Leotha Stockard Crawford, age 84, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Monday, May 18, 2020.
She was born in Toledo, Ohio on October 30, 1935 to John W. and Dora A. Stockard. Leotha was the fourth child of eight brothers and sisters whom she loved dearly. Given a lot of responsibility at an early age, Leotha became a fierce protector and defender when it came to her family. Whenever asked, she willingly gave what she had to help--be it money, a place to stay, encouragement or advice. She had an engaging personality and enjoyed meeting new people. She always greeted people with a smile and greeted callers over the phone, almost singing, “Hello?” She was raised in a home where family and education were paramount.
Leotha attended Gunckle Elementary School, Robinson Jr. High School, and graduated in 1953 from Libbey High School. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s of Education from the University of Toledo. Years later, while working and she and her husband were raising a family, she successfully earned her Master's of Education also from the University of Toledo.
In 1956, Leotha pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Beta Lambda Chapter on the University of Toledo campus. She was a dedicated member who guided other young pledges into the sisterhood. Leotha continued her service many years after graduation. In 1972, Leotha became one of the Charter Members who established the Toledo Alumnae Chapter.
Her professional career as an undergraduate at Monroe Elementary School was the beginning of her career with Toledo Public Schools (TPS). Teaching at Ella P. Steward Elementary School, Mrs. Crawford, a skilled and creative writer, also wrote plays for her young students to perform. After 33 years in TPS, she retired from Longfellow Elementary School.
While attending a social event, she met Saint Anthony Crawford III. They married on August 25, 1963. Married for 56 years, this solid and loving union produced three children, Monica, Sharon and Saint Anthony IV. She and her husband made sure that their children understood the value and importance of education. Saint and Leotha also made sure their children experienced the joy of traveling and took trips every summer to different states to explore.
She was a dedicated member of St. Philip Lutheran Church, being the first person baptized when the church began. In her youth, she was a member of the Lutheran Young People Society Group. She participated in the musical programs at St. Philip and was a Sunday School teacher. Leotha was also a member of the St. Philip School Board and her function was to develop the curriculum for the Day Care as well as establish the performance metric.
Dedicated to community service, Leotha was a charter member of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. She also shared her talent for sewing with the Sew-N-Sews ladies’ group. Sewing outfits for herself and her children was something she loved to do.
Leotha had an affinity for Hershey’s chocolate with almonds and loved sipping on an iced cold Coke. During her free time, she enjoyed shopping and celebrating birthdays with her sisters and late sister-in-law, Brenda. Affectionately called “Granny,” her grandchildren loved that she was always so polite and kind. Her granddaughters always knew that she carried special treats in her purse. She taught them to say “Yes” to new opportunities: to step out of their comfort zones, to give back to others and how to find “Mr. Right.” Her granddaughters will always remember baking cookies, learning how to make lemonade and going to see musicals. They also looked forward to the annual Delta Sigma Theta Breakfast for M’Lady. She would tell her grandson, Anthony V to be careful, so he would then tiptoe to wherever she was to go in for a hug. She was excited for their visits together. She could see him growing into a promising young man like her own son, his father Anthony IV was.
Leotha is preceded in death by her parents, John and Dora Stockard, son, Saint Anthony Crawford IV, brother, Andrew F. Stockard (Marcia), and sister, Roberta Gant.
Leotha leaves to cherish her memory: her beloved husband, Saint Anthony Crawford III, daughters Monica Elaine Edwards and Sharon Dora Crawford; grandchildren, Jessica LeErin Crawford, Sarah Allyn Edwards and Saint Anthony Crawford V and daughter-in-law, Deana Bahhur Crawford; great-grandchildren, Anthony James Sawyer Jr. and Amiyah Lanae Sawyer. She also leaves brothers, John C. Stockard (Aline), Dr. Herbert E. Stockard (Brenda, deceased), Arnold Stockard, Marshall D. Stockard (Barbara); sister, Georgia Summers (Charles E.), brother-in-law, Charles Gant, godson/nephew, Eric J. Stockard. She leaves 16 nieces and nephews whom some lovingly called, “Auntie Lofa” and a host of great and great-great nieces and nephews.
Leotha will also be missed by her close friends including Odell Chancey, Margret Huntley, Katherine Vines, Julia Holt and Loretta Lewis Saah.
Our Family would like to thank Ohio Living Home Health and Hospice. Ellen Sarver RN, and STNAs Lakesha Phillips and Briana Whitmore all gave loving care to Leotha. We would also like to thank Darlene Warren, Cheryl Grant—and Tina Morgan who became her special buddy. They all took such good care of her needs.