James Crabtree

June 30, 1916 – Sept. 11, 2007

James Ellsworth Crabtree, 91, formerly of Sweet Home, died Sept. 11, 2007 at his home in Quartz Hill, Calif.

He was born on June 30, 1916, in Stayton, the son of Marble and Alice May (Matten) Crabtree.

Mr. Crabtree served in U.S. Navy Construction Battalion (Seabees), from Aug. 7, 1942 to Dec. 12, 1945. He built runways in the Aleutian Islands and Tinian Island in the Pacific. He married Beverly Hirt.

He worked in the construction field for his entire working career as a heavy equipment operator. The nature of his career entailed moving from one job to another. When his daughter, Cheryle, was high school age they moved to Klamath Falls. Mr. Crabtree believed she should go to high school in the same school for all four years, so during that period, he opened a Texaco service station. When his daughter graduated, he went right back to construction.

He worked on both Foster and Green Peter dams in Sweet Home. After retiring in 1981, he became active in the Sweet Home Elks Lodge No. 1972. He was an Elk for 64 years and was a Life Member and a past “Elk of the Year.” He was associated with the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps and the Seabees Historical Foundation. He enjoyed family gatherings and birthday parties.

He and his wife spent many hours in their boat, fishing on Foster Lake. He was a superior craftsman, making beautiful wood products. He always had a large garden and canned his homemade applesauce. After Beverly, his wife, died in 2001, Mr. Crabtree continued living in Sweet Home, until he moved to Quartz Hill to live with his daughter and son-in-law in August 2005. An avid card player, he joined the cribbage group at the Lancaster Elks Lodge.

He maintained a faithful attendance at the Church of Christ in Rosamond, Calif., until he became ill.

Mr. Crabtree is survived by his daughter, Cheryle Ann Crabtree Bacon and son-in-law Fred A. Bacon of Quartz Hill; a sister, Janice Crabtree Jeffery and brother-in-law Ray Jeffery of Nordland, Wash.; two granddaughters and four great-grandchildren.

A graveside service was held at 1p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at Lone Oak Cemetery in Stayton.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.