Tom Crawford Has Died

Photo Courtesy of UGA Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Veteran Georgia Capitol reporter Tom Crawford has died. It was only six weeks ago that we learned he had cancer and was entering hospice care. Six weeks is merely a blip to those focused on the minute-by-minute news cycle during a political runoff. It can seem like an eternity in hospice world. Probably because at that point, it is.

Tom and I sat next to each other for a couple of years when I maintained a press pass to cover the Georgia Capitol, in the House press gallery. We knew each other mostly from email prior to that, but it’s different when you get to sit and talk with someone daily while they make their sausage about the sausage being made.

I learned that Tom’s politics were quite different from mine. That didn’t ever affect our relationship, nor the quality of his work. He was a consummate journalist, as the messages I’m receiving this morning reflect.

“He was a good man” noted House Appropriations Chairman Terry England. “…always very kind to me, and I will miss him. He helped me understand we can disagree on things and still be friends.”  England also noted on the rare occasion he needed to send a correction, Tom always did took care of it quickly and cheerfully.

“Tom was an institution under the Gold Dome” said Kaleb McMichen, the House Communications Director. “He had encyclopedic knowledge of Georgia politics and a wit second to none. The press corps has lost a legendary journalist and this state has lost a great citizen.”

I’ll add that, as a “blogger”, Tom was among the first to show respect for what those of us at the old site were doing. Quite possibly before any of us deserved it. He understood that “journalism” was evolving. He also understood at its core, it was about getting the news out.

He continued to do that for 20 years with his Crawford Report until last month. Now, cancer has removed yet another member of the shrinking Capitol Press Corps.

I saw a tweet last night that said something to the effect of “I can’t wait until Cancer is nothing more than an astrological sign.” It’s my sign, whatever that means, but cancer the disease has visited too many times to too many of my friends, family, and co-workers, too frequently.

It always takes a toll. It’s getting quite personal.

Farewell Tom. Your shoes will likely never be filled. But the footprints they left mattered.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Office of Gift Records, Emory University, 1762 Clifton Road, NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


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