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for Gordon Crabb, school issues are a passion

February 13, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

for Gordon Crabb, school issues are a passion

By the end of a Washington County School Board meeting, most of the general public has long left the building, satisfied that their particular concern has been discussed.

But one frequent visitor always stays until the bitter end - not because he has to, but because he wants to.

Gordon Crabb, 67, started taking an interest in school board affairs about three years ago.

Crabb had been reading newspaper stories about disagreements among school board members, the former superintendent and Washington County Commissioners.

"At the time, there was a fair amount of disharmony," he said. "I was concerned."

Crabb had recently retired from the former Fairchild Industries, so he had the time to get involved.

Mostly, he observes the meetings. He asks questions if he doesn't understand something.

For example, Crabb wanted to know why school officials proposed buying 10 new school buses when school enrollment was on the decline in December 1996.

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He discovered that safety regulations demanded the new vehicles.

This year, Crabb served on the school board's budget advisory committee.

He has also taken an interest in county government, serving on the water and sewer advisory commission.

But his first love is the schools.

Crabb and his wife, May, raised four children who attended Washington County public schools. They are Bill, 43, Tom, 41, Dory, 38, and Sandy, 33.

Two of their seven grandchildren are in Washington County schools.

The schooling that young Holly and Crystal get today is much different than their grandfather, who attended grammar school in Wales.

Crabb was born in Carbondale, Pa., but was raised by Welsh parents in Wales, where there was no such thing as a multiple-choice question and students wouldn't be caught dead without their ties and caps on straight.

There were good and bad things about such a strict system.

"We had to work harder, I believe. I wouldn't want to say that was the way to go," he said.

Crabb's parents moved back to the United States when he was 17. He went to a technical school in Binghamton, N.Y., and worked for General Electric in Syracuse, N.Y.

He moved to Washington County in 1966 to take a job at Fairchild, where he was a contract and program manager. He retired in 1994 from Rohr Industries Inc.

Crabb says he wishes more people would take an interest in the school board meetings.

"It is nice to get involved with the community and be a part of what's going on," he said.

Crabb said he's not a political person. He lost his bid for school board in 1996.

He will run again this year, though, he said.

When Crabb isn't at the school board, he might be found at Covenant United Presbyterian Church, where he is choir director.

A great music lover, Crabb plays the saxophone and dabbles with keyboards.

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