Evan A. Crawley, Sept. 8, 1934 – Oct. 22, 2020
Evan A. Crawley of Logansport, Indiana, father of five, who devoted his life to his children and grandchildren, and to sharing his deep love and nostalgia for music and films from the Golden Age of the 1920s and ‘30s, passed away Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Logansport Memorial Hospital due to complications of coronavirus disease. He was 86.
Music and books defined Mr. Crawley. In his youth he learned violin, then as a young man played banjo and ukulele. Throughout his life he played old upright pianos, banging out old pop songs and Gershwin show tunes until his fingers and hearing gradually stopped cooperating. Even then he amassed a world-class collection of pre-World War II 78rpm phonograph records, especially classic jazz pioneers recorded in Indiana in the 1920s. He was always eager to share a newfound vintage recording and, long after his hearing failed him, he knew the music by heart. Just looking at a record label, he could whistle and melodies from musicians with names like Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton, Bob Wills, and Fats Waller. If not listening to music or watching 1930s movie musicals, he could be found engrossed in books about history or politics. Everywhere he lived was defined by his bookshelves and collections of phonograph records.
Evan Ayler Crawley, Jr., was born in Sept. 8, 1934, in Greencastle, Indiana, where his mother was a lifelong music teacher and church pianist, and his father, a former Greencastle mayor whose several businesses included selling and servicing juke boxes. Mr. Crawley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from DePauw University and served in the Indiana Air National Guard, to include being called to active duty during the Berlin Crisis of 1961-62, serving as a fireman on the flight line at Hulman Field, Terre Haute, Indiana, where his frequent exposure to aircraft engines contributed to his hearing loss in later life.
Before and after his military service, Mr. Crawley spent two decades in journalism and, as was common for newspaper work in that era, moved to new towns with each promotion or career opportunity. He wrote for newspapers in Bloomfield, Ind.; Morris, Ill.; the Logansport, Pharos Tribune; the Banner Graphic; and the Indianapolis Times. In 1965, when the Times ceased publishing, he moved his young family to Chicago where he held a series of journalism and public relations jobs, including working briefly for the Girl Scouts of America, as well as stints with Allied News and several suburban Chicago newspapers. In the late 1970s he became a fulltime taxi driver and occasional freelance writer, driving taxis in suburban Chicago and Indianapolis before retiring to Logansport to be near family. His five children became the focus of much of his life and energy.
Mr. Crawley is preceded in death by his parents, Evan A. Crawley Sr., and Gwendolyn Crawley; by his daughter Alexandra Elizabeth Crawley (1965 to 2003); and his son Albert Ricciardi Crawley (1967-2010). He is survived by Richard "Rick" J. (Susan) Crawley of Logansport; Lon A. Crawley of Park Forest, Ill.; and Vincent M. Crawley of Springfield, Va.; his brothers Richard (Judy) Crawley of Greencastle, Ind.; and John Crawley of Speedway, Ind.,; grandsons Evan M. Crawley, Mason Thomas and Devin Candioty; granddaughters Nikolette (Ken) Klinedinst, Melek R. Crawley and Elnura “Nova” Crawley; and great-granddaughters Keilani and Alexandria Klinedinst.
Memorial services are scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Thursday, October 29, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 97 E. Market St., Logansport, Ind. 46947, with Pastor Larry DeVos officiating. Friends and family may gather to pay respects beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Condolences may be made to the Crawley family at https://www.gundrumcares.com/.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Arc, www.thearc.org.
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