Reverend Henry E. Crawford was born July 28, 1933, to Steve and Elnora Crawford in Corsicana, Texas. He was the tenth of eleven children. He was sick as a child suffering from a condition where he couldn’t walk for a while. His father passed away when he was eight years old, leaving his mother to raise the younger Crawford kids on her own. His older brother, Thomas, came home from the military and moved the family from the country to the city.
He graduated from Pemberton High School in 1952 in Marshall, Texas. He was working and saving money when he received his “Greetings” letter, “You have been drafted into the United States Army.” After serving his country for two years in Germany and seeing the world, this country boy returned to Marshall and attended Bishop College on the GI Bill, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1959. He was also on the charter line of Omega Psi Phi while there.
He began selling insurance and looking for a job, when someone told him they were looking for a business teacher in Amarillo, Texas. He applied and got the position and moved to Amarillo and began teaching at Carver High School in 1959. While teaching typing and business courses, he was one of the first six blacks to enroll in West Texas State University where he received his Master’s Degree in 1968. After the closing of the predominantly black schools in Amarillo, Mr. Crawford was sent to Tascosa High School and then Amarillo High School. He served as Treasurer of the Amarillo Classroom Teachers’ Association. He retired from teaching in 1989 with over 30 years of service. Many of his former students today praise him for teaching them the skill of typing.
He met and married the late Lorene Thomas in 1960. They had three children, Henry, Jr., Charyse, and Carlisse. He and Lorene opened their home to 18 foster children over the years. He loved taking the kids to the park, skating, and bowling. He loved sharing those activities with his grandchildren, Colton, Cole, Blake, and Courtney.
Reverend Crawford was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Amarillo, Texas, where he served as deacon, financial secretary, and Sunday School Teacher of the Men’s Bible Class. He heard God calling him to preach at an early age, but finally answered the call in June of 1990. He was ordained as Pastor of New Zion Primitive Baptist Church in July of 1997, serving there until he relocated to Dallas in 2005. He also preached monthly at the Faith City Mission Homeless Shelter of Amarillo from 1998-2005. He served as Treasurer of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Amarillo from 1990-2005. He also served as Treasurer of the Amarillo Black Cultural Center.
After moving to Dallas in 2005, he was eager to join the Union Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, having heard Pastor Charles C. Martin, Sr., preach on several occasions. He participated along with Pastor Martin in marrying his youngest daughter, Carlisse, to Kevin Bluitt. He served as a Sunday School Teacher for many years and as the Director of the Prayer Ministry and many other capacities at The Union Baptist Church.
In his spare time, he enjoyed watching political shows and religious programs. If you ever sat down to talk with him, you learned a lot of history from him, and he would share God’s Word with everyone he came in contact with. His family calls them “sermonettes.”
He was preceded in death by his parents, nine siblings, and his wife, Lorene.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his son, Henry (Deborah) Crawford, Jr., his daughters, Charyse Crawford and Carlisse (Kevin) Bluitt, one brother, L. J. Crawford, his grandchildren, Colton Crawford, Cole Crawford, Blake Bluitt, and Courtney Bluitt, and a host of nieces, nephews, and former typing students.
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