Lieutenant Colonel Crawford E. Hicks, U.S. Air Force, retired, passed peacefully in his sleep during the early hours of Saturday, October 2, 2021, at the age of 100. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 46 years, Rene Baron Hicks, his parents, Elmer and Myrtle, his brother Edward, and his sisters Marguerite and Dorotha. He leaves his second wife, Edna Wells Davis Hicks and their two dogs, Ande and Demelza, as well as three sons, six grandchildren, and thirteen great grandchildren.
Crawford was born on February 10, 1921, in Leitchfield, Kentucky to Myrtle Helen Crawford Hicks and Elmer Haden Hicks. He grew up on a farm, and his early life taught him to live without waste and to relish homegrown food. As a boy, he dreamt of being a pilot, and in 1942 he joined the Army Air Corps cadet program. He piloted a B-17 during WWII, flying missions out of Polebrook, England. When his plane was shot down on his 10th mission, all the crew members survived but one, and Crawford and the remaining crew safely parachuted out of the burning B-17. Crawford was captured and imprisoned at Stalag Luft 3 near Zagan, Poland, where he spent eleven months as a POW. After a grueling forced march through a wintry German landscape, on April 29, 1945, he was liberated by General Patton.
After the war Crawford married Rene Baron, became a father, and spent another two decades in the U.S. Air Force. During his Air Force career, he taught ROTC at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, spent 3 years in Alaska, and 7 years at Robins Air Force Base working in the Office of Special Investigations. He retired from the Air Force in 1967 and he and his family moved to Atlanta where he practiced law.
After Rene died in 1990, he moved to Macon, Georgia, taking advantage of its proximity to Robins AFB. He enjoyed the camaraderie at the Robins Officers’ Club, and it was there that he met Edna. They shared a surprising connection: while Edna was in London during the WWII blitz, Crawford had been defending her country against the Nazis. They married in 2003. Crawford and Edna found each other late in life and for eighteen years their love filled every family gathering and was an inspiration to all.
Family was Crawford’s joy, and he relished time with his sons spent traveling, golfing and gathering for the Super Bowl every year, and just spending time together. He was just as enthusiastic about spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren who adored and cherished him.
Crawford attended Mount Calvary Lutheran Church. He was a member of The Caterpillar Club, the former Robins AFB Officers’ Club, the 39th Flight Order of Daedalians, Military Officers Association of America, and was also the commander of POW meetings in Middle Georgia. He spoke frequently at military and ROTC events as well as schools, where he took delight in answering questions.
In the Air Force, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and received many honors for his service including an Outstanding Unit award with a bronze star, a Prisoner of War Medal, a WWII Victory Medal, an Air Force Commendation Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, an Air Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, and an Air Force Longevity Service Award with four oak leaf clusters. He was presented with a Prisoner of War medal by former Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz. Crawford also authored a book recounting his extraordinary experiences as a WWII POW entitled, “Prisoner of War: Memoirs of Crawford E. Hicks.” Crawford would have protested at being called a hero. Nonetheless, many of us see him as a war hero, and many of us also see him as a hero of the everyday life, one who took a genuine interest in others and whose warm presence was both joyful and dependable. Crawford had a generous spirit and joy that allowed him to make new friends and new fans wherever he went. He saw everyone as equal and treated them that way. Edna describes Crawford as the biggest flirt one could meet. He loved to help people, had a contagious smile, and never met a stranger.
Gratitude was a constant refrain in his life, and he often said, “Count your blessings,” remarking at how blessed he himself was. Crawford led by example, rearing three sons to be like him, men of honor, a friend to all, and generous to those in need. His family lovingly called him “Daddy Warbucks,” and also “Crawfie.”
Throughout his life, he consistently met adversity with good humor and resilience, refusing to let the trials and tribulations of life bring him down. He never gave up on life, on people, or on relationships. He made his family proud and will continue to make them proud with the life he lived. The loss of this one-of-a-kind man will be felt far and wide.
Left to treasure Crawfie’s memory are his wife of 18 years, Edna Wells Hicks; sons, Steve Hicke (wife, Donna), Rob Hicks (wife, Margie), and Doug Hicks (wife, Julie); grandchildren, Adam (wife, Amy), Corey (husband, Drew), Jayme (husband, Geoff), Jason (partner, Lily), Kristina (husband, Chad), and Bradlee (wife, Emma); and great grandchildren, Madelyn, Joseph, James, Mathew, Natalie, Scout, Tommy, Sarah Jane, Daniel, Meredith, Bodie, Ansel, and Orson, as well as the many others who knew and loved him.
We’ll miss you Crawfie.
The family will receive visitors from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18, 2021 at McCullough Funeral Home. A service celebrating Crawford’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church. Crawford will be laid to rest at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 in Andersonville National Cemetery with full military honors.
For friends unable to attend at this time, the funeral service will be livestreamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReIg5RFjeVc.
The service at Andersonville will be streamed live via the McCullough Funeral Home Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcculloughfuneralhome/live/.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations be made in Crawford’s honor to Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 336 Carl Vinson Pkwy, Warner Robins, GA 31088.
Learn more about the measures McCullough Funeral Home is taking to ensure the health and safety of our guests at www.mcculloughfh.com. There you can also sign an Online Registry for the family. McCullough Funeral Home and Crematory has the privilege of being entrusted with these arrangements.
Monday, October 18, 2021
6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)
McCullough Funeral Home