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Willard W. "Will" Crews

Died: Sat., Jul. 11, 2020

Celebration of Life

11:00 AM Sat., Aug. 01, 2020
Location: Florence-Carlton Community Church

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Willard W. Crews Florence - Will Crews left this world for heaven surrounded by his wife Mary and his five sons when he passed at Seeley Lake on July 11, 2020, a sunny Saturday morning. Three days before he passed Will and Mary celebrated their 59th anniversary. He spent his last few days surrounded by family, mountains, and the Tamarack trees he loved so much. He was blessed during his passing, holding the hands of those he loved. Even though his heart stopped beating, our hearts will carry on from this point forward. Much of what we are and have become we owe to him. Will was born in Lane, Oklahoma, on June 16th, 1939, to Amos and Velma Crews on a ranch house table, the oldest of six siblings, the son of a cowboy and redwood logger. His family moved to California in the 1940s to live in a logging camp, Camp 20, outside of Fort Bragg, CA. He attended a one-room schoolhouse through 8th grade before attending Fort Bragg High School where he was active in the band. After High School he entered the Army where he was a member of the military band playing the trombone, eventually to be stationed in Korea. While in the army, Will was lured to the nursing student housing where he lucked out when he asked for one of the two Marys and got the right one, Mary Jean Hawes. They fell in love and were married in Harrah, Washington, where Mary was raised by her mother Vivian. Will began working for United Parcel Service (UPS) shortly after his first son, John, was born. He worked for UPS in California, Washington, and Oklahoma, and was eventually transferred with five boys to help start UPS in Montana in 1976 where he worked until 1980. He completed his work career at Stone Container, working for 17 years prior to his retirement. Will loved his wife and his sons. He was always one to step in and help others and was never known to shy away from difficult things, a trait that he passed on to all of his sons. Will was an active member of the community of Florence in the Bitterroot Valley. He was a member of the choir at Florence Carlton Community Church, the Missoula community band, and had a voice that made all of those who heard sit up to enjoy his deep baritone praises. He was active on the school board, as a coach, and as the caretaker of the historic Florence Carlton Cemetery where he often referred to himself as “The Mayor of the Silent City.” Will read every Louis Lamour book a few times, often saying that he liked them because he always knew the good guy would eventually win. He was a man to live his dreams and to push others to be great. One of his dreams was to build his own home. Shortly after retirement, he and Mary built a beautiful home to live in and love their grandchildren in Upper Hidden Valley in the Bitterroot. There are few experiences like a Crews Christmas, and there were many in the house built with his hands. Will’s motto was “can do,” and it was often heard from him when faced with difficulty that “can’t never did nothing.” Will was always planning or up for an adventure. Family picture books and memories are filled with vacations, fishing, hiking, boating, hunting adventures, Alaskan floats, and weekend barbeques with Mom’s ribs and cookies. His boys continued to drag him to hunting camp with Tim (our trusty adventure mate and steadfast friend) up until his 80th year. He shot his last deer with his youngest son Scott at age 79. That same fall his boys and Tim drug him to a remote self-guided fly-in camp for pike fishing. On all of these adventures when Will wasn’t out with his boys he was always making sure they had a warm fire at camp waiting for them. We all know that the family Will and Mary raised is an anomaly. We are strange in our closeness, in the importance that we place on love and family, and in the way we came together even in his most difficult last months. His health failed, but his love for Jesus, his wife Mary, and his family never did. Will Crews was the most comfortable cutting firewood, eating a spam sandwich on the back of a pickup truck and petting his dog, “Griz.” He likely had a toothpick in the side of his mouth and a mechanical pencil in his pocket while he was doing it. He loved the woods and everything they held. Will was a pillar for his family and his community. Many times we, his sons, have heard people tell us, “Your dad Will is a good man.” Thank you to each of you for reminding us of the uniqueness that we have been blessed with. Will was the Redwood of his family, but not the end. Will did not want sadness and tears when he passed, but sometimes, Dad, you don’t get it all. We are sad. We will continue to cry and have times of sadness mixed with happiness and loss. We will miss you and your centering support for all of us. What we can do is know that you are in heaven, rejoice in that and the life that you have led, and continue to live our lives in a way that honors the gift that our lives are. Willard is survived by his wife Mary of 59 years, his 5 sons and their wives and families: John and Rene Crews in Anchorage, Alaska; Jeff and Micki Crews in Lolo; Kevin and Rita Crews in Stevensville; Kirk and Lisa Crews in Stevensville; and Scott and Paula Crews in Missoula. Will and Mary have been blessed with 16 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Will is preceded in death by his brother, Weldon, and survived by his younger siblings Stella, Vicki, Dennis, and Nancy. A celebration of Willard’s life will be held on Saturday, August 1st at 11 am outside at the Florence Carlton Community Church with a graveside service to follow. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Mary & Martha Fellowship or the Sakila Mission in Tanzania, Africa, both through Florence Carlton Community Church. 

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Condolence Booklet

Allen Horsens
   Posted Wed July 15, 2020
Mary, John, Kevin, Jeff, Kirk, Scott and families. I'm so sorry for your loss. Will was an amazing man who left an incredible legacy. I'm honored to know you all and will pray for your comfort and peace.

Roy and Kathy Harris
   Posted Wed July 15, 2020
Even though we haven't seen each other for many years we have such wonderful memories of you both, Willard and Jeannie. We are thinking of you and praying for you during this difficult time. I can't wait for heaven and the joyous reunion we will have when we are all together again. Love, Kathy and Roy Harris

ed & diane schreckendgust
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020
Dear Mary and family,

Ed & I send our sincere condolences at the loss of your beloved ! What an amazing
legacy of a life well lived! May the Lord comfort each one of you during this time of
grief, knowing that you will be reunited one day for an eternity of love and Joy!

   Posted Thu July 16, 2020
May you rest in peace Uncle Willard. Our deepest sympathies go out to your beautiful family.

Dave & Suzi Parsons
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020
To Mary and all of the magnificent family we send our condolences and gratitude for sharing Will with us. He will be missed by all, but especially by his church family.

Jerry Reynolds
   Posted Thu July 16, 2020
My late wife Linda once told me that Will & Mary Jean were her kind of people. Linda was a North Dakota farm girl, well liked by everyone who knew her.

Mary Jean: Be assured that Will was well liked by me, and hundreds of others.
He has Graduated to a better place.

Veryl and Jake Stephens
   Posted Thu July 23, 2020
With sympathy.

Andrew and Arcadia Pilskalns
   Posted Thu July 30, 2020
To the entire Crews family. So sorry to hear of the passing of Willard.
May the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Andilea Weaver
   Posted Fri July 31, 2020


With all our love and sympathy. Weavers

Lisa Tucker & Judy Nothnagel
   Posted Sat August 01, 2020
We are so very sorry for your loss. Our sincere condolences from the Nothnagel family.

Betty Westman
   Posted Thu August 06, 2020
Dear Mary and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed my short visits with Will when he would stop at the front desk and ask me if I could find his bride. He always had a grin on his face. Later I got to know acouple of the boys when they worked I believe as transporters or aides. In other words they did everything ! But, before they could start work they had to get a beeper from me . I,m sure I don’t need to tell you what good kids they are.
What a wonderful way to finish your story- doing something you loved,in a place you loved with the people you love. I know Jim and I were very blessed and I feel the same way about the Crews family.

Dan and Lori Poff
   Posted Mon August 10, 2020
To all the Crews Family,

Dan and I are so sorry for your loss. Our hearts go out to all of you and you are all in our thoughts and prayers. We didn't know him well but it wasn't hard to figure out that he was amazing and quite the patriarch for your family. What a beautiful service and tribute !! Your family is the exception, not the norm and how wonderful to be part of a loving, caring and very talented family. What a legacy Will helped to create but now leaves behind. We are grateful and blessed for how your family has touched our lives as well as so many others. What treasured memories you all must have - hold on to them. He will always be in your heart !! Sincerely, Dan and Lori Poff

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