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Rondal "Ron" Crawford '54 February 16, 2024 10:29 AM updated: February 16, 2024 11:20 AM

Rondal Garlin Crawford 

October 24, 1932 - February 10, 2024 

Rondal Garlin Crawford, 91, of Fairfax Station, VA, passed away on February 10, 2024 surrounded by loved ones. Ron and his twin brother, Robert, were born in Hooks, Texas on October 24, 1932, to Robert Garlin and Minnie Avis (Edwards) Crawford.

Ron graduated from Hooks High School with honors in 1949. He attended Texarkana Junior College before transferring to Texas A&M University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1954. He continued his education at Southern Methodist University where he obtained a master's degree in Engineering Mechanics in 1962. He began his career in Dallas, TX and St. Louis, MO as an aircraft structural engineer for Chance Vought, Emerson Electric, and Temco Aircraft.

In 1961, he moved his young family to Huntsville, AL where he eagerly joined NASA working for Wernher von Braun. He was a member of the Research and Development Operations team for the Saturn V Rocket at Marshall Space Flight Center and later worked on the Apollo Lunar Launch program and the early phases of the Space Shuttle program. He holds a patent for the invention of a lightweight docking structure for space applications. In 1974, he transferred to the NASA headquarters in Washington DC. and moved to West Springfield, VA. After twenty-five years, he retired from NASA and then worked for Ford Aerospace before ending his career working at SAIC in 2000.

Ron was a devoted husband, father, Papaw (Papa), and friend of all he met. He loved to travel the world, especially by cruise-ship, with his beloved wife Sue of 51 years. Ron loved family reunions, dominoes, and peanuts. He enjoyed watching wildlife from his lake-side deck, canoeing the Shenandoah, and hiking in the mountains (especially around Lake Tahoe). He also loved researching family history (particularly in Charleston, SC); singing whatever, whenever, to whomever, and supporting his sports teams: Cardinals, Cowboys, and the Aggies. Ron was always a selfless servant of God and was a member and lay leader in Methodist churches throughout his life.

Ron is preceded in death by parents Avis and Robert; sister, Avis Mae Patterson; and twin brother Robert Edward.

Ron is survived by his wife Suzanne (Heiser) Crawford of Fairfax Station, VA; sister Janice Blair of Denton, TX; and children: Cathy Lynn Smith (Carleton), Cindy Crawford (Scott Larrimore), Gregg Hinnant Crawford (Ellen), and Patrick Garlin Crawford. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Neill (Corinne) and Andrew (Christine) Smith, Johnathon (Julie), Joey, Bailey, and Robert Crawford, and Laura Larrimore; and five great-grandchildren: Nathanael, Nicole, Carleigh, Charlie, and Clara.

The family is indebted to his selfless and loving caregiver, Shanna.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations for Alzheimer's support and research.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 1:00 PM followed by a reception at Burke United Methodist Church, 6200 Burke Centre Parkway, Burke, VA.


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