Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
James Wesley Crabb, Sr., Colonel, USAF (Retired)November 14, 1935 – August 31, 2011
EDMOND, OK.; James Wesley Crabb, Senior, was born in Maud, Oklahoma, on November 14, 1935.
His parents were Roy Crabb and Cevella Hart, who had two sons, James Wesley and Jerry Jay. Later in years, his parents divorced, and his father, Roy, remarried Elizabeth Rose Johnson, who was known to be their mom and later gave birth to their sister, Karen Gail Crabb-Eubanks.
In James’ early years, while on the farm, he looked up into the sky to see an airplane advertising for Proctor and Gamble. At that moment, he knew that he wanted to have something to do with airplanes. As time went on and experiencing different struggles as a young boy, he went to live with his Aunt Louise and Uncle Leon Groves. A strong voice and guidance from a male role model played a huge part in molding Jim to become a man. After watching matinees and daydreaming of airplanes in a movie theatre, James knew that he had to make this a reality. He wanted more out life for himself and for his brother, Jerry Jay, whom he called affectionately “Bud.” He knew that the movie, “Boys Town,” was just a part of the saying, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” Therefore, he felt the need to set an example for his baby brother and make the name CRABB stand for success. As hard as it was for him to leave his brother behind, he knew that he had to live out his dreams and pursue the vision of being involved with airplanes. “When I saw Jimmy Stewart in “Strategic Air Command: with the B-47, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
On August 21, 1956, in Harlingen, Texas, his family proudly watched James graduate and start his life as a military Officer in the United States Air Force and become a Navigator in the B-47 and later became a Navigator-Bombardier in the B-52. It was a return trip to Edmond, Oklahoma, as a young cadet, when James reunited with the love of his life, Carol Ann O’Brien (who preceded him in death on March 19, 1995). He was in Edmond, Oklahoma, on leave while watching the Edmond High School band marching down the main boulevard when he immediately noticed a long pair of legs leading the band, which happened to be attached to a bright and charismatic smile that was unforgettable, and that person was Carol Ann. James decided to ask her for her hand in marriage. On October 10, 1957, the two pledged their love for each other and traveled the country as a newly married military family.
The by-product of their love made two children: their oldest (daughter), Tawanna Kay Crabb, aka “T.K.”, born in Tucson, Arizona; and their youngest (son), James Wesley Crabb, Junior, born at Warner Robbins, Georgia. Their life was full of adventure by their numerous military assignments throughout the United States.
The family supported James Wesley, who served in Vietnam twice. He received numerous decorations and medals: Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, AF Commendation Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Korea), Combat Readiness Medal, AF Longevity Service Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with 4 BSS, AF Presidential Unit Citation, AF Outstanding Unit Award with 4 Valor’s Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
James received a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Nebraska in Omaha, Nebraska, and Master of Arts Degree from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He also graduated from The Industrial College of The Armed Forces and various other USAF Technical and Leadership schools.
On June 30, 1982, James Wesley Crabb voluntarily retired as Full Colonel from Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, where he was Chief of the Aircraft Division, Air Logistics. He declined his star as Brigadier General and decided to pursue another career.
He lived life to its fullest and enjoyed playing the stock market and discussing the daily activity with his brother, Jerry Jay, a bond that these two men carried until James’ passing.
Colonel James Wesley Crabb soared the skies to heaven at 7:08 in the morning to meet his bride, Carol Ann, on August 31, 2011, where she greeted him with a kiss.
He is survived by his daughter and her significant other, Tawanna Kay “T.K.” Crabb and The Honorable Judge Don Mosley of Las Vegas, NV; son, James W. Crabb Jr. of Las Vegas, NV; granddogs, Colonel and Nevada Joe; brother and his wife, Jerry J. and Judy Crabb of Edmond, OK; niece and and her husband, Alicia C. Crabb and Steve Godber of Phoenix, AZ, and their three children; nephew and his wife, Jay Michael and Kathryn Crabb of Oklahoma City, OK, and their three boys; sister, Karen Crabb-Eubanks of Tulsa, OK; and niece, Kristin Eubanks of Tulsa, OK; his mother-in-law, Lois Floyd-O’Brien-Cunningham, who is 97; and his wife’s many nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to his uncle, Leon Groves, who guided him throughout his life, along with his cousins, Kirby Groves, Bill Hart and Tim Hart, whom he looked at as his brothers.
Services will be held 11:00 AM, Thursday, September 15, 2011, at Matthews Funeral Home Chapel in Edmond, OK, with interment to follow at Gracelawn Cemetery.
Published in The Oklahoman on Sept. 11, 2011
~ GUEST BOOK ~
October 14, 2014Dear Tawanna, Our Deepest Sympathy. Please give our regards to Don. Tell him it is his Greek friends from Chicago and we are so devastated to read of his misfortunes in the past years. We had no idea. Lost my dad and brother, both suddenly.~
March 7, 2012Today as I was reading the Guest Book it occurred to me I failed to add how sad I was when I heard the news that James had passed. James, Carol, TK and Jimmy were across the street neighbors when we stationed at SAC Headquarters. What good times we had and grew to be great friends. Miss and love them all.~Betty Anne McMillan
January 12, 2012T.K I am so sorry to hear about your father! I just found out about his passing I am so sorry Judy Edge of Town share September 14, 2011 TK and Jimmy, I along with Nanny am so sorry for your loss of your Dad. May God keep his hands on you both but with the great legacy your Dad and Mom left you that will be a comfort. Love and prayers to you both.~Jimmy and Ginger O’Brien Parnell and Nanny
September 13, 2011James and I were friends in Maud, Oklahoma in the early 40’s. I am sending you a picture from that time. He and family came into my pharmacy in Durant, Oklahoma several years ago and I remember it as being a wonderful moment. His classmates from that time have been informed and some may be present for the funeral.~Charles Villines, Durant, OK
September 6, 2011TK & Jimmy…you have Camille’s and my heartfelt sympathy for your loss. Both Camille and I plan on attending the Funeral.~ Mark Woodside, Midland, TX
September 5, 2011TK…Dale and I were so sorry to hear of your loss of your dear father and I want you to know that you, Don and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. I know that Col Crabb had been sick for some time and what a wonderful daughter you have been to see about him and his needs all these years. We look forward to seeing you in the near future.. all of your wonderful friends join us in your sadness and may your memories of your dad be forever a happy part of your life……..With Love.~James and Dale Partee
September 5, 2011God Bless Col. Grabb and his family. TK for taking care of your Dear Father, You were a good daughter to him. I know it was very hard on you and you did an outstanding job caring for him. I know the service will be really special and wish I could be there in Oklahoma. But I am thinking about you every day and night and you have my heartfelt prayers. I am so happy that Don is there for you. God Bless you and I send my love.~Diane Kim Diane Kim, Las Vegas, NV
September 5, 2011We have known James and Carol for a very long time. Always enjoyed them and their genuine smiles. You have heard of “a match made in heaven”…….well they are. Sympathies to all the family. Pat and Jiggs.~Pat and Jiggs Griffin, Edmond, OK
September 5, 2011James and Carol became neighbors and good friends in the early 1970s at SAC Headquarters. My heartfelt condolences to T. K. and Jimmy.~Dorothy [Galin] Grayson, Kerrville, TX.