Barbara “Bar” Crawford, Gram, passed away at the age of 100 years (and 4 months!) on February 28, 2023. She was born in Morris Plains on October 24, 1922 to her parents Carlton A. and Alice V. Dobbins.
She was an inspiring and independent woman who has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and all of modern day history.
She married her high school sweetheart, James G.R. Crawford on May 19, 1943. Jim was in the Army Corps of Engineers, serving in World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. She proudly told the story of how he survived the collapse of the Remagen Bridge in Germany during World War II. After the war, Barbara and Jim purchased property on Watnong Rd in Morris Township, the last available plot on the street. They built a beautiful 3 bedroom home where they lived with their two children, Jim and Linda.
Barbara was a secretary for Donald Kyle, as well as a school bus driver for Morris Township. She spent many happy years getting the children safely to school. Though she had retired from driving the school bus long ago, it was only at age 97 and during the first year of a global pandemic that Barbara decided she should no longer drive her car, a light blue 1995 Honda Accord. Barbara had an impressive driving record until she decided to give up driving even though her license was renewed by the state until she was 100!
Her beloved husband Jim died in 1980, and so Barbara lived on her own for over 40 years. She has always been an active and motivated woman who took pride in keeping up with her home. She loved to tend to her garden, cut the grass and trim the hedges, well into her late 90s! She proudly lived at her home for almost 70 years until she moved to assisted living in 2021 at the age of 98.
She also frequented the local YMCA where she was a member for 18 years and participated in water aerobics classes. She easily became friends with everyone in her classes and was an inspiration to all who knew her. Her group of ladies, known as The Mermaids, would celebrate everyone’s birthday with a party each month.
She outlived all of her classmates in the Morristown High School class of 1940. She had kept meticulous records over the years based on her yearbook and obituaries and from friends of her generation and attended her high school reunions until there were no more. She treasured her high school yearbook, carrying it with her and looking at it nearly everyday throughout the last several months of her life.
She is predeceased by all of her siblings. Carlton “Pete” Dobbins of Oregon, Virginia “Gin” Van Ness, Jean “Bunny” Osborne, and C. Edwards “Ed” Dobbins all of NJ.
She had two children and is survived by her daughter, Linda B. Kabis, and is predeceased by her son-in-law, Henry Kabis, III. Her son, James R. Crawford, also predeceased her. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Judith Crawford.
She is survived by her grandchildren - Kristin and husband Erik, Lauren and partner Charles, Michele and husband Michael, James and fiancé Gwen, Jeffrey and wife Gina, Kimberly, and Steven. Also surviving her are step-grandchildren Jennifer and husband Jay, David and wife Mary, and Mark. She is also survived by six great grandchildren - Courtney, Brooke, Morgan, Jeffrey, Adele, and Cameron. She is survived by nine step great-grandchildren - Landon, Kaeli, Evan, Elyse, Matthew, Kevin, Nate, Jackson and Josephine. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
She experienced the invention of television, although she loved listening to WOR talk radio daily through most of her life, watched the the moon landing, she exercised her right to vote in every single election from the time she was eligible to vote, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (which she later visited), 9/11, and the progression of the telephone to wireless (though she didn’t quite understand how it worked, she did get a cell phone in her 90s!). She made it through the Covid 19 pandemic and never contracted the virus. She was generous with her help to her family and loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and friends.
She often told the story of how happy she was as a child to get an orange in her stocking at Christmas time.
For a time, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels delivering food to home bound seniors, and later received many Meals on Wheels to her front door every week. She also believed in supporting her local ambulance squad, Morris Minute Men, with a donation every year.
She enjoyed handing out candy on Halloween to the many costume clad children in her neighborhood in all the years before the Covid-19 pandemic. She loved all her grandchildren and great grandchildren and enjoyed every visit that she had with them, often having her grandchildren over for sleepovers when they were growing up. Barbara’s granddaughters always enjoyed sleepovers at Gram’s house, especially the pancakes she made for breakfast, Lipton soup for lunch, and playing dominoes at the kitchen table for hours.
Barbara also spent a lot of time helping her daughter Linda, who makes personalized baby bibs. Barbara would cut out and sew countless bibs in her sewing room, and then her granddaughter Kristin would courier them to Linda who would add the baby’s name.
Barbara played an important part in The Seeing Eye puppy raising program by being “grandma” to the 33 puppies her daughter and and her children raised over the years. Those puppies all loved her.
She had a green thumb with a special Christmas cactus that had belonged to her mother and each year she tended it well and it bloomed in winter. Cuttings of that Christmas cactus are still growing in the hands of her grandchildren and surprised us with a bloom this year.
Barbara was known for bringing her famous homemade applesauce to any family gathering! Just apples and cinnamon.
Barbara was an accomplished seamstress and learned how to fix anything from her lawn mower to cement work on her home. If she was unsure how to repair something she asked how it was done and did it herself. If her family was unsure how to polish up a piece of jewelry or tarnished silver, Barbara knew just the trick. She has seen and accomplished more than words can capture, and will be dearly missed by her entire family.
Viewing will be held at Dangler Funeral Home in Morris Plains on Wednesday, March 8th, from 6-8pm followed by a service from 8-8:30 pm. Her interment and graveside service will take place at Restland Memorial Park in East Hanover on Thursday, March 9. Please meet and line up at the entrance of the cemetery at 11 am for a procession to the gravesite.
For those who wish to donate in her memory, you may donate to Morris Minute Men EMS, P. O. Box 192, Morris Plains, NJ 07950 or through their website, https://morrisminutemen.org/donate.
Donations are also appreciated to benefit The Seeing Eye, P. O. Box 375, Morristown, NJ 07963 or through their website, https://www.seeingeye.org/.