build the sign pylon at the South Entrance to the Park.
He leased and operated a service station in Springdale for three years before being drafted into the Army where he served for more that four years. He takes pride in his experience in the European Theater which included Anzio, Vosges Mountains and forests and finally the liberation of Dachau, oldest of the concentration camps.
J.L. worked as a park ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks. During this time he married Fern Houston, the prettiest girl in Panguitch, Utah, August 4, 1950. They left the park service to build and operate the Horizon Lodge in Panguitch, and J.L. worked for the State of Utah as County Welfare Director for 13 years. They eventually sold the business and he spent several pleasant years as a ranger in Zion National Park, where he had started his career in 1948. He retired in 1980 and moved to St. George. He and his wife, Fern, spent many years serving as volunteers at the Dixie College library. They were extraction workers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they served as Stake Historians in the St. George West Stake.
A special thank you is extended to the staff of Rocky Mountain Care and Hospice. The life of J.L. and his family was comforted by the loving and competent care these wonderful people provided around the clock.
Jasper is survived by his sisters: Beth C. Dennett (Stewart), and Lila Bernice C. Russell (Dale), nephews: Neil C. Twitchell (Wanda), and Darwin Crawford (Bonnie). Preceding him in death is his wife, Fern Houston Crawford, brother, Lloyd Lavon Crawford (Ola Crofts), and sisters, Elva Larene C. Twitchell (Clin Lamont), LaDessa C. Miller (William C.), and Beulah C. Hosey (Walter).
A visitation will be held September 30, 2011, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 West St. George Blvd., St. George, Utah. A second visitation will be held October 1, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. prior to a funeral service at the Red Hills Chapel, 500 North 200 West, St. George, Utah. Interment will be at 4:00 p.m. at the Panguitch City Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221. Please visit our website at www.metcalfmortuary.com
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