John Crawford

Obituary of John Howard Crawford

John Howard Crawford passed away peacefully on Monday, February 27th in Venice, FL, with his beloved wife Diane by his side. He was 88 years old. John was a man of many attributes, foremost of which was his deep love for and involvement with his three children, four grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and his nieces and nephews, for whom he was an ever-present counselor and advocate who helped shaped their lives.

He was also an early computer industry entrepreneur and motivator who help start, lead, and grow more than a half dozen companies over a 35-year career, a second-generation sailor in the US Navy, an avid boater, and a mediocre golfer who regularly lost to his wife.

Born in Dedham, MA on January 19, 1935, he was the son of Ronald Crawford and Kathleen (Glendenning) Crawford. He attended Dedham public schools, where his interest in computing was sparked. After enlisting in the Navy, he specialized in electronics, computing, and radar analysis development. He attended Northeastern University in Boston, majoring in electrical engineering.

John began his career in 1964 as a manager with Computer Applications, Inc. (CAI), an early entrant in the burgeoning software industry, and later helped start a database management firm. He was hired in 1972 by Arthur D. Little as the vice president of marketing for the consulting firm’s pioneering development of software to manage data in large storage arrays, a precursor of today’s cloud computing boom.

In 1977, John joined Mohawk Data Sciences in New Jersey as vice president of US sales for a new distributing processing system that enabled multiple desktops to be interconnected to a large computer. Single-customer orders ranged from several to more than $100 million dollars each, a rarity at that time.

From 1981 to 1987, John was general manager of Date General Corp.’s small business systems division, general manager of its worldwide dealer/distributor network, and later, general manager of Envyr Corporations, started by ex-DG executives to enhance personal computer functionality using the UNIX operating system. In 1987, he was hired by Harris Adacom Corp. as vice president of sales for emerging network integration, gateway, and server products.

His pre-retirement gig was as senior vice president of start-up Tricord Systems from 1993-97, a super-sever manufacturer that today operates the largest open database of over 250,00 companies worldwide to track and verify each’s data accuracy, analytic process, investigations, and data management rules to help enforce corporate transparency and trust.

At the time of his return to his beloved family, Cape Cod summer home, and phalanx of retired cronies and survivors of the computer’s first days, he once told a friend: “if it’s a computer, I can sell it.”

John enjoyed boating and all things Navy. He and his family spent many summers at their summer home is Buzzards Bay on Cape Cod, where both he and his father, a former Navel officer, spent their retirement years. After moving to Florida, John became president of the Tin Can Sailors Squadron of Venice and for many years hosted top-level Navy executives, including several Chiefs of Naval Operations, who came to honor those who served in dangerous destroyer warfare over the years.

John is survived by his wife Diane (Sweeney) Crawford of Venice, FL; son Scott (Pamela) Crawford of Walpole, MA; daughters Lori (Brian) Crawford-Cooney of Mendon, MA, Kerry (Jeffrey) Crawford-Shaw of Uxbridge, MA; grandchildren, Melissa Shaw, Andrew (Gina) Shaw, Katie (Matthew) Harrington, Megan Crawford; great-grandchildren Scott T. Shaw, Layla Bettencourt, Taylor Bettencourt, Rylin Shaw, Kallin Shaw, and Matthew R. Harrington Jr.; sister-in-law Jean Crawford; nieces and nephew Kathleen Childs, John Crawford, and Elizabeth Brooks. He is predeceased by his brother Robert Crawford.

A public viewing will be held from 9:30 am to 10:30 am Friday morning, March 10, 2023, at the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 456 High Street, Dedham, MA 02026. Followed by a memorial service at 11:00 am at nearby St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. John will be buried in his family plot in Brookdale Cemetery in Dedham alongside his mother, father, and brother. Gifts of sympathy may be made to ALSAC/St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. To share a memory of John or to send a condolence to the family please visit

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9:30 am - 10:30 am
Friday, March 10, 2023
George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home
456 High Street
Dedham , Massachusetts, United States

Memorial Service

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, March 10, 2023
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
59 Court Street
Dedham , Massachusetts, United States


Brookdale Cemetery
86 Brookdale Ave
Dedham , Massachusetts, United States
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