Harold Crawford
Photo by Paul Mullins

The “carrot king” died February 19, 2017, at the age of 90.

Look out across California’s San Joaquin Valley even today and you might catch the vision of a young Harold Crawford ’46. He saw a fertile land once called “the bread basket of the world” and knew it was an ideal place to grow carrots.

One of the nation’s premier growers and buyers of produce, Harold and company annually shipped 300 million pounds of fruit and vegetables to major chain retailers and wholesale distributors coast-to-coast. A patron of the arts and a man who strongly trusted in God, Harold believed in the work and mission of Seattle Pacific University.

The 1946 Seattle Pacific graduate and his wife, Gloria Lightle Crawford ’47, provided funds for the Hillford House residence of the SPU presidents; funds to construct the Crawford Music Building; and funds for the expansion of what was then called the home economics program. Most recently, Harold and Gloria established the Crawford Family Scholarship Endowment to provide scholarships for students in Family and Consumer Sciences, as they have done in the past for student-athletes.

The 1967 Alumnus of the Year, Harold grew countless tons of carrots for U.S. consumption. At the age of 20, he was made a partner in the family’s produce business. Three years after graduation from Seattle Pacific, his father died and he was made company CEO at age 23. Not until 2016, at age 89, nearly 70 years after graduation, did he step down as chairman of the Harold Crawford Company. He loved it too much. Besides, the corporate secretary who drove to the office with him every day was his dear Gloria.

“Put God first,” he often said, “and everything else will fall into its proper place.”

Harold traveled with his wife of 70 years to 30 different countries. He is survived by Gloria; two sons; a daughter, Leslie Crawford Love ’74; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

By Clint Kelly