Richard Lee (Rick) Crawford passed away peacefully, surrounded by many friends and the “love of his life”, JR, on Monday, July 18, 2022, in Amarillo, Texas. Rick was 71 years old and was born on March 6, 1951, in San Antonio, Texas. Rick was a loving husband, an inspirational big brother (to Michael and Stevie), an awesome uncle and a dedicated and loyal friend to so many people that knew him. But Rick’s greatest legacy was his lifelong love for, and devotion to, the State of Texas.
Rick spent the first few years of early childhood in Fort Worth, until his family moved to Amarillo in the summer of 1959. Rick attended Olsen Park Elementary, Crockett Junior High and Tascosa High School. Rick was not only an outstanding football player, but he was always one of the team leaders. Those leadership qualities easily transferred into his personal life, his social activities and all of his many friendships. Simply put, Rick was a natural born leader and as a young man, “Ricky” Crawford was cool.
After high school, Rick attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he became a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and obtained his Texas Real Estate License, which he used to work his way through school. Rick had a great devotion for his SAE fraternity brothers and “all things” Texas. Rick loved his time in Austin and enjoyed the University of Texas so much, he managed to stay in school, beyond the traditional timeframe. Rick graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, with emphasis in Real Estate and Finance. After graduating, Rick returned to Amarillo and started his very successful career in the commercial real estate business, where he spent the next 12 years.
In 1988, Rick’s life changed forever, when he met an amazing lady named JR and decided to run for the Texas House of Representatives, District 87. After winning the election, Rick returned to Austin, as State Representative Richard Crawford, in January of 1989 and began the first of his two terms representing his District, which was comprised of Potter County. During his time in the Legislature, he co-sponsored and successfully passed a number of pro-business bills, including the Worker’s Compensation Reform Bill, and later, he co-authored the Wilson-Crawford Bill, which established the Texas Lottery. It didn’t take long for Rick to become well very known and highly respected in the hallways of the State Capitol and on the House Floor.
Rick decided not to run for a third term, and in 1993 he became Special Assistant to House Speaker James E. “Pete” Laney, where he oversaw the $192 million Capitol Restoration project on behalf of the House of Representatives. In that role, he also coordinated and monitored legislative affairs and acted as the Speaker’s representative on the Texas Bond Review Board. In 1995, Rick became the Executive Director of the Texas State Preservation Board (Chaired by then Governor George W. Bush), which was charged with the planning, design, development and operation of the $78 million Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Rick held that position until 2003 and managed multiple Capitol projects, including the South Capitol Grounds Project and the re-development of the Capitol’s Parking System. Rick loved his 15-years of service to the State of Texas.
Rick moved back to Amarillo in 2003 and returned to the commercial real estate business, where he spent the last 19 years. On August 8, 2003, Rick married Janis Wilson in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which allowed many of his friends and family members to finally know JR’s real name. Rick and JR enjoyed many years “at home” in Amarillo and were members of the First Presbyterian Church. Rick and JR relished spending time with family and friends over food, drinks and spirited conversation. They shared their love for the Texas Longhorn’s and never missed a big game. Although, no longer employed by the State of Texas, Rick remained involved with both state and local political issues. Rick was an active member of the Amarillo Association of Realtors and several commercial real estate trade groups.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Dolores Crawford; his admired step-father, Paul Johnson of Dumas; step-brothers Johnny and Scott Johnson. Rick is survived by his devoted wife JR Wilson; his brother Michael and his wife Barbara; his brother Steve and his wife Lynn; sister-in-law Carol; brother-in-law Charley; step-sister Paula; nephews Stephen, Chase and Eric; nieces Courtney, Caley and Sarah and more than a dozen great-nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Rick’s life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, at 1100 S. Harrison in Amarillo at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 25, 2022. A reception at the church will follow the service and a brief graveside service will be held thereafter at Llano Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation may be made, in Rick’s memory, to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the American Cancer Society or the High Plains Food Bank.
9 Replies to “Richard Lee “Rick” Crawford”
My heart was broken when I heard of Ricky’s passing. We all had such fun times growing up. When Ricky, Stevie and Mike were with us we there was never a dull moment. All of his girl cousins in Fort Worth had such crushes on him. It is the hardest thing in this life to endure the loss of someone we love so dearly. My heart and prayers are with you JR, Steve and Michael. The memories will always be with each of us and in that small way it keeps Ricky with each one that dearly loved him.
May God comfort each of you knowing one day we will all see him again.
My heart goes out to each of you….Mike,Stevie and JR. We are so very, very sorry for your loss.
This is your cousin Sue. Ricky and I were really close in age. He was about 8 months older than me. I remember all the good times we had when you boys would come and we’d all go to the lake house. Giddy girl cousins so excited to be with all of you! I’ll never forget all the pranks you all played on Aunt Gladys, your Nanny. You all kept her in a tezzie. Her and your Mom were ya’lls biggest fans. We loved to hear the stories about you boys. She could always tell a good story about yall!
It’s hard to believe that we are the older generation now and such sad days when we lose one of our family. We look forward to a time when we will see Ricky again in the resurrection Jesus promised us at John 5:28-29. I love each of you dearly and we will be praying for each of you as you face the days ahead, that God will give you strength and endurance . So very sorry I couldn’t be there to support each of you. Much love and our deepest sympathy to each of you and Ricky’s entire family!
Your cousin Sue . Fort Worth, TX
My Thoughts & PRAYERS are with JR & your Family 🙏🙏.. You will be Missed, you did a lot for the state of Texas !!! We are Very Proud of you & all you Accomplished in your Life Time …. May you Rest in Peace..
Oh, when I found out about his death,I reflect back to the teenage years of my life spent in Amarillo and Dumas Texas with my wonderful family and how I had a blast with the 3 brothers. Rick,Mike and Steve Crawford. What a great bond with them I will take with with me to my grave!! May God Bless all of you . Rejoice in God that we will see him again some day. Love to all, Becky Brandrup
“Big Brother Rick”! I know we didnt see each other much in last few years, but you will always be my” big brother next door” on Alice Street! ! Hugs and prayers to JR, Steve and Mike!
Debi “Sampson” Stavenhagen
I am so sorry 😢😢 can not come now.
Am having a problem with my left hip
So am not walking very easily.
Even tho I haven’t seen Rick in years I think of him often and Steve and Michael
Prayers to the family and to JR 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️❤️
Thoughts and prayers are with JR and family. RIP Rick, you will be missed!
We wlll miss a true TEXAN who gave it all for the state!!!!