Mary Louise Crawford

1926 - 2017

SANTA BARBARA, Ca. - Mary Louise Crawford, 90, died peacefully at the Serenity House on Tuesday March 21, 2017, surrounded by her loving family. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio she was the daughter of the Edward and Ester Cordes. Mary Louise (Mary Lou) was predeceased by her parents and brother William (Bill).

Born on September 29, 1926 and educated in Cincinnati, Mary Lou served as a nurse immediately following World War II in Ohio and Kentucky where she cared for returning veterans. She wed one of her patients, Dr. Robert (Bob) W. Crawford after he recovered his health in 1949. Survived by her husband Bob, the couple enjoyed over 67 years of marriage.

Under the G.I. Bill, Mary Lou and Bob moved to New Haven, Connecticut where Bob attended Yale University. They later established their household in Princeton, New Jersey where Bob completed his doctoral studies in Islamic History at Princeton University. The spouse of an American diplomat, Mary Lou accompanied Bob on his postings in Damascus, Syria, in Rabat Morocco, and in Washington, D.C. during the 1950s. After Bob left the U.S. State Department, the couple and their five children settled in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York during the 1960s. Later Mary Lou, Bob, and family relocated to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area in the early 1970s where Bob was President of the Spring Hill Conference Center.

While Mary Lou and Bob called the world their home, they found special joy in rural Mt. Holly, Vermont where they purchased a second home in the mid-1960s. The family spent many summers at their hilltop farmhouse surrounded by over one hundred acres of fields, forests, streams, and ponds. By the mid-1970s Mary Lou, Bob, and children moved permanently to Mt. Holly. Active in her community, Mary Lou trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and served for many years on the Mt. Holly Rescue Squad. Mary Lou established lifelong friendships with her Mt. Holly neighbors and maintained contacts with them across the ensuing decades.

After their youngest graduated college and established her independence, Mary Lou and Bob moved to Dorset, Vermont. The house, only a few hundred feet away from the village, was known for the beautiful gardens Mary Lou planted and maintained. Always dynamic in her community, Mary Lou acted as a member of the Dorset Playhouse troupe.

Lovely as it is in spring, summer, and autumn, Vermont does feature some particularly long winter months. As Bob gradually cutback on his work, he and Mary Lou contemplated retirement in warmer climate. They found Santa Barbara, California offered a vibrant community, was rich in the arts, and that it featured a scenic location surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez mountains. The couple moved to Santa Barbara in the early 1990s.

Ever the artistic person, Mary Lou found great pleasure in Santa Barbara’s arts and craft community. She regularly attended instructional classes at the community college and created many wonderful stained glass pieces, some of which adorn the homes of her family members. Mary Lou became an expert in Japanese bunka needlepoint and enjoyed sharing techniques and ideas with her many friends.

A resident of Santa Barbara for nearly 25 years, Mary Lou was always pleased to share her and Bob’s hospitality with visiting family members from ‘back east.’ During the cold months in New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington State the family happily visited Santa Barbara and shared many wonderful dinners and conversations with Mary Lou and Bob. It was with delight that visitors heard stories of Mary Lou’s and Bob’s world travels, adventures, and thoughts on local, national, and world affairs. She and Bob loved living in the Santa Barbara canyon area surrounded by their art, memories, deep love, and companionship.

Mary Louise Crawford is survived by her beloved husband Robert of 67 years; her children Robert (Maria), Edward (Susan), Mark, Scott, and Jan (David) Hennessy; eleven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. The family particularly wants to thank Mary Lou’s Montecito, California cousins Susan and Gary Gulbransen for their friendship and support.

Services will be private for family members. Those who wish to remember Mary Lou in a special way may donate to the Santa Barbara Humane Society of 5399 Overpass Road, Santa Barbara, CA, 93111.

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