Vickie Crawford, 55

"She thought that everyone should get a birthday card,"

Obituaries: Librarian was dedicated to students, family

Librarian was dedicated to students, family The Huntsville Times, AL

By MARIAN ACCARDI Times Staff Writer

Vickie Crawford of Athens was a career teacher, and her passion for getting students excited about reading was so strong that she returned to school in her late 40s so she could become a librarian.

"Vickie realized how important it is for children to learn how to read and to develop a love for reading," said Joe Jackson, the principal at Athens Middle School, where Crawford was a librarian. "Lives have been enriched because of their experience with her."

Crawford even spent two summers driving back and forth to Livingston to take courses toward earning a master's degree in library media - her third master's degree - from the University of West Alabama. She was the librarian at Athens Middle School for about four years until taking medical leave, then she retired last year when she was unable to keep working because of the effects of Lyme disease.

Crawford died Sept. 10 at age 55. She is survived by her husband, Gary Crawford; two sons, Aaron Crawford and Tyler Crawford; a stepson, Michael Sean Crawford; her father, Charles Griffin, and mother, Irene Griffin; seven grandchildren; two brothers, Derald Griffin and Harrison Griffin; and two sisters, Glenda Collier and Charlene McClendon.

"She thought that children should be raised in a wholesome environment and be encouraged to read at an early age," said Gary Crawford. "She loved getting children interested in reading."

Vickie was dedicated to making Athens Middle School's library "a center of learning," Jackson said. "She worked extremely hard at that.

"She was a special person because of her commitment to education and her desire to make a difference with children."

After earning a master's degree in physical education from Jacksonville State University, Vickie Crawford taught P.E. at Brownwood Elementary School in Scottsboro. She also taught kindergarten at First Baptist Church preschool in Athens for a few years. While teaching at Athens Elementary, she earned a second master's degree, this one in early childhood development. She also taught at Elkmont Elementary.

Even the years when the Crawfords' sons were young and she took time off from teaching, Vickie was a volunteer at their schools.

"She always had the best interest of the students in mind," said Jane Lynn, a part-time library aide at Athens Middle School. "She was very dedicated to her job. She always wanted to make sure everything was taken care of."

Lynn recalled that Vickie was always smiling despite her illness. "Even when she wasn't feeling well, she gave it her all."

Vickie was a caring person, always sending out get-well cards and birthday cards, her husband said. To keep track of the birthdays of family members and friends, she recorded them at the first of every year in a new calendar.

Even when the couple traveled, Vickie would take along a small pocket calendar so she wouldn't miss anyone's birthday. "She thought that everyone should get a birthday card," Gary Crawford said.