Remembering James Crowder

It was Friday, December 23, 1927. Calvin Coolidge occupied
the White House. NBC’s “Music Appreciation Hour” was just
christened the “Grand Ole Opry.” Oklahoma’s Governor Henry S.
Johnston used the Oklahoma National Guard to keep the Oklahoma
House from meeting at the Capitol but was impeached despite his
tactics. The DOW has just broken 200 points for the first time. Frances
Wilson began her fateful attempt to become the first woman to fly
across the Atlantic. Byron Nelson defeated Ben Hogan by one stroke
at the annual caddy championship in Fort Worth, Texas; both were 15
years old. The Model A had just arrived. Duke Ellington and his
orchestra debuted that month at the Cotton Club in Harlem. “Putting pants on Phillip,” Laurel and Hardy’s
first “official” film as a star team, was showing in theaters alongside Cecil B. DeMille’s “Chicago.” And
in Oklahoma City, J.E. and Fay Crowder had a baby boy, James.
Before I was born, James Crowder survived the Great Depression and World War II, served two
years in the Korean War, and put himself through college. A lifelong accountant, he went on to serve as a
section chief at Tinker AFB.
A year after I graduated high school, Mr. Crowder began his second career as a public advocate
for the elderly. He joined his interest in history and politics, along with his skills in accounting and
writing. He became a powerful advocate for older Oklahomans. Mr. Crowder served in the National
Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), AARP, the State Council on Aging, the Silver-Haired
Legislature, the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, and the Oklahoma Aging Partnership.
In comparison, I only recently joined the advocates serving the elderly. I served alongside Mr.
Crowder in the State Council on Aging, the OSHL, and the OAoA. I always
saw him smiling, no matter how grievous the debate. He gave many reports
on finances and policy. He wrote many articles outlining the importance of
taking care of our older Oklahomans. And he always smiled. Even after the
most contentious meetings, he always smiled.
Many others in our advocacy groups may rival Mr. Crowder in
knowledge and motivation, but none have his smiling, disarming demeanor.
We lost that smile on September 5.
This is the most politically divided our society has been since the
Civil War. This is the time we need Mr. Crowder the most. We can no longer
have him stand beside us as we advocate for seniors. But we need to
allow him to inspire us as we reach across that which divides us, to unite for
that purpose we shared with him.
Rest in peace, Mr. Crowder. And thank you for all you have done
and all you continue to be for us.

Published by Ken Jones

Since 2006 I have worked at the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments where I am responsible for the Area Agency on Aging. In 2018 I began the most successful weight loss journey of my life.

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