INDIANAPOLIS –Bill Crawford, who served as a state representative for four decades, died Friday. He was 79.
Crawford served in the Indiana State Legislature from 1972 through 2012, representing the 98th District in Indianapolis. He was the state’s longest serving African-American legislator.
“To the end, Bill faced death with dignity and courage. He fought the good fight in sickness as he did in health, and throughout his long career as a public servant,” Crawford’s wife Bernice and children said in a statement. “ Bill will be remembered here in Indianapolis, throughout the entire state of Indiana and this nation as a champion for the poor and disadvantaged.”
Crawford was born in Indianapolis, January 28, 1936, and was a Lockefield Gardens resident. He served in the U.S. Navy, and then worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He worked for Ivy Tech Community College for nearly 25 years, retiring in 2011 as Manager of Outreach Programs.
Crawford built a career as a community activist and servant. He was among the founders of Indiana Black Expo and served as a longtime board member and officer for the organization. He entered public service when the late Julia Carson convinced him to run for the legislature to represent the innner city.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Remembering Bill Crawford:
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R - Indianapolis)
"Bill Crawford was a deeply respected colleague in the Indiana House of Representatives. A consummate gentleman and constant advocate for Central Indiana, I had the honor to serve alongside Bill for many years. As a former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the longest-serving African-American legislator in our state's history, Bill leaves behind a sterling legacy of selfless public service. He will be truly missed."
John Zody, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman
“On behalf of the Indiana Democratic Party, we all mourn the loss of Chairman Bill Crawford. Simply put, he was an icon. In his 40 years of service to Hoosiers in the Indiana House of Representatives, Rep. Crawford fought hard for fiscal responsibility, equal rights and to give everyone a fair chance in our state. He also embodied service to his community and stood as an example of leadership to all who knew him. Indiana Democrats are saddened by the loss of one of our champions, and we will miss him.”
Greg Ballard (R), Mayor of Indianapolis
"Indianapolis lost a cherished community leader today. For decades, Bill Crawford championed civic causes and tirelessly advocated on behalf of the people and neighborhoods that make our city great. There is no denying how much he cared for his constituents and Indianapolis. My thoughts and prayers are with his family today."
State Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary)
"Without a doubt, Bill Crawford was the strongest fighter for the needs and concerns of African-Americans across the state. He will be sorely missed."
State Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis)
"Bill was a wise and thoughtful mentor for young legislators, who fought and continue to fight even after his retirement for those who were less fortunate. That was his legacy. We can honor his memory by continuing to fight."
Thomas Snyder, president of Ivy Tech Community College
“Bill Crawford was a tremendous asset not only to the state of Indiana, but to Ivy Tech Community College where he led a legacy of excellence for 25 years. He personified the mission and vision of Ivy Tech throughout his career and advocated on behalf of issues important to students and education in Indiana. He will be missed by the entire Ivy Tech family.”