April 20, 2024

Edward E. ‘Ed’ Crawford, state Department of Health psychologist with taste for Hawaiian shirts, dies

Edward E. Crawford, a former Maryland Department of Health psychologist whose sartorial presence was defined by his penchant for classic Hawaiian shirts, died of heart failure Sept. 7 at Wildcat Senior Living in Summerville, South Carolina. The former Perry Hall resident was 94.

Dr. George W. Krieger, a psychologist, was hired by Mr. Crawford in 1975 at what was then the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“We worked together for the agency and were colleagues for 17 years,” Dr. Krieger said. “I found him to be a good friend, a caring person, who had a good sense of humor. You need that because of the people you meet in our profession, who sometimes can get you down.”

Marie P. Haga began working for Mr. Crawford as a secretary right after graduating from high school in 1958 at the old Rosewood Center in Owings Mills.

“Ed was one of the nicest people I’ve every met in my life,” she said.

Born Edward Ephraim Tackett in Lawton, Kentucky, he was the son of Jim and Florence Tackett, who had two other children.

In 1931, when he was 2, his mother died, and unable to care for his family, his father placed his children with relatives.

Mr. Crawford was taken in by Thurman and Hazel Crawford, relatives who lived in Norfolk, Virginia.

The couple legally adopted him and Mr. Crawford took the surname of his adoptive parents.

At the end of World War II, the family moved to Logan, West Virginia.

After graduating from high school, Mr. Crawford served in the Army Medical Corps as a clinical psychology assistant from 1948 until being discharged with the rank of corporal in 1952.

Mr. Crawford enrolled at West Virginia University and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1955 in psychology.

While at West Virginia, he met his future wife, Patricia Dulin, on a blind date at the Gold Diggers Ball. After his second date, he told his Sigma Nu fraternity brothers, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.”

The couple married in 1955 and moved to Philadelphia, where he obtained a master’s degree in 1957 in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

He earned a second master’s degree from West Virginia in 1958, and his Ph.D. in psychology in 1969 from the Catholic University of America.

Mr. Crawford began his career with the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 1957 as a staff psychologist at the Rosewood Center, eventually becoming acting chief psychologist.

From 1967 to 1971, he was senior staff psychologist at the now-closed Montrose School for Girls, a juvenile services administration facility in Reisterstown.

In 1971, he joined the state’s Preventive Medicine Administration as a clinical psychology consultant where he worked with children across Maryland.

Concurrently, he served on an advisory team to the Baltimore City Health Department’s Children’s Services.

Mr. Crawford was named director in 1974 of Psychology and Developmental Services, for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

He also developed guidelines for the developmental screening procedure for the Maryland Child Health Information System and the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment, known as EPSDT.

From 1976 to 1980, Mr. Crawford was chief aide and consultant to the office of the secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Mr. Crawford ended his career as chief of psychological services in what is today the Department of Aging from 1980 until 1981, when he retired.

“As an administrator, he had been well-trained and had a good sense of what people needed,” Dr. Krieger said. “He was very helpful to the staff and people like myself whom he supervised, and he was a very good teacher.”

“His staff loved him but he could be very firm when he needed to be,” recalled Ms. Haga, who retired in 1992. “The psychologists were all a congenial group, and like Ed, they didn’t get upset or easily distracted.”

Mr. Crawford returned to the agency and retired a second time in 1992.

In addition to his work with the state, Mr. Crawford was also a co-owner of Psychological Assessment Therapy, where he worked as a licensed psychologist in private practice.

He also was a consultant to the now-demolished Henryton State Hospital in Marriottsville, Wicomico and Anne Arundel counties, Kernan Hospital, now the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Institute, and Chimes in Mount Washington.

His professional memberships included the American Psychological Association, Maryland Psychological Association and Baltimore Association of Consulting Psychologists.

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A 32 degree Mason, he was a member of the Shriners and Scottish Rite.

He was a published poet, an avocation that began in childhood and continued into his adult years.

An avid traveler, he and his wife visited all 50 states. They also traveled to the British Isles, Europe, the Caribbean, South America, China and Russia.

Hawaii became a special destination for Mr. Crawford, where he developed an appreciation for classic Hawaiian aloha shirts by American designer Reyn Spooner.

His wife of nearly 68 years died in July.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on Oct. 12 at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 E. Padonia Road, Timonium.

Mr. Crawford is survived by a daughter, Susan Crawford Wendel of Summerville, South Carolina; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. A son, Scott E. Crawford, died in 2022.

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