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Published: January 14, 2021


Nathan Lynn “Nate” Crawford, Sr. died January 6, 2021, in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 84.

A private family funeral service will be held in Lawrenceburg.  

He is survived by his wife of 32 years; a step-daughter; two sons; one daughter; three grandchildren; and one great grandchild.   Surviving also is faithful Beagle companion, “Bristol Peyton.” 

Also surviving is his brother, W.T. Crawford.  He was preceded in death by his brother, Jim, and his parents Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Crawford. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Nashville. He was born and reared in Lawrenceburg, and he was editor and co-owner of The Democrat-Union in Lawrenceburg for 22 years. Although living in Nashville since 1985, he maintained many close friendships in Lawrenceburg and Lawrence County. He was a third-generation newspaperman and graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville where he studied Journalism. At UT he was a letterman on the UT Varsity Swimming Team and was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. 

Upon graduating, he returned to Lawrenceburg to join his father and uncle in the newspaper business. His grandfather was legendary newspaperman C.T. Crawford from Paris, Tennessee.

Together with his brother he purchased The Democrat-Union from his father and uncle in the early 1960’s. Except for a two-year stint as Information Coordinator in General Electric’s Aerospace Division in Huntsville, Alabama, he was editor of the D-U until he sold it in 1984. 

During his tenure as editor, the newspaper grew to be the largest non-daily newspaper in Tennessee. It was eight-time winner of the Tennessee Education Association’s prestigious “School Bell Award” for outstanding coverage of education in Lawrence County. The newspaper received numerous Tennessee Press Association awards including Best Editorial, Best Local Features, Best Local Pictures, Best Picture Story, and Most Improved Make-up and Appearance. 

At the time of his death he was on the Board of Trustees of The Tennessee Press Association Foundation. Earlier he served on the TPA Board of Directors and was a member of the TPA committee which crafted the Open Meetings Law (Sunshine Law) that continues in existence today. 

During his years in Lawrenceburg, he was active in community affairs. He was president of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce when they constructed new Chamber offices on from a 100-year-old log home which was moved from south Lawrence County and re-built in Lawrenceburg. This was done with all-volunteer labor throughout the entire reconstruction. 

His other affiliations included Natchez Trace Parkway Development Commission; Lawrence County Bicentennial Committee Co-chairman; Lawrenceburg Fire Department 16 years; Kiwanis Club and member of the “K-notes” chorale; Lawrenceburg Industrial Board; Lawrenceburg Citizens Advisory Committee; South Central Tennessee Tourism Association; Chairman, Buffalo River District Boy Scouts of America; Knights of Columbus; Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Minor League Baseball Coach six years; Pop Warner Football Coach four years. He was also a member of Lawrenceburg’s VFW Post 1618 and American Legion Post 146 in Loretto.

After selling the newspaper in 1984 he resumed a full-time career in the military, re-entering Active Duty with the Tennessee Army National Guard in Nashville at age 48 and remaining there until his retirement from the military. During his earlier military career he was a Navy Signalman aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid 1955, 56, 57.

Prior to his active-duty years with the Tennessee National Guard, he spent six years as a “traditional” Guardsman where he was the Non-Commissioned-Officer-in-Charge of the Public Affairs Detachment at State Headquarters in Nashville.

As an Active Duty soldier in the Tennessee Army National Guard, he was the Marketing and Advertising Director for the Guard’s statewide recruiting program for more than 10 years. He retired at 60 as Director of Public Affairs for the Tennessee Guard both Army and Air. He later returned to the National Guard Public Affairs office as a civilian in 2003, where he worked for 10 more years. During his tenure with the Tennessee Military Dept, he served under eight different Adjutants General.  

The family requests that instead of flowers, one may donate to Saint Mary’s Catholic Church Restoration Fund, in Memory of Nate Crawford, P.O. Box 190606, Nashville, TN  38219 or their website: <https://stmarysdowntown.org/>