Col. Raymond Keith Crowley (Keith), USAF, Retired, died peacefully at home surrounded by loving family on Saturday, July 27, 2013. He was one week shy of his 92nd birthday. He was our hero; a wonderful loving husband to two wives, a wise and wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Keith was born to Grace and Claude Crowley on August 3, 1921 in Kerens, Texas. The family soon moved to Corsicana, where Keith grew up and graduated from Corsicana High School in 1939. He started junior college at Hill Community College after high school, where he met Teddy Blount, whom he later married. Keith enlisted in the US Army Air Corps (later the United States Air Force) in 1940 at the age of 18. The Air Force was his career for the next 33 years, and he distinguished himself by rising from the rank of private to full colonel, and twice earned the Legion of Merit, the highest peace time medal awarded in the Air Force.
In 1942, Keith married Teddy Blount and they spent the next 25 years traveling with the military and raising their family of three girls, Donna, Sande and Claudia. They went to Taiwan, where Keith was assigned to the Taiwanese Air Force and the family lived in a former Japanese Kamikaze house. Keith was then assigned to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was instrumental in the modernization of the Air Force vehicle fleet, and as a result, was awarded his first Legion of Merit. In 1967, shortly after returning to the U.S. after an assignment with the RAF in Upavon, England, Keith's wife Teddy died suddenly. Keith was assigned to Scott AFB in Illinois as Director of Supply and Services for the Military Airlift Command. At Scott AFB, he met Major Louise Combs. They married at Scott AFB and after two years, when Louise was promoted to Lt. Col., went to Washington, D.C. Keith's final assignment was at the Pentagon, where he was Director of Military Supply Plans and Operations, and was awarded his second Legion of Merit. He and Louise retired together in 1973; he always said he had to retire before Louise outranked him.
The couple moved to Austin, Texas where they lived for the next 40 years. They enjoyed the many cultural activities in Austin and were members of the Austin Symphony, the Austin Lyric Opera and Ballet Austin. Keith particularly loved music and could sometimes be found sitting on a stool in front of the stereo, headphones on, eyes closed and swaying to the music. They made many friends in Austin and were always very active socially. Their daughters also lived in Austin at various times and their friends became Keith's and Louise's friends, and were considered part of the family. They made welcome anyone who came into their sphere. Keith lost Louise suddenly on May 27, 2012.
Daddy has always been a kind father who gave excellent advice to his daughters, whether they took it or not. He loved his children, grand-children and great-grand-children unconditionally, and taught us all what it meant to be honorable, both by his advice and his example. He taught us to be responsible for our actions, to care for and nurture our children and others, to be strong and stand up for ourselves and to see the humor in everything. Daddy, we will miss your warmth, your wit and your grace. We are so fortunate to have had you for our dad.