When we began
The Crawford family has been involved in the funeral business since 1863 when Daniel John Crawford came to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, and settled in Hancock. Daniel was interested in working in the Copper Country mines; however, he took up the normal trade of cabinet making and got involved in casket making and local funerals.
In 1886, John Daniel Crawford (Daniel’s son) joined his father in the business. Together, they set up D. Crawford and Sons in Hancock.
Daniel was an ambitious man, a stock man with investments in oil and the mines. In 1898, he decided to move from the U.P. down to Detroit where he could better pursue these interests. Following Daniel’s departure from the funeral home business, John kept the business going. In fact, in 1903, he became the first licensed embalmer, funeral director, and picture framer in the Copper Country.
Once John got more involved with the business, his oldest son Donald John Crawford began to work with him. John purchased the first motorized funeral coach in the Upper Peninsula back in 1916. In 1926, Ramson Crawford (Donald John Crawford’s brother) joined in the business and shortly thereafter, John set up J.D. Crawford and sons Funeral Home in Hancock.
Following the death of John Daniel Crawford in 1941, Ransom entered the Army in 1942 so the funeral home was forced to close. Following Ransoms’ return in 1944, he and Emmett O’Neil opened up a new funeral home “Memorial Chapel” which still exists in Hancock today.
The Current Directors
Donald J. Crawford, son of Donald John Crawford, graduated from Suomi College and also graduated from the Department of Mortuary Science at Wayne State University in Detroit. Don’s career began at the Memorial Chapel in Hancock until 1959, when he moved to Escanaba. Don became partner in Allo Funeral Home until 1965 when he purchased the Degnan Funeral Home in Escanaba and the Boyle Funeral Home in Bark River.
Several years later, Don changed the name of the funeral home in Escanaba to the Degnan-Crawford Funeral Home and in 1970 to the Crawford Funeral Home. In 1973, the name of the Boyle Funeral Home in Bark River was changed to the Crawford Funeral Chapel.
Don’s brother, Douglas also graduated from the Department of Mortuary Science at Wayne State University in Detroit and made is career serving families in Ontario, California.
Don’s eldest son Jim, graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and received his mortuary science license in 1974. Don and Jim worked together serving families until Jim purchased the business in 1994.
The tradition in the Crawford family continued when Jim’s daughter, Caren pursued the family business after she earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. She graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, Illinois in 1999 and is the sixth generation of the Crawford family to be licensed in funeral service which began in 1863.