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Richard T. Crawford

July 14, 2018


 

Crawford, Richard T.

Schodack Landing- A truly special man has left this life.
     Ric Crawford passed away on July 11, 2018, at age 72, of natural causes.
     Talk to those who knew him, and you will hear enough stories to have filled any number of lives. 
     Coming up from dire poverty, Ric’s gifts were recognized by teachers who set him on a path to utilizing his intelligence and artistic talents. A football player in high school,  he earned a place on the team at Olivet College in Michigan, and worked his way through college, scraping by and falling in love with the Great Books. He worked in a slaughterhouse, slaved on a merchant ship, and did anything he needed to in order to feed his hunger for learning. He discovered art and philosophy, and then went on to earn a Master’s degree from Montclair State in New Jersey. He taught, was a community organizer, worked in inner city Albany on poverty programs, and worked with Job Corps. 
     Ric was partner in an antique store; became a master stone mason, and had a career on the railroad, earning a reputation as an outstanding engineer. Running two-mile-long freight trains for CSX on the Hudson River line, he drank in the beauty of the Hudson Valley, and safely brought trains home through blizzards, floods, and other potential disasters. He was proud of his co-workers, and proud of his on-time record.
     Ric painted, sculpted, and collected art and antiques, but his enduring artistic expressions were gardening, poetry and photography. Never bound by expectations or convention, his art was exploratory and sensitive; challenging and breathtaking. He bought land that had been a garbage dump, and reshaped it into amazing gardens. He created a winding stone dragon in a stream bed. He wrote poetry that sticks with his readers. His photographs captured people, events, and nature, from his unique point of view. He loved visiting Gloucester, MA, returning with hundreds of photographs over the years. 
     A Mensa member, Ric’s powerful intelligence ranged over cooking, history, literature, and art. He was never bored, and always curious. He lived at the intersection of a blue-collar background and the life of the mind, a balancing act that made him a complicated and challenging man: a loner who could charm a room; a huge, strong man who was prey to his past, a “man’s man,” who was deeply sensitive. 
      He was a man of faith. Raised in the Roman Catholic church, he explored Buddhism and Eastern philosophy, and in the last 13 years, came to know Judaism, finding it aligned with much of his internal belief system. He was a part of B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation for some years, lending his talents there.    
     Ric’s charm and huge laugh won him the love of many, and no one who ever loved him ever could forget him. He never had children of his own, but helped parent a number of young people, giving them time and attention. 
     Ric was born Oct. 19, 1945, to Josephine Palmeri and Wallace Thornton Crawford, who predeceased him. He was a loyal son to his mother, and was grateful to his aunt, Mary Dudley, who survives him, for her care and attention to his mom. Ric is also survived by his brother, Robert Crawford (Beth), his nephew Todd Crawford, and by his long-time partner, Deb Adler. Special friends Luisa Putnam, Lisa Sofia, and Barbara Segretto will particularly miss him, as will Tim Martino.  Ric was predeceased by a cousin, Robert Dudley and is survived by his cousin Perry Dudley.           
     A memorial gathering will be planned and announced at a later date. Contributions in Ric’s name might be made to the ACLU, or to B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany, NY.

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59 Seaman Ave.
Castleton, NY 12033
(518)732-7663

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