Patrick James Crawford, age 92 of Shawano, gently passed away on Sunday, August 19, 2018, surrounded by his adoring children and cherished wife, Ruth, of 67 years. While bathed in the radiant light of God’s love from a magnificent sunset on the Wolf River, Ruth comforted him with kisses and affirmations of their love for one another. Shortly after Pat summoned the strength to kiss Ruth one last time and with the tender encouragement of his children and loving permission from Ruth, Pat transitioned peacefully from this life to his birthday in heaven.
Patrick was born on March 23, 1926 at a logging camp in Winter, WI to the late Alfred and Violet (McKendry) Crawford. His father and grandfather ran a logging camp in the Clam Lake area and his mother was the camp cook. World War II was raging when Pat graduated from high school at 17 in 1943. He spent a year at UW-Eau Claire until he could enlist in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF).
With the war over a year and a half later and a painstaking deliberation not to pursue a career as a bomber pilot, Pat returned to Wisconsin as a student, again at UW-Eau Claire and then UW-Madison. It wasn’t long before he was back in northern Wisconsin working with this father when the crosscut saw and horse logging era was coming to an end.
It was at this stage of his life that he met his loving wife, Ruth Paulick. They were married on June 30, 1951. After a honeymoon in Oregon, Pat worked logging jobs falling the huge timber in the Northwest but homesickness got the better of them and they returned to Hayward, Wisconsin where they began their family.
In 1963, the family moved to Shawano and Pat began working for Menominee Tribal Enterprises. He always felt gratitude to the Menominee Tribe for offering him a job in this wonderful community. It was Pat’s passion for logging and the forestry industry that led him to develop selective cutting equipment.
His innovative mind was always at work as he looked for better ways to log and haul on the challenging conditions. These early endeavors with machine design and innovation became Timbco Hydraulics, and at age 55, Pat became known as the father of this state-of- the art mechanized leveling track feller buncher. While Timbco Hydraulics grew to international levels, Pat became an icon in the forestry industry running his company based on simple virtues; honesty, integrity, compassion and generosity.
He took great pride in his company and employees and all became the “Timbco family”. Due to its position in the market, Timbco was pursued, and ultimately purchased, by Partek Forest, of Finland.
In 2002, at the age of 77, Pat started TimberPro Inc., which focused on wheeled (as opposed to track) forwarders and harvesters. For the second time in his career Pat found himself at the helm of a major forestry equipment manufacturer with a global reputation. Pat never desired to retire and was still making regular office visits until last week.
You would often hear Pat say, “I am the luckiest person on earth.”
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 67 years Ruth; their children, Kenneth (Janet) Crawford of Shawano, Cynthia (David) Jesse of Shawano, Mary (Peter Rebman) Tree of Green Bay, Mike (Tracy) Crawford of Shawano, Patrick Lee (Merrie) Crawford of Shawano, Katie (Mark) Schuh of Appleton, Sam (Wendy) Crawford of Shawano, Liz (Wes) Fleming of Whitefish Bay; 16 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; along with numerous other relatives and friends.
Patrick is preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Richard, and two sisters, Margaret and Joanne. Memorial services were held at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Father Luke Ferris officiating.
Inurnment was conducted in the church cemetery with military honors conducted by Shawano American Legion Post #117. Following the philanthropic nature of Pat and Ruth, the family is requesting memorials to be directed to the Ruth and Pat Crawford Family Foundation, which supports a variety of local charities.
We would like to extend many thanks to Heartland Hospice, especially Tina for her kind compassionate care. Also, a special thank you to the “Crawford Care-giving Team” led by Jenny Maltbey, for their devotion, which allowed our father, Pat to remain in his home.
~ The Crawford Family