OHS Remembers Bob Crawford

OHS Remembers Bob Crawford

Photo: Bob Crawford, OGS Secretary and Past President (pictured above far right) was very concerned about the status and high number of Ontario’s unregistered cemeteries.
On June 2nd, 2011, The Ontario Historical Society (OHS) and The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) officially presented to the Government of Ontario a binder listing all the unregistered cemeteries in the province.
Seen above (left to right) are: Rob Leverty, OHS Executive Director; Marjorie Stuart, OHS Cemetery News Editor; the Hon. John Gerretsen, then Minister of Consumer Services (responsible for cemeteries) and MPP (Kingston and the Islands); Diane Clendenan, OGS; Jim Brownell, then Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister and MPP (Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry); and Bob Crawford.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Minister John Gerretsen.

Canada has lost a dedicated champion of family history and cemetery preservation. OHS is saddened by the sudden, unexpected death of Robert “Bob” Crawford on Wednesday, November 13, 2013.

Bob was a long-time member, donor and close friend of the OHS. Since 2004, he served with great distinction on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), including as President, Past President and Secretary. Bob was also Past President of the Halton-Peel Branch of the OGS.

On behalf of OHS, I had the great pleasure of working closely with Bob for nine years in the struggle to prevent the relocation of our historic cemeteries for private interests. He had a deep understanding of the constant challenges and threats to Ontario’s cemeteries. Bob was generous with his time and wisdom. Always a gracious mentor, OHS will remember Bob for his incredible integrity, quiet passion and warm smile. He was a giant man with a giant heart.

Read more about how the OHS and OGS work to preserve Ontario’s cemeteries.

By 2004, both OGS and OHS could no longer afford to hire lawyers for our cemetery battles, so Bob and I acted as Agents for our respective organizations.

Together, we prepared our legal cases for the public interest, coached our witnesses, introduced evidence, conducted cross-examination and gave final arguments at Tribunal hearings. We worked as a tag team, sometimes playing in rotation “good cop, bad cop,” for a united voice in the defense of our historic cemeteries.

Since 2010, we also worked together on behalf of OHS and OGS to register the over 1,500 unregistered cemeteries across the Province so that all cemeteries in Ontario are treated equally and have the same legal rights. This legacy project is unfinished. There is still much work to be done. Bob never for one moment doubted that there were tremendous obstacles and resistance to this initiative – Bob, the work goes on, the cause endures. We are now more determined than ever to successfully complete this historic project for you.

Just as OHS and OGS are sister organizations, Bob and I were like brothers. I remain deeply saddened by his departure, leaving us far, far too soon. Bob Crawford dedicated his life to making Ontario a more decent and civilized society for all of us. OHS sends its condolences and best wishes to his family.

Rob Leverty
Executive Director
The Ontario Historical Society