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Joe Crawford's personal website.

October 2010 Six posts

Phyllis Crawford, Obituary

Phyllis (Silva) Crawford, 64, of Roanoke, Virginia, daughter of Jesus and Phyllis Silva of San Diego, California, died on October 27, 2010 after a three year and four month battle with Stage IV renal cell carcinoma. Phyllis was a devoted wife, mother and friend. She was an active parishioner of Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church and member of the Secular Franciscan Order. A Roanoker for 21 years, Phyllis volunteered with the Christian Women’s Club, trained as a court appointed special advocate with the Child Health Investment Partnership, and visited the sick as a pastoral care minister for OLN. In recent years she served as a docent at the Art Museum of Western Virginia and volunteered at Roanoke Area Ministries in their soup kitchen and served on their board.

Phyllis was a graduate of Morse High School and attended San Diego State University. She starred in plays both in high school and in a North Carolina playhouse during the 1970s. She loved cooking and music with Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Michael Bublé being special favorites. She was an avid traveler, visiting over thirty countries in her lifetime, celebrating her fiftieth birthday on the Great Wall of China. Phyllis played tennis for years until her illness stopped her, but she remained a competitive yet congenial bridge player.

Phyllis took nothing for granted. As the eldest of seven children of a truck driver, she experienced lean times growing up in San Diego. In the last ten years of her life serving the poor and hungry were most important to her. Her love of life and joyful spirit were an inspiration to many. Her beautiful, irresistible smile and laughter will never be forgotten.

She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Dr. James Crawford; son, Joseph (wife: Leah) of California and Roanoke; daughter, Kelly (husband: Daniel Smith) of Falls Church, Virginia; and six siblings, Francie, Bebe, Sandra, Mary Lou, Sally and Art, as well as many nieces; nephews; in-laws and four stepgrandchildren, Devon, Tyler, Tony and Alexandra.

A Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 5, 2010 at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church. A Memorial Mass will be held at 1p.m. on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church at 2505 Electric Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24018.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to her favorite causes: Roanoke Area Ministries and/or Madonna House of Roanoke. At the very least, please pass along a kind act, word or deed with a smile in memory of Phyllis.

Update On My Mom’s Condition

See: Phyllis Crawford, Roanoke, Virginia

Phyllis Silva Crawford’s Life Lessons

In 2010, Phyllis Crawford’s daughter-in-law Leah Peterson asked her to contribute to a book about the lessons learned in life. These are what she shared.

I believe we were created by God and when we get to the end of our life he won’t be concerned with our job title or financial status. I think he will ask us if we became the best that we could be and did we help others to grow and become better. Did we give each and every person the respect and dignity they deserved. Every single day is an opportunity to love one another. It is a joy to stand in awe and wonder at a persons beauty, goodness and uniqueness. We are all different and can never be replaced. We all have different fingerprints. No two are alike. I think that is amazing.

I have stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma and I don’t know how much longer I have on Earth but I see God in Everyone. Spending time with my Family and Friends is all that matters. In the past I did a lot of volunteering and didn’t have much time for my Friends and now with my illness I have the luxury of spending more time with them. I have been nurturing my relationship with a few close friends. I am closer to my Husband and Children than I have ever been. To me that is truly a gift. I am so grateful for everything, I have learned to be thankful in good times and bad times. It’s just great to be alive and I take nothing for granted.

I truly believe our bodies are a temple of the holy spirit and we should take good care of it. We should exercise, get plenty of rest and eat nutritiously every day.

I always see the glass half filled not half empty. This life is a beautiful journey and God is not finished with us. Each day we are becoming. God is the God of surprises. Life is a mystery and grace filled. It is a special gift and it goes fast so enjoy every second of the day. And I do.

Many years ago Mr. Pigeon a psychology professor my Son encouraged me to take would consistently say “Be here now.” I was always looking ahead or looking back. It is good to plan for the future but one must be present and enjoy today. Bring out the good china and entertain your Family and Friends today. When I was in Italy one spring I ordered a diet coke and the man looked at me and threw up his hands and said, “Oh you Americans.” “You are going to die anyway why not have the real thing.” He was right, Life is short. When in Rome.

When I was in Rome with my children and husband I ordered coffee with my dinner and the waiter said “No no no you ruin your meal you must have wine with your meal. He was so right wine does improve a meal.

I remember my Father talking about moderation in everything. He was such a wise man and I loved him so much and really miss him. When I tend to go overboard on something I can still hear him say, “moderation in everything.” “Too much of one thing is not good.”

I have learned to listen intently to others. Sometimes I agree to disagree. And sometimes they can change my mind. I try not to be so rigid in my thinking. To be open to new ways of seeing is a good thing.

I have relationships that are life giving. Those that aren’t I let go. Some people have drained me and I just let them go.

There is beauty all around us. I live near the mountains and the scenery from my home is awesome. The deer sit on the lawn and come up to the bird feeder. Every day I look out and it is always new. For years I would take a long walk outside and every day was different. Look out at Nature every day and you will be nourished.

Set aside time to be silent. I am so happy to live in a quiet and sleepy little town. After my quiet time I read the Bible and I have learned so many gems. There are too many to count. I love Matthew 5 (the beatitudes) and Matthew 6 (about worry). I am like a sponge, I can’t seem to get enough. Every day I learn more and more how to live a better life. And my very favorite passage is from proverbs 3:56 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

While I was raising my children, I would allow them to make small decisions and give them good choices to choose from. If they were in the kitchen cooking, I would allow them to do it their way. When they were teenagers I was given great advice by a friend. She told me to zip the lip unless of course they were hanging out with the wrong crowd or getting into trouble. It is best not to probe them with questions. Instead, do a fun activity with them and they will confide in you.

I have enjoyed a great life with so many blessings. All I ever wanted was a beautiful life. I have memorized this passage from scripture and think it every day. It is from Philippians 4:8 Finally , brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, Whatever is right, Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

On the Eve of Jim & Phyllis’ Wedding

This is a time capsule from the night before my parents were married in June of 1968. It’s an audiotape made by my uncle Jerry at my Parent’s rehearsal dinner. It’s quite remarkable.

Who will you hear?
Who? Age  
James Crawford 21 Groom
Phyllis Silva 22 Bride
Art Silva   Father of the Bride
Phyllis Silva   Mother of the Bride
Francie Shartzer 20 Bridesmaid
Clint Shartzer    
Mary Lou Silva 17 Bridesmaid
Sally Silva 10 Flower Girl
Artie Silva 4 Ringbearer
Norm Algarva    
Louella Algarva    
Rosie Contreras   Maid of Honor
Joseph Crawford 50 Father of the Groom
Jean Crawford 48 Mother of the Groom
Jerry Crawford 19 Best Man
Jody Crawford 14 Usher
Joan Crawford 12 Flower Girl
Jeannine Crawford 10 Flower Girl
Jacqueline Crawford 8 Flower Girl

These sound files are, I think, from the wedding itself, Ave Maria and The Our Father as sung at my parents’ wedding:

Download all these files in a Zip file

And a transcript::

John Crawford (brother): Here we are at ringside folks. In this corner. We have James Crawford and in the other corner we have Phyllis Silva. Before we hear the opening bell we have words of wisdom from the near corner Jim Crawford look it up.

Jim Crawford (groom): Hello posterity. Well this is really grim but it’s very nice too. I’m looking forward to my marriage and I hope I have a wonderful time. I hope everybody else has as good a time as happy as I am. Thank you.

John Crawford (brother): Now the undefeated champion from Morse High School, Phyllis Silva.

Phyllis Silva (bride): I’m very excited and happy and I hope everything turns out and everybody has a wonderful time. I’m Phyllis Silva.

Jim Crawford (groom): I have to leave now. I have to leave now for everybody. Thank you very much for coming. Mom. Dad. Everybody. Thanks very much for everything.

Art Silva (father): My name is Art Silva. Father of the bride to be. I wish them all the happiness in the world. To Jim and Phyllis.

Phyllis Silva (mother): My name is Phyllis Silva I’m the mother the bride. Heh heh. I’m very happy for both of them I hope everything turns out all right — even though it was a lot of work!

Frances Shartzer (sister): I’m Frances Shartzer. Phyllis’ sister. And I wish them all the luck in the world.

Clint Shartzer (brother-in-law): I’m Clint Shartzer brother-in-law to Phyllis, the bride, and I’m an usher and I hope both of them have a lot of happiness together and I hope they don’t have to be separated too long.

Mary Lou (sister): My name is Mary Silva and I’m a bridesmaid at Phyllis’ wedding and watch for me I’ll be coming down the aisle!

Sally Silva (sister): My name is Sally. I’m the flower. I’m the sister of Phyllis Silva. And I’m gonna be a flower girl in the wedding.

Artie Silva (brother): Hi. (Come on.): My name – Artie Silva. And I’m a ringbearer. Jim and Phyllis Wedding.

Norm Algarva (friend): Mary had a little lamb. I hope Phyllis and Jim do better. This Norm Algarva – a friend of Phyllis and Jim. I hope.

Luella Algarva (friend): I’m Louella Algarva and I’m going to sing Ave Maria and the Lord’s Prayer at the wedding.

Rosie Contreras (maid of honor): I’m Rosie Contreras and I’m the bridesmaid of the future Mr. and Mrs. Crawford. And I’m very honored and happy to be here. And I wish them all the luck in the world.

Joe Crawford (father): This is Mr. Crawford father of the groom. I’m looking forward to event. This is my first son to be married. And. I wish them a very happy and successful marriage.

Jean Crawford (mother): I’m Jean Crawford. The mother of the groom. And I think we’re very fortunate to have the Silva family joining our family. I wish them all the luck in the world.

John Crawford (brother): I’m Jerry and I’m the Best Man. And this is my tape recorder so I’m important. They have a good marriage and they sure did scoop a lot of presents.

Jody Crawford (brother): My name is… my name. My name is Jody Crawford I guess. And I’m a usher at my brother’s wedding. My brother’s getting married to Phyllis. I wish the best luck to both of them.

Joan Crawford (sister): My name is uh Joan Crawford and I’m gonna be a flower girl at my brother’s wedding. He’ gonna be married to Phyllis over there. I hope they have a nice marriage.

Jeannine Crawford (sister): Hi my name is Jeannine Crawford and I’m gonna be a flower girl at my brother’s wedding. Thanks Jim. And he’s gonna get married to a girl named Phyllis and all of our families are going to be in the wedding. So that’s nice. And I hope you have a good marriage.

Jacqueline Crawford (sister): My name is Jacqueline Crawford. I’m a flower girl. … Jim and… Jim and Phyllis are going to get married. (Giggles): And best wishes for both of them.

Rosie Contreras (maid of honor): Oh. Hi I’m Rosie Contreras and I made a booboo. I said I was a bridesmaid but I am the maid of honor.

Phyllis Singing Karaoke

She did not want to sing karaoke, she was pretty clear about that. So the crowd (which is to say her sisters and cousins and family) let her be. Then, after a while, she got up and sang a wee bit of Sinatra.

That’s part of the spirit that has everyone remembering her and saying such wonderful things about her. She really was so young at heart. This was back in July this year, before a massive stroke incapacitated her.


Phyllis Crawford, Roanoke, Virginia

Update, October 27, 2010

In the early morning, October 27, 2010, Phyllis Crawford died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family. Details about services will be posted at a later date. She died as she lived, defying and exceeding expectations. We pray we can honor her memory, and we thank everyone for the outpouring of love, support, prayers and sympathy.

I encourage you to read her and see her singing Karaoke from this past Summer, or hear her from the eve of her wedding in 1968, I also strongly encourage you to read Phyllis Silva Crawford’s Life Lessons.

Originally this post was entitled “Phyllis Crawford Update, October 15, 2010”

October 15, 2010

This morning at 2am my mother was awakened and had severe headache. We called paramedics and got her to the hospital after she became unresponsive and now she’s in the hospital in the Intensive Care Unit here in Roanoke. She has a severe bleed, a bleed so bad that it’s basically inoperable, that has caused her to be unresponsive and the doctors suspect there is not much time left.

She has had tremendous quality of life the past 3 1/2 years, and battled like a champ, but things seem grim.

Prayers welcome.