Father Francis Paul Crawford

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  • December 18, 2023
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The 1935 yearbook at Mount Carmel Catholic High School spoke of Francis Paul Crawford:

Born for success he seemed, with the grace to win and the heart to hold, with shining gifts that took all eyes. His exploits on the gridiron were second to none.

When Father Clark decided to make Mount Carmel Catholic a four-year high school in 1932, he felt a football program would help promote activities. Even though a sophomore, Francis “Pretz’ Crawford became the leader and for three years captained those first Ram Squads.

Upon graduation, he did not go immediately on to college. Economics forced a short stint as a mine worker, and he began boxing as a local amateur to pass the time away. He began a love affair with boxing which lasted all his l ife.

He received his undergraduate degree at Villanova, then continued in the Seminary at Catholic University. He also held a special degree in education from DePaul University. He was ordained a priest in 1944.

His assignments were primarily at two Chicago High Schools: St. Rita’s and Mendel. He held titles of Dean of Discipline, Athletic Director, and Principal. His love of boxing caused him to start a Golden Gloves Boxing Program in Chicago. The program brought him into contact with many leasing boxing figures, including one young man named Tony Zale, who went on to great renown.

He died in 1979 at age 62. He was honored in 1981 by St. Rita’s High School by being included in their Hall of Fame.

Categories: 1987 Hall of Fame