Date of Birth
Date of Death
Howard Crawford, 88, of Elburn, former president of the Kane County Bank and Trust Company, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by the love and prayers of his family on Thursday afternoon January 17, 2008. BORNHoward was born in St. Charles, Il on September 3, 1919, the son of Harry and Mary (Geske) Crawford. He grew up in St. Charles, graduating from St. Charles High School as president of the class of 1937. EARLY YEARS:Following graduation, Colonel Baker himself, hired Howard at the McCornack Oil Company. In Howard’s own words, he was "just a grease monkey pumping gas" but in 1941, the world changed and Howard’s world changed as well. He enlisted in the Army in 1941 and a few months before going over seas, he married Jeanne Pobstman on April 29, 1943. By the time he was discharged in 1945, Howard had become a First Sergeant. They called him "Top" and indeed, in years to follow, Howard would rise to the top of his profession. Arriving home, Joe Anderson, the "father" of Colonial Ice Cream, invited Howard to speak before the town’s Rotary Club. The talk must have impressed Ivan Bunker, then chief executive officer of the St. Charles National Bank, who offered Howard a job that very evening. Howard worked as bookkeeper at the St. Charles National Bank for six years and was promoted to the position of Cashier. It was then that the call of family took him out of banking and sent him to work hand-in-hand with the people he would one-day serve as President of the Kane County Band & Trust Company. In 1951 a heart attack had incapacitated his father-in-law, George Pobstman, who owned and operated the Elburn Mill. In a heartbeat, a devoted Howard shed his suit, put on a pair of coveralls and took over the reins of Elburn Feed Mill. The staff at the Kane County Bank knew and loved him then, but they hated his coveralls as they tracked in feed and mill dust when Howard came to make deposits each day! Still, through the mill dust, Howard’s character and his sound business practice shone clearly and the day would come when history would reverse itself and Howard would return to banking.In 1958 Howard suffered a slipped disc and operation of the mill would have been impossible without the help of Dave Compton, Peter Stanoff and Bullet Halsey. Five months later, in 1959, as Don Hebert prepared to retire from Kane County Bank, he called to ask Howard if he’d like to get back to banking. "You bet!" was Howard’s enthusiastic response. He had only one suit and one tie, but that was enough to begin and two weeks later, the board hired Howard as Cashier. Just six years later, tragedy struck when then president, Dean Reeves suffered a fatal heart attack and the board turned to Howard to lead the bank as president. Howard’s first improvement at the bank was to purchase a small coffee pot from Glidden’s Drug Store, next door! That improvement was soon followed by the purchase of the bank’s neighboring buildings, C.M. Smith’s Grocery and Dr. AH Scheuneman’s office in order to make way for drive-through banking and a Trust Dept. Under Howard’s leadership, the bank grew from 5 million dollars in assets to 31 million and Howard did it all with a handshake and an unerring judge of character. In his sixteen years as president, business transactions went from hand registered bookkeeping to mechanical posting machines. Later, came the faster and more efficient electronic proof machine and then the computer age. Above and beyond his life as a banker, Howard Crawford was first and foremost a loving husband and father who cherished his wife and daughters. His girls remember that no matter what they wore or how they looked, their dad always saw them as "beautiful". Summer memories include many trips to Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin where Howard loved to fish for Muskie. As a man of the community, Howard was a proud member of the Daniel Simpson American Legion Post #678 as well as the Elburn Lion’s Club. Living just across the tracks from the fire department he was also a volunteer fireman for many years and deeply appreciated the way today’s fire department continued to help him when he was ill or took a fall at home. Howard was also treasurer of the Kaneland School District for a time and also served on the Elburn Village Council. Retiring in 1982, Howard continued to live nearby and in 1989, tragedy came to his home as his wife of 46 years, his beloved "Jeanne", suffered a stroke that took her life. As history unfolded in the lives of dear friends, Norma and Mayne Jensen, Norma was widowed in that same year. Through the months that followed, two long time friends fell in love and on September 12, 1990, Howard and Norma were married at St. Gall Church. Before that day ever dawned, the ever honest Howard confessed to Norma that he was not a well man and they might not have long. Indeed, less than a year later, Howard suffered a serious stroke. Except for Norma’s love and devoted care it might have been the end. But as Howard himself would later say, Norma gave me a reason to live – and live they did – every day with gratitude and love. SURVIVORS: He is survived by his wife, Norma of Elburn, IlTwo daughters, four grandchildren and "3.8" great grandchildren.Sue (Jerry) Black of Geneva, Il and their two children: Christopher (fiancee Krista Peippenberg) Black, of Buckeye, AZ and Julie (Adam) Nicolai of Lombard, IL who have one son, "Little Howie", Xander Howard Nicolai and one just six weeks from birth; Wendy Crawford of East Alton, IL and her two daughters: Maggie (Kevin) Kline of Alton, IL who have two children, Daniel William Kline and Christian Kline; and Katie Gessert, also of Alton, ILIn addition he leaves his caregiver Jenet Biazon, whose tender, loving care made such a difference for both Howard and Norma. PRECEDED: He is preceded in death by his first wife Jeanne, two sisters, Dorothy Crawford, and Esther Winter and one sister-in-law, Monica Kiesler.VISITATIONFriends may call at visitation hours at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, Monday, January 21, 2008 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm with a liturgical wake service to be held at 7:30 pm. FUNERAL:A mass to celebrate his life will be held at 10:30 am at the Church of St. Gall, Elburn, on Tuesday, January 22, 2008. The Rev. Monsignor Thomas Dempsey, former pastor of St. Gall Church, will officiate and interment will follow at St. Gall Cemetery, Elburn.MEMORIAL A memorial has been established in Howard’s name to benefit the Elburn Fire Department and other favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Howard Crawford Memorial Fund and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information please call 630-365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.
Pre-mass visitation will be held in the church hall from 9:30am to 10:15am.
A memorial has been established in Howard’s name to benefit the Elburn Fire Department and other favorite charities. Memorial checks may be made to the Howard Crawford Memorial Fund and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family at the same address or through his obituary at www.conleycare.com. For information please call 630-365-6414 or 1-800-8-CONLEY.