Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ron Crawford: Rest In Peace

The Sunset on the evening of Dec. 20, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

From: Capt. Danny Douglas
Re:  Passing of OL (Ret.), Ron Crawford

To all,

Please forward the message below to the active and alumni lifeguards through your channels.  Dick Douglas will be the contact for organization of a service after the first of the year.  We will announce that date as soon as possible in the planning process.

I am saddened to inform you that Retired Ocean Lifeguard Ron Crawford passed away early in the morning on Sunday, December 20 after suffering complications from a fall two weeks ago.  Ron had just celebrated his 76th birthday.  

Ron became a lifeguard in 1962 and during his long tenure served Los Angeles County as a beach lifeguard, Director of the Junior Lifeguard Program, and Director of the International Surf Festival.  Ron was a three time Olympian, representing the United States in Water Polo in 1960, 1964, and 1968.  He also had a distinguished teaching and coaching career for the Beverly Hills Unified School District. 

Ron leaves behind his wife, Lynn, a son, Matt, a daughter, Kelly, and his loving grandchildren. 

A memorial service will be held after the 1st of the year on the beach at 4th St. in Manhattan Beach.  The time and date will be announced at a later date. 

Cards and letters are welcome and can be sent to:
                Mrs. Lynn Crawford
                424 4th St.
                Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 

Please call my cell with questions.

Thank you

Danny Douglas, Captain
County of Los Angeles Fire Department
Marine Operations, Central Section
310-293-8391 cell
310-394-3261 office


*** Memorial Service Announced ***

Dear Friends,

As we are sadly aware, Ron Crawford passed away on Sunday, December 20.  To celebrate his extraordinary life a memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 31, at 10:00 a.m. on the beach at 4th St. in Manhattan Beach.  The service will be followed by a celebration at the Manhattan Beach Marriott Hotel at 11:30 a.m.  The Marriott is located just off Rosecrans Ave. about a quarter of a mile east of Sepulveda Blvd.  The address is 1400 Parkview Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266.


Dick Douglas


Additional Remarks & Photos:

L2R, Ron Crawford and Dick Douglas.  Medal of Valor Dinner, 2012. Photo by Will Maguire


From LACoFD Lifeguard Chief, Steve Moseley (excerpt):

"I was saddened to receive the following e-mail from Ocean Lifeguard Dick Douglas over the weekend.  Ron was truly one of the nicest people I have ever worked with, always quick with a smile,  and was tremendously humble despite his athletic prowess (3 Olympics).  His contributions to the Junior Guard Program and the Surf Festival are many, and our organization, while mourning his passing, will continue to honor, and will be honored to continue, his outstanding work in those programs." 


Anecdotally, LACo-Zuma OL (Ret.), Larry Loganbill, wrote a few years ago about the 1962 LACo Recurrent Lifeguard Rookie Swim Test that he took and that included Ron Crawford: 

"Not one parent, relative or friend standing on the beach at the 1962 rookie swim...Roy Saari (future world record holder) watched some of the races on the last Sunday of training and competition because he was going to be taking the test the next year. Gary Crum at 15 swam some of the events preparing for when he turned 18.

Of course in those days training started immediately after you dried off from the qualifying swim.

Cappy Sheeley from Punahou was No. 1...

Tom Viren No. 2. (Cappy says Viren should have won the swim but Cappy kept stopping him to ask him where the buoy at the breakwater was located.

I don't remember any other permanents out of that rookie school except for Viren. Three guys from rookie school totally disappeared off the radar screen... didn't take a schedule and were never heard from again. Most everyone of our 20-man rookie school was sent to Zuma... I think I was the only illegal UNDERAGE LACo pool lifeguard who took the beach test... don't tell anyone. Starting pay in 1962: $2.89 per hour.

SIDEBAR: When Cappy arrived on the beach for the qualifying swim with Viren he saw a Red 1960 Olympic Team Bag on the beach and asked Viren who the bag belonged to. Viren told him it belonged to Ron Crawford on the 1960 USA Olympic Water Polo Team... told him
Crawford went to Downey HS... same as Loganbill... don't even worry about him. Cappy said, "then why don't I have one of those bags?" Crawford was third... swam most of the race backstroke."


Just in courtesy of Dave Story is this spectacular photo taken outside of the Los Angeles Coliseum (we think). Per Dave:  "Coach Saari with the El Segundo water polo team. Crawford, top row second from left. Chick and Ned McIlroy are on the bottom row."

Per L.A. City OL (Ret.), Richard Fletcher, also about this photo above: "This is the H2O polo team the USA sent to Tokyo in 1964. The tall guy top left is Dan Drown, one of our guys at Dockweiler. I believe Roy Saari both swam & played polo, but he's not in that pic. I have had the indescribable honor of playing polo in the same tank with Ned. Great pic! Not sure where it was taken."


Ron Crawford, below, hitting up the buffet line at the 2015 Medal of Valor Dinner.  He was always so genuinely friendly and kind. I shall miss his warm smile, enthusiasm and friendship.

How blessed we all are for having known Ron.  God Bless, Ron Crawford.  May he rest in peace.


Respectfully submitted,

Will Maguire,
"County Recurrent" News

(All photos by Will Maguire)

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1 comment:

Matt Crawford said...

I am Matt Crawford, Ron's son. I wanted to share that my dad loved being a lifeguard and was so amazingly proud to serve and be a part of this brotherhood. He told me so many amazing stories about his time working in a tower, especially the hot box at MB Pier, and his love of the Jr. Guard program and the instructors that made it happen. I also spent many hours working and watching the Surf Festival events and watching dad's pride overflow as lifeguards came up to him to thank him for his efforts to coordinate and run the events for so many years.

Thank you all for what you do and for being such an important part of my dad's life for so many years!

The Crawford Family