Bill T. Crawford, 99, of Columbia, passed away Thursday, December 7, 2017.
His passing marks the end of an era.
Bill was born August 30, 1918, in Howard County near Fayette. At 17-years old, he attended the first meeting of the Conservation Federation of Missouri in Columbia on September 10, 1935.
“Bill Crawford was a founding father of the Conservation Federation who went on to become a luminary known across the country for his contributions to conservation. He helped set the course of the greatest conservation movement any state has ever known,” said Brandon Butler, CFM executive director. “He was also one of the finest gentleman I’ve ever had the privilege to know.”
Bill was proud of studying under Rudolf Bennitt at University of Missouri where he obtained his Master’s Degree in wildlife biology. Upon graduating, Bill went to work for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). He spent 42 years with the department, rising to Chief of Wildlife Research. He is responsible for establishing the Natural Areas effort at MDC.
Bill was also actively involved in non-profit conservation work. There are too many accomplishments and accolades to list them all, but a few highlights include serving as president of the National Wildlife Society, president of the Boone County Historical Society, and co-founding the Missouri Prairie Foundation. He was awarded the Master Conservationist by MDC in 2010, the Conservation Federation of Missouri Distinguished Service Award and the E. Sydney Stephens Professional Wildlife Award from the Wildlife Society.
Thankfully, efforts were made to collect and preserve some of Bill’s vast amount of knowledge. He was a recent guest on the Conservation Federation Podcast. He was also the subject of a short film created by CFM, and was featured in a recent article in the Missouri Conservationist.
“I learned from Bill that, for most of us who work in the field of conservation, it’s not a job,” Butler said. “It’s a life, it’s a calling and it’s something that is to be taken seriously but also to be enjoyed. I will always be thankful to have known him.”
Friends will be received from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, December 14, 2017, at the Parker-Millard Funeral Service located at 12 East Ash Street in Columbia, Missouri. Funeral Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, December 15, 2017, at the First Christian Church. Interment will follow in Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Fayette.