Jeff Crawford, Florida peanut leader, dies at 76

Jeff Crawford, Jr., of Marianna, Fla., passed away April 14 at the age of 76. He served on the Florida Peanut Producer’s Association Board of Directors from 1988-1995, and served as the organization’s president from 1993-1995. 

Jeff Crawford, Jr., of Marianna, Fla., passed away April 14 at the age of 76. He served on the Florida Peanut Producer’s Association Board of Directors from 1988-1995, and served as the organization’s president from 1993-1995. 

In 1995, he was hired to be the FPPA executive director, where he served until his retirement in 2003.  Crawford served in leadership roles for the Jackson County Farm Bureau, Florida Foundation Seed, Farm Service Agency, Florida Soybean Association, the County Planning Commission, and Chipola College.

Survivors include his wife, Katherine; son, Wilton and wife, Selina; brothers, Larry & Tim; three grandchildren.

Crawford was born September 6, 1938 in Marianna as the second son of Mattie Lourene Crawford and Jeff Crawford Sr. He graduated from Marianna High School in 1955 and completed his Associate of Arts degree at Chipola Jr. College in 1957. He started farming with his father at age 16 while attending Chipola.

According to his obituary, Crawford married Katherine Shepard June 21, 1959. He farmed peanuts, corn, soybeans, and watermelons for more than 50 years in Jackson County and Houston County. It was his true calling from God to make his living from the land as his father and grandfather had both done before him for many years.

He was a successful peanut farmer throughout his career and received numerous awards such as the Valor award for his significant contribution to the Southeastern Peanut Growers and leadership in the peanut industry; the Outstanding Farm Family of 1986 for Jackson County; the University of Florida IFAS Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2004; the Florida Peanut Producers recognition for major contributions to the 1995 Farm Bill; and Outstanding Service and Leadership as President of Jackson County Farm Bureau from 1987-1990.

He served as the Sunday school teacher to his sons and other teenage boys for about 8 years at the Malone United Methodist Church. He was a devout member of the Cliff Abbott Sunday School Class at Marianna First United Methodist Church.

He loved Gator football and attended games every year for more than 35 years. He became a private pilot in 1982 and enjoyed flying his Cessna Cardinal plane for 15 years. Jeff was an avid fisherman throughout his life and loved to fish in lamonia Lake, Lake Seminole, and the family ponds. He loved to fry fish for his wife, family, and friends on every occasion possible. He loved his family dearly and he was highly respected and loved by many friends and people that he touched and supported during his life.

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