Col. Raymond Keith Crowley
August 3, 1921 – July 27, 2013
Col. Raymond Keith Crowley (Keith), USAF, Retired, died peacefully at home surrounded by loving family on Saturday, July 27, 2013. He was one week shy of his 92nd birthday. He was our hero; a wonderful loving husband to two wives, a wise and wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Keith was born to Grace and Claude Crowley on August 3, 1921 in Kerens, Texas. The family soon moved to Corsicana, where Keith grew up and graduated from Corsicana High School in 1939. He started junior college at Hill Community College after high school, where he met Teddy Blount, whom he later married. Keith enlisted in the US Army Air Corps (later the United States Air Force) in 1940 at the age of 18. The Air Force was his career for the next 33 years, and he distinguished himself by rising from the rank of private to full colonel, and twice earned the Legion of Merit, the highest peace time medal awarded in the Air Force.
In 1942, Keith married Teddy Blount and they spent the next 25 years traveling with the military and raising their family of three girls, Donna, Sande and Claudia. They went to Taiwan, where Keith was assigned to the Taiwanese Air Force and the family lived in a former Japanese Kamikaze house. Keith was then assigned to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was instrumental in the modernization of the Air Force vehicle fleet, and as a result, was awarded his first Legion of Merit. In 1967, shortly after returning to the U.S. after an assignment with the RAF in Upavon, England, Keith’s wife Teddy died suddenly. Keith was assigned to Scott AFB in Illinois as Director of Supply and Services for the Military Airlift Command. At Scott AFB, he met Major Louise Combs. They married at Scott AFB and after two years, when Louise was promoted to Lt. Col., went to Washington, D.C. Keith’s final assignment was at the Pentagon, where he was Director of Military Supply Plans and Operations, and was awarded his second Legion of Merit. He and Louise retired together in 1973; he always said he had to retire before Louise outranked him.
The couple moved to Austin, Texas where they lived for the next 40 years. They enjoyed the many cultural activities in Austin and were members of the Austin Symphony, the Austin Lyric Opera and Ballet Austin. Keith particularly loved music and could sometimes be found sitting on a stool in front of the stereo, headphones on, eyes closed and swaying to the music. They made many friends in Austin and were always very active socially. Their daughters also lived in Austin at various times and their friends became Keith’s and Louise’s friends, and were considered part of the family. They made welcome anyone who came into their sphere. Keith lost Louise suddenly on May 27, 2012.
Daddy has always been a kind father who gave excellent advice to his daughters, whether they took it or not. He loved his children, grand-children and great-grand-children unconditionally, and taught us all what it meant to be honorable, both by his advice and his example. He taught us to be responsible for our actions, to care for and nurture our children and others, to be strong and stand up for ourselves and to see the humor in everything. Daddy, we will miss your warmth, your wit and your grace. We are so fortunate to have had you for our dad.
- Memorial Service Saturday, August 3, 2013
Col. Raymond Keith Crowley
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Col George O Lewis, USAF (Ret)
September 1, 2013
Thank you,Raymond, for your service to our country.
Forrest Lee Green
August 27, 2013
I am late in offering my heartfelt love and wonderful memories of Keith. We became friends in highschool. We joined the United States Army Air Corps (Later Air Force designation) together in 1940. For 75 years we visited, corresponded and in later life, after retirement, we traveled together with Louise and my wife, Alta.. We traded visits between their home in Austin and ours in Brier, Washington. as often as we could. Alta passed away in January of last year and her wondergul friend, Louise, also joined the Heavenly Throng 4 months later.
I could write a book about Keith which would be redundant as he wrote his own "Book" in the dignity and general manner in which he lived.
I have a fine photograph of Keith in his wonderful uniform he wore with such dignity. September 8, 2010 I attached a tab at the bottom stating: " Who's First and Who Stays"?
He won as he is with Jesus!
Forrest Lee Green, Bothell, WA
August 10, 2013
Uncle Keith was a wonderful, caring and respected man that I thought the world of. He touched the lives of all that he came in contact with. He was a person who could not say a word and gained respect. I am a better person for knowing him. Whenever we got a chance to talk I always felt I could learn something from him that would help me in life. He will be missed, but never forgotten. Donna, Sandy and Claudia if you ever need anything - I am there for you!
August 5, 2013
To Claudia and your entire family,
We are sending condolences to you for the loss of your father. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but wish I had after reading all about him. May his memory always be a blessing to you.
Tammy and Neil Kimmelman
August 4, 2013
Colonel Keith was a wonderful man. He will be missed on this earth but he left a legacy of love and kindness that will carry on. Our condolences to the family. Love from Karen and Mark Ortosky, and from our Sean. Tuna fish. :)
Nuala Donnelly Elges
August 3, 2013
My heart is with you all at this time. He was a wonderful man and it was pleasure to have known him, Take peace in all the loving memories!
Janice E. Davenport
August 2, 2013
Dear Crowley Family,
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with "The Colonel" and to grow to love him during these past few months. He was quite the gentleman and my life is blessed for having that opportunity.
August 2, 2013
To the Crowley family, I'm so sorry to hear of your father's passing. What a wonderful man he was. My parents had the pleasure of knowing your father, and mother Teddy, when he was stationed in San Angelo TX. They also had the pleasure of meeting Louise and getting to know her. Our family has many fond memories of Keith from the stories we've heard through the years. I know our Mother will be deeply saddened when hearing of Keith's passing. May your memories help you through this time of transition.
Dick and Tinie Bainter's daughter, Barbara Bainter Valentin
August 1, 2013
The Crowley Family
Dear Donna, Sande, and Claudia
Your father was a dear, cherished friend of mine and my late husband Dr. Joe Goldberger.
They played golf every week. We loved Keith and Louise very much.
I send my deep sympathy to each of you and my prayer for your comfort.
With Love, Floylee Goldberger
July 31, 2013
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.