Crawley retires after 47 years

Published 11:27 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Ralph Crawley has retired from Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) after 47 years, a recent college press release stated.

School officials note that though his official title is the water/sewer supervisor, his experience and work ethic have made him the go-to person for a wide variety of projects during his tenure.

In addition to working in the Buildings and Grounds Department, he held many part-time jobs around campus, the release cited. These jobs included working in the dining hall, cleaning the church and serving on the Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department.

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Postmistress Shelby Asal has worked with Crawley in the fire department since the mid-1970s, officials said.

“He was one of the first community members to join the fire department,” Asal said in the release. “He joined right out of high school. Ralph is the kind of person you can call at 10:30 at night and say, ‘Ralph, I need help,’ and he says, ‘OK.’”

College officials cited that during Crawley’s decades at the fire department, he had worked alongside dozens of community members and more than 200 H-SC students.

Outside of his Hampden-Sydney duties, Crawley has also served as the president of the Prince Edward Area Firefighters Association.

Jim Pohl, retired food service director at Hampden-Sydney, worked with Crawley for many years in the Commons, officials added.

“When I first started, I asked a lot of questions,” Pohl said in the release. “‘Who works weekends?’ Ralph. ‘Who works nights?’ Ralph. ‘Who has the keys?’ Ralph. And Ralph was working part time. We meet millions of people in our lives, and you don’t come across people like him every day.”
Crawley’s impact in the broader Prince Edward community was on open display in 2012 when he became the focus of Good Neighbor Day in Farmville.

According to a 2012 Herald report, donations collected at Farmville’s participating florists, Carter’s Flower Shop and Rochette’s Florist, were presented to Crawley who was in need of a kidney transplant at the time. He had both of his kidneys removed in July 2012; they had become enlarged due to polycystic kidney disease, a disorder passed down through families.

The Herald report noted that a total of $4,500 was collected on Good Neighbor Day in 2012, and a check for that amount was presented to “Our Good Neighbor, Ralph Crawley,” as stated in the heading of a full-page advertisement in The Herald after the event.

Dr. Kenneth Townsend, Elliott Professor of Economics and Business at H-SC, stated in the Good Neighbor Day advertisement in The Herald, “Ralph Crawley is a singularly giving man. He is a friend when we are in need. As he recovers and resumes his busy life, he is now in need of our help.”

In its conclusion, the recent Hampden-Sydney release highlighting Crawley’s retirement echoed Townsend’s description of Crawley’s character. Officials cited that no one in the college’s Buildings and Grounds Department worked with Crawley longer than Paul Giles, assistant director of the physical plant. Giles summed up well the sentiments of many of Crawley’s colleagues: “He has been much more than a great employee. He has been a great friend.”