Retired oilfield and farm worker Jesse Edward Crawford, 79, an avid history buff, died Feb. 10, 2010, at Teton Medical Center in Choteau from natural causes.
The memorial service is Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 2:00 p.m. at the Choteau Baptist Church, where Jesse was a charter member. Pastor Paul Lackey of Shelby will officiate. Burial with a graveside service will be in the Bonnievale Cemetery in Baker, MT at 11:00 AM Saturday, May 29, 2010.
Jesse was born Dec. 23, 1930, at the family farm in Fallon County, the eighth of nine children born to Gus and Bertha Crawford. He attended school through the eighth grade at the rural O'Donnell School.
Jesse grew up on the family farm and worked there through his early 20s. He then worked for a couple of winters at Randash Motors in Baker before becoming an oilfield worker with exploration and drilling rigs in Montana, North and South Dakota and Wyoming.
Jesse married Lou Ann Irene Squibb on March 24, 1955, but just a few months later, on May 27, 1955, the young couple was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a gas refrigerator in their small home. Lou Ann died and Jesse was hospitalized for 10 days, followed by a six-week recovery, before he was able to return to work in the oilfields.
On June 1, 1957, he married Ruth Griffith in Baker. They were divorced in June 1960.
Jesse married Janet Grenstiner Toombs in 1961, and they made their home in Baker. Their family included Janet's children, Bobby and Helen Toombs, and their son together, Jesse Dale Crawford.
Jesse became a devout Christian, joining the Lakeview Baptist Church and being baptized on Aug. 4, 1963. Though the family lived in many locations through the years, they were always involved in the church in their community.
In 1965, Jesse began working on ranches in the state, including the Charles Fellows ranch in the Lodge Grass area. When the Fellows family purchased a ranch at Choteau in 1973, Jesse and his family moved here and worked on the Fellows Ranch and also the Saylor Ranch and several other farms. He also worked for several years with farmer and custom harvester Ray Anderson of Choteau.
Jesse and Janet were divorced in June 1978.
Jesse remained active in the First Baptist Church in Conrad and through the church met Marie England, whom he married on Aug. 20, 1983, at that church.
Jesse fully retired in 2006, and he and Marie made their home in Choteau. Jesse was active in the Choteau Baptist Church, spent many hours researching his family genealogy and was a history buff. He was very proud of the accomplishments of his ancestors and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.
Jesse is survived by his wife of Choteau; his son and daughter-in-law, Jesse and Rose Crawford of Choteau; his stepchildren, Helen Clark of Wright, Wyo., and Robert Toombs of Casper, Wyo.; grandchildren, Samantha Crawford of Gillette, Wyo., Brian, Cameron and Colton Clark, all of Casper, and Aaron Clark of Gillette; a brother, Roy Crawford of Washington; a sister, Mirian Kirschten of Baker; and many great-grandchildren and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by wives Lou Ann and Janet; brothers, Jim, Clyde and Cliff Crawford; and sisters: Bernetta Crawford, Marguerite Varner and Ida Mae Sleeth.
Gorder Funeral Home of Choteau is handling arrangements. Condolences may be left online at www.gorderfuneralhome.com.