Just as loving as he was stern, and just as caring as he was generous, to know Ron Crawley was to love him. A hard working man his whole life through, Ron possessed numerous talents which allowed him to help others selflessly. His love for nurturing and enriching the lives of children and young people was beyond compare, and he found it to be a true blessing. For those who knew and loved him best, Ron will be missed and fondly remembered.
Ronald R. Crawley was the son of William and Ethel (Hansen) Crawley. Born on November 27, 1934, in Madison, Wisconsin, he was the twin brother of Donald Crawley, and together they joined their older brother, William. The brothers later welcomed the addition of two younger sisters, Shirley and Marlene. Times were lean as families struggled through the hardships of the Great Depression, and impending war overseas. People learned to find joy in the little things, like gathering around the radio or going to a picture show which freed their minds from everyday worries.
Raised on their family farm, there was never a shortage of work to be done. Ron’s father worked on the farm along with his construction job while his mother tended to their household. Although his father was a stern and strict man, Ron truly loved and respected him. From a young age he was taught a hard work ethic. He and his siblings had many chores they were responsible for on the farm, and from these experiences Ron learned a great deal. These talents went on to serve him well as he applied himself throughout all of his days.
Like many young boys, Ron shared numerous adventures as a kid, and he found his share of mischief a time or two, as well. Having attended the area schools, Ron left his education behind for a time after his ninth-grade year when he was needed to help on the farm more.
As a young man, Ron became quite smitten with a girl by the name of Julia Rice. He met Julia through her best friend, Luerae, who was dating Ron’s twin brother at the time. At a time when not too many women entered the Armed Forces, Ron was quite impressed when Julia entered the U.S. Air Force near the end of the Korean War. Ron followed suit, joining the Air Force in January of 1954 right alongside his twin brother, Don. While in the service, Ron was a military helicopter flight mechanic. When serving in Korea, his helicopter went down behind enemy lines, but thankfully he wasn’t injured.
Throughout this time, Ron’s relationship with Julia blossomed and on May 5, 1956, the young couple was happily married. Ron also completed his schooling while in the service, receiving his GED. Upon their honorable discharges, Ron and Julia were eager to truly begin their life together as husband and wife, and to start a family. Although their marriage came to an end in 1978, Ron was forever grateful for the five children they shared from their union, Debra, Robert, James, Patti, and Douglas. As a father, Ron was strict like his father before him, yet loving all the same. He enjoyed taking his family on vacations to visit his brother in Texas where great times were enjoyed by all.
Ron used the talents he learned working on the farm and went on to become a very good machinist. He worked for a number of companies in Milwaukee, and later, in other Wisconsin cities. He was also quite handy when it came to fixing things, which was just about anything he put his mind to! Family and friends would call on Ron for help with different projects and he never hesitated to lend a hand. Generous with his time and talents, Ron always helped out or taught others how to do things. In fact, he even taught his daughters how to change the oil on their cars, how to solder, and many other things.
Love was not lost for Ron. One night, he and a friend stopped at the Spectrum Tavern in Milwaukee where Ron struck up a conversation with the bartender. That very conversation with Evelyn “Sue” Sobiek led to a whirlwind romance, and on September 11, 1982, they were soon married in Burnett, Wisconsin. Together, Ron and Sue were partners in marriage and work. They came to own several different taverns through the years, including Ronnie’s Bar in Milwaukee, Ron & Sue’s Happy Landing in Fox Lake, Crawley’s Inn, also in Milwaukee, and Sue’s Hideaway in Eden. Besides running the bars and working as a machinist, Ron also owned a taxi cab for a time.
Ron and Sue eventually made their home in Mauston, Wisconsin where they opened their hearts and their home to over 60 foster children in the Juneau County area of Wisconsin. There they offered these children a safe, loving and temporary place to stay. Six of those children found a permanent home when Ron and Sue adopted them. As a couple, Ron and Sue were recognized by Governor Scott McCallum and the State of Wisconsin as “Quiet Heroes” for their loving foster care. Their love also extended to caring for Ron’s special nephew, Michael, and Ron’s granddaughter. Even though they made a lasting impact in the lives of young people together, Ron and Sue were later divorced in 2008.
In his free time, Ron enjoyed being around his family and he continued his love for helping others. He also liked fishing and hunting, especially in the company of family and friends. Just some of the wonderful things everyone loved about Ron, he was uniquely his own which endeared him to others. When Ron died suddenly after suffering a fatal heart attack, those who knew and loved him not only lost a loving father, brother, uncle, and friend, they lost someone with whom they could depend. Deeply loved and dearly missed, Ron lives on in the hearts of many.
Ronald R. Crawley, age 81, of New Lisbon, and formerly of Milwaukee, suddenly passed away on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2016. Cherished father of Debra Clements, Robert (Keri) Crawley, James (Aime) Crawley, Patti Liebig, Douglas (Chris) Crawley, Robin Crawley, Lisa Crawley, Victoria (Jeff) Tanner, Dennis (Heather) Crawley, Amber (Gary) Diaz and Rose Crawley; dear brother of twin, Donald (Luerae) Crawley and William (Greta) Crawley; former husband of “Sue”. He is further survived by his special nephew, Michael Minor; 26 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren, other relatives and friends.
Visitation Tuesday, June 7, 2016 from 4:00 PM until the time of his funeral service at 7:00 PM and Wednesday, June 8, 2016 from 9-10 AM at the Niemann / Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes, 2486 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, 414-744-5156 followed by a procession to Forest Home Cemetery for interment. To share a favorite memory or photo of Ron and to sign his online guestbook, please visit www.SuminskiFuneralHome.com.