Daun Crews passed away Wednesday, December 28 in Tallahassee. He was 84 years old. Crews lived his life as a true Christian, made all of his decisions through his faith whether personal or through his profession. He lived as he had learned from his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America. Crews had the distinction of earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He lived his life under the Boy Scout Creed, putting God first, his country that he so loved before himself.
Crews was a veteran of the U. S. Army where he obtained the rank of Master Sergeant in the Military Police. Professionally, Crews is best remembered as Director of Facilities and Plant Management for the Jackson County School Board, and for his 16 years of service as the Clerk of the Court for Jackson County. Crews retired from that office in 1996.
Crews never met a stranger and never had a cross or negative word to say to or about anyone he encountered. Social media was flooded with comments and condolences following the news of his passing.
Former Jackson County commissioner Jeremy Branch said, “The Honorable Daun Crews exemplified the best of local government service and small town southern politics. He was a virtuous public servant to be mimicked and revered. As a child, I stood in awe of his booming voice and warm presence. As a County Commissioner, I benefited from his decades of leadership before my time. Some people you just naturally want to follow and want to please. Mr. Crews was that person.”
Recently retired Jackson County Clerk of the Court Dale Guthrie had nothing but praise for Crews, “There is so much to say about that fine man. He was one of a kind, a special gentleman who was always so professional, so sweet, kind, and loving. He always treated everyone with respect. He was an awesome clerk and even led me in the direction my career took me through his leadership and never-ending faith in me and my abilities. His high moral character made everyone strive to attain his approval, to please him, and do their very best for him.”
One Facebook post said, “He was a public servant with integrity and that’s pretty rare these days.”
In an interview with Crews, he answered questions posed to him about every aspect of his life beginning when he and his wife, Christine, started dating. Below is that interview.
Did you and Christine go to movies?
Crews: Yes, that was during the time of the drive-in movies.
You didn’t kiss did you?
Crews: Oh, no, nothing like that.
Crews: “I am Daun Crews and I am here today to give a little history of me. I’ll be 83 on May 20 of this year. I’d be just delighted to just go ahead and continue. I was born into a poor family in Marianna in 1932. I Iived there until such time that my brother went off to the military and I remained home. And of course my mother and father kept tabs on me. I was close to the river. A couple of boy friends and me, we lived in the neighborhood together. Every Saturday, we’d go to the oaks which is nothing more than a cave at the Chipola River. And we over the years, we logged a lot of years of camping and fishing. I could tell you where every spot in that place was. We were always ready for Saturday, just going and doing. My dad was E R Crews, Elbert Roy. On Saturday or Sunday morning, there’s liable to be seven or ten seats around on the porch, he was a barber and he’d cut their hair five cents. He did it just because he loved it. He just did it because he couldn’t afford to do anything else. He was a good carpenter. My mother was Terry May Tiller Crews, she was a good mom. She wouldn’t hurt a snake. I attended Marianna High School and had a joyful time at Marianna High. I graduated in 1952. I was on Marianna High School football team. Myself and one other boy who still lives, we were selected to all stars in the game from 1952 and went to the Orange Bowl down in Miami. And that gave me a little more boost to feel good about myself. During the time that I met Christine. There was a group of us senior boys and girls and we all lived within two blocks of each other and we became a cohesive group. And Christine, she lived right around the other side of the block from me. It was very easy to go over and get a smooch or something. Christine was a Christian girl when I met her and when I met her, I became involved with the church. See they had what they called the porch swing, And of course we would talk and we would kiss and we agreed that we would get married and we did that. That was July 19, 1953. We made it through that ordeal. I was stationed in Hawaii at Waikiki beach. I was in the military police. When I got to Hawaii, I wanted to bring her over there but expenses were such that I couldn’t do that so she and I agreed that she would continue working and I would continue my two year tour in the Philippines and then Hawaii. Christine father’s was a real industrious type man. He did a lot of mechanicing on the Chipola Hotel. He could fix anything. But we made it through that and we had the one child who was Michael who is the father of Jeannie. I have been involved in most everything you can think of. I’ve been ion the Marianna Lions club for 59 years. I became a scout when I was 11 years old and became an Eagle Scout before I got out. I was awarded the Silver Golden Eagle Award. I became a superintendent in 1960 of the Sealtest plant and I was superintendent of the plant for milk and cheese. I was there a good long while then I took a transfer to Miami which that didn’t last long. I couldn’t live in Miami. We came back to Marianna and I started with the school board with Robert Childs who was superintendent and a good friend of mine and he hired me on and I stayed with the school board for 16 years. And it just so happened that I spent 16 years with the school board and 16 years with Sealtest and then I ran for clerk and I as successful there. I had four four year terms and I had 16 years there so all I had 52 years for retirement. But I started at a young age and people liked me and I liked them. Michael came along with Teri and they produced two beautiful children. He’s about as clean cut as there is today of any young man as you want to see. He’s willing to take on most anything. “
What about the time he didn’t have a license and he drove his grandfather?
Crews: “There was that. Yeah, he didn’t have a license and he was about six or seven years old, way underage. Knowing Mr. Medlock he liked to have his whiskey and so he came back one day I remember and I didn’t even know about it until it was all over. Michael played sports and was outstanding in Marianna High School and in particular more so than football, he was a basketball athlete. It was a highfalutin wedding. I was the best man.”
A message to Michael – “It’s so great to have you for a son. We all think y’all did the right thing with marriage and it means a lot to know that we will have some perhaps nothing tying us down, we will have some years together in the same mix with loved ones. “
To Jennie: “She’s a very conscientious lady that has proven in her conduct between learning and work and play. She was very beautiful at her wedding.”
To Kelly: “Kelly girl, she has developed into a fine young lady and she’s going to have a good future. Girls y’all are the greatest and I’m happy for both of you and the status you are right now. We look forward to something great out of you after you get that big doctor’s degree.”
To Teri: She’s a very good daughter-in-law and I can look her right in the eye and say I LOVE YOU. I can only give thanks to the Good Lord that he kept me like it is.”
Daun Crews exemplified what a public servant or a constitutional officer should be. He had the same attributes as a son, husband, father, and grandfather. He never met a stranger and never made an enemy. He served the people of Jackson County with integrity, a pleasant attitude, and fairness to all. He treated everyone equally and with respect. He went above and beyond what was expected of him in his service to Jackson County. As a friend, he was a phone call away. As a father and grandfather, he lived for his son, Mike and his granddaughters. Christine, his wife of 61 years was loved unconditionally every day of their marriage until her passing in January of 2014. Daun leaves behind his son, Mike and his wife Teri, two granddaughters, Kelly Elizabeth Crews and Jennie Crews Strickland and her husband, Razzie, and one great grandson Lawson Razzie Strickland.
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