Walter Owen Crawford, Jr., (Dub), of Dayton, Maryland, passed away peacefully and went to be with his Lord and Savior on September 27, 2021. He was 85 years old.
Dub was born an only child in Covington, Virginia on May 14, 1936, to Walter Sr. and Virginia (Booth) Crawford. Raised in the Alleghany Mountains, he graduated from Covington High School. While in Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets Program, he joined the United States Air Force and enrolled in flight navigation training (USAF Aviation Cadet Navigator Class 57-15) and served as a navigator on B-47s for several years. He eventually became a pilot (Pilot Training Class 63-F), flying C-124s and then C-130s and serving in the Vietnam War with missions to Vietnam. He served in the Air Force for 22 years, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
On March 24, 1963, he married the love of his life, Joe Lea Crawford (McDown), in Clinton, Oklahoma, after which they started their family. Together they devotedly raised two children, Mack and Kelli. Dub’s service in the Air Force offered the family the experience of living in exciting locales, including Hawaii, where he and Jo had their two children and a place that remained special to them the rest of their lives. The family eventually settled in Beltsville, Maryland. Jo Lea and Dub were lovingly married for over 56 years.
In 1967, Dub entered the private sector, while remaining in the Air Force Reserves, becoming a commercial pilot for United Airlines. He would openly note that he never had to work a day; he loved his job to the end. He started flying DC-6s and ended on 747s with many others in between (with a particular fondness for 757/767s). Along with the military, his pilot career constantly took him all over the country and world, especially enjoying routes to Japan toward the end of his career. He relished in bringing back souvenirs for his family from far and wide.
Though globetrotting among busy cities, he enjoyed nature and the outdoors, hiking, and biking often and “hunting” chiefly as an excuse to be outside with friends. He continually remained proud of and visited his hometown of Covington in the mountains.
Dub’s faith remained important to him throughout his life, being involved at Hillandale, Faith Baptist and South Columbia Baptist Churches and going on mission trips, including to Brazil to help build shelters. Consistent with and stemming from his faith, Dub was a man of the utmost integrity and honesty. Dub was also a 33rd degree Mason. He was a caring man, loving his children and seven grandchildren who called him “Papa.” He was an important part in each of their lives. He also doted on his dogs, especially Gizmo, his last K-9 companion.
Dub is preceded in death by his father, Walter Sr., and his mother, Virginia, and his beloved wife, Jo Lea. He is survived by his son Mack, daughter Kelli and husband Keith, and grandchildren, Zackary, Joshua, Victoria and husband Robert (and great-grandchild James), Travis, Shannon, Kyle, and Sarah.
In lieu of flowers, to keep with Dub’s giving spirit, a contribution may be made
to the Wounded Warriors Project.
“Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds -
and done a hundred things . . . .
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
and, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
the high untrespassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand and touched the face of God.”
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee Jr., “High Flight” (1941)
To send flowers to Walter's family, please visit our floral store.
Wounded Warrior Project
7020 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville FL 32256