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John Jackson Crittenden
© Roberts and Son Funeral Home
Submitted by: Jo Aguirre

© Roberts and Son Funeral Home

John Jackson Crittenden of Blackwell, Oklahoma was called to Heaven on Tuesday April 19th 2016, at the Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City at the age of 97. John was the 6th of 10 children born to the late Jackson Crittenden and Mary (Brantley) Crittenden on June 9th, 1918 West of Proctor, Oklahoma in rural Cherokee County. His siblings were Tom, Sid, Willie, Arthur, Freddie, Vade, Polly, Sally and Altirean. He attended Proctor School and completed the 8th Grade and due to the death of his father he was unable to complete and further his education. John began to work odd jobs throughout the rural areas between Proctor and Tahlequah. Some of the jobs he worked that helped provide for his Mother and younger siblings were picking and selling tomatoes, cutting sugar cane and hauling them to a local Molasses Mill and following his older siblings to wherever they could find work. At the age of 20 John signed up to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was part of Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” program that provided jobs for young men who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression. The “CCC” took him to various places like Colorado where he helped build Forest Ranger Stations and into New Mexico where he and others built miles of fencing. To John this was a blessing because he was now making $30 a month, which allowed him to keep $5 dollars and send the rest back to his Mother and siblings in Oklahoma. John was a dedicated family man and provider, this was just one example of the kind of man that John was.

At the age of 23 John enlisted in the Army when WWII started, along with brothers Sid, Tom and younger brother Arthur who later died in the War serving in the Navy. John served with the 43rd Army Engineering Company in the South Pacific where he helped build airstrips and bases in and around the many islands of New Guinea, Papua and Luzon. Like the rest of the many young soldiers that was there with him, they had many things to deal with when they were not taking enemy fire and taking cover from the Japanese air raids. One of the biggest issues was the heat and the mosquito’s, which brought Malaria. John overcame the Malaria in time and after proudly serving over 3 ½ years in the South Pacific he returned to San Francisco where he knew he was very fortunate and blessed to return to the States when so many did not. He later went to Military Police Training and ended his Military career guarding the German Military POW’s at the Tonkawa, Oklahoma POW Camp, where soon after the War he was honorably discharged with the rank of Corporal.

He was the beloved husband of Edna (Whitmire) Crittenden for over 60 years. They were married on Valentine’s Day in 1947 and settled in Tahlequah. While in Tahlequah they welcomed a daughter Trudy and after a couple of years John had an opportunity to better support his new young family by moving to Blackwell, Oklahoma in 1950 and begin working at ACME Foundry. A short time later John and Edna were blessed with another daughter Sherry and soon after her birth he began working for the Blackwell Zinc Plant until it’s closing in 1976. After the plant closed he worked as a Carpenter and helped build several homes and businesses throughout Kay County until his retirement. John was a member of the VFW and American Legion and active in both. John was a member of the Cherokee Tribe and was honored by the Cherokee Nation and Chief for his services during WWII. His hobbies included: working and maintaining his garden and tending to Edna’s roses, attending and sometimes helping with Auctions, playing Bingo with friends at the local VFW and taking his wife Edna to Square Dances where he would occasionally “call the dances”. His biggest joy in life was being surrounded by his loving family and attending Family Reunions in Proctor, Oklahoma. John has always taught his family to be proud of their Native American Cherokee Heritage and most importantly to be proud to be an American.

John is survived by daughters Trudy Farmer and Sherry Landers of Blackwell, Oklahoma; Grandson Justin Landers and Wife Julie of Blackwell; Granddaughter LeAnn Landers of Blackwell; Great Grandchildren Dylan and Darcy Landers of Blackwell; Destiny Allen of Claremore, Oklahoma; many Nieces and Nephews and along with countless other friends whom he called family that were blessed to know him. He was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, a Nephew Freddie Halford and his loving Wife Edna.

Services are scheduled for 10:00 AM, Saturday, April 23rd in the Roberts and Son Funeral Home Chapel in Blackwell at 120 West Padon. Rev. Cap McIlnay officiating. Burial will follow in the Blackwell Cemetery with full Military Rites performed by the United States Army, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

Casketbearers will be Dylan Landers, John Crittenden, Mike Allen, Rick Campbell, Tony Vaughn, Bret Hammack, and JJ Hallford. Serving as Honorary Casket bearers; Jean and Johnnie Mathis, Art Crittenden, Bill and Pete Reedy, Lawrence and Jay Hallford, Tom DeGeer Jr., Joyce Hammack, Linda Mathis, Geneva Reeves, Mary Ann Stephens, Sue Gunter, Bobbye Turner and Floyd Wood.

The family will host family and friends for visitation at the funeral home on Friday evening April 22nd from 5:30-7:30 PM in the funeral home chapel.

A memorial in his honor has been established with the Folds of Honor Organization in c/o Roberts and Son Funeral Home, 120 W. Padon, Blackwell Oklahoma 74631 or through foldsofhonor.org

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