Mark V. Crawford

BERNE — Mark Crawford was a sweet man who stayed in Berne to be near his grandchildren.

He lived across the street from his son, Everett Crawford, and was like a parent to grandchildren and would help them get on and off the school bus.

 “I saw him every day growing up, every single day,” his granddaughter, Olana Crawford, said. “Even as an adult, I would go once a month and I would clean up his house.”

Mark V. Crawford Jr. died on Friday, March 3, 2015.  He was 93.

He was born in 1922, in Coldwater, Michigan. A tinkerer by nature and a mechanic by trade, he lost his left eye in an accident when he was 5 years old as he and his best friend were playing cowboys and Indians.

While in the military, the injury prevented Mr. Crawford from being in combat. He enlisted in the United States Air Corps in 1942 and served five years as a mechanic.

He moved to a house on Lake Onderdonk in Berne in the 1960s, to be near family in Amsterdam. He liked the lake for its peacefulness and was the association president for many years after his retirement. Before then, he worked at Abele Tractor & Equipment Company.

He had a passion for fixing and building things.

He continued to play with parts even after he retired. As personal computers became commonplace, he built his own. Eventually, he made a Facebook page so he could keep in touch with family and look at the pictures shared by relatives near and far.

“He was an observer,” Ms. Crawford said of her grandfather’s Facebook style. “He would rarely comment on anything unless he thought it was funny.”

When Ms. Crawford graduated from Voorheesville’s high school, her grandfather was there in the flesh, the only relative on her father’s side. He sat discretely in a back row during the outdoors ceremony, approaching her after with a flower and a kiss on the cheek, then went home.

He was very proud of his grandchildren, she said.

“You could see in his eye, you could see how much he loved you,” said Ms. Crawford.

Still, he was stubborn about certain things, like hearing aids, doctors visits, and generally being told what to do.

“Even in his older age, when he was too stubborn to get hearing aids, he would rather us email him and talk to him than have us call him,” said Ms. Crawford.

He put the dock he used as a porch into the lake by himself for as long as he could, his granddaughter recalled, where he would enjoy reading books, often murder mysteries, outside.

When his grandchildren were in elementary school, they stayed at his house after school, watching CNN as they ate popcorn and soda, Ms. Crawford recalled. And he had ice cream sandwiches delivered regularly to his house.

As he lay dying in the hospital, two of his grandchildren each held one of his hands, reminiscing about their grandfather. Ms. Crawford said her brother spoke about his asking Mr. Crawford why he didn’t shoot the rabbits that ate the lettuce in his garden, to which he replied that the rabbits are hungry and need to eat, too.

“As he got older, he would just plant his garden for the rabbits,” said Ms. Crawford. “He didn’t even pick them.”


Mark V. Crawford is survived by his son, Everett J. Crawford; his grandchildren, Jesse J. Crawford, Olana R. Crawford, and Elijah J. Crawford. He is also survived by his great-granddaughter, Norah R. Crawford; his niece, Laura Ceterski Patterson; and his nephew, Joseph Ceterski.

His parents, Mark and Lettie Crawford, died before him, as did his sister, Marilyn Crawford Ceterski, who had lived in Michigan.

His immediate family will hold a private memorial service.

— Marcello Iaia

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