Hazel Reid Crawford, a Democrat who represented Ward 7 on the D.C. Council and served as a senior official in the Nixon administration, died Feb. 10 at the age of 78.

H.R. Crawford represented Ward 7 on the D.C. Council from 1981-1993. (AFRO File Photo)

H.R. Crawford represented Ward 7 on the D.C. Council from 1981-1993. (AFRO File Photo)

“I am saddened to hear of Council member H.R. Crawford’s passing,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said in a statement Feb. 10. “Throughout his career and as the Ward 7 council member, Crawford fought to make Washington, D.C. a city that works for all its residents. As a veteran and public servant, Crawford was the type of person who was always looking for new ways to help others and through the efforts of many Washingtonians who work every day to make life better for our most vulnerable residents, Crawford’s passion for helping others will live on.”

Upon hearing of Crawford’s death, D.C. Council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) sent an email to his constituents. Gray noted that Crawford served “ably” as the ward’s council member from 1981-1993.

“Mr. Crawford was a nationally recognized housing expert, community activist and devoted public servant as evidenced by his military service in the United States Army and the numerous boards and civic organizations that he served on such as chair of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, chair of the Sixth District Police-Citizens Advisory Council, treasurer of the Congress Heights Association for Service and Education, and member of the Mayor’s Juvenile Delinquency Committee,” Gray said.

Gray pointed out that from 1973-1976, Crawford served as the assistant secretary for Housing Management for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford, and noted that Crawford was the highest ranking Black member of Nixon’s administration.

Gray said that when he served as director of human services for D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, Crawford was the chairman of the Committee of Oversight. “I was pleased to work with him on a number of Ward 7 housing projects, especially Carver ,” said Gray, who served as the District’s mayor from 2011-2015. “And I was delighted to have appointed him to the Airports Authority Board of Directors where he rose to become chairman.”

Gray said that Crawford attended the former District of Columbia Teachers College and Howard University.

Crawford, who was born in Winston-Salem, N.C., was defeated for re-election in 1992 by Kevin Chavous. Afterward, he worked as a real estate developer and investor for his company, Crawford Edgewood Managers.

“Council member Crawford was a man whose vibrant energy and loving personality is equally matched with his great affection for District families, especially concerning their housing and welfare,” D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) said. She recently honored Crawford as one of her “Community Cornerstone” awardees.

“I got the email from Vince Gray’s office,” Miles Steele III, a neighbor of Crawford’s in Ward 7, told the AFRO. “Crawford was a good man and a great American.”

Despite having served on the city’s legislative body and having procured a presidential appointment, Steele said Crawford was a down-to-earth person. “He didn’t put on airs,” he said. “He did what he could do to help people and didn’t do it for show.”

“He was a go-getter,” Constance B. Woody, a longtime Ward 7 political and civic activist, told the AFRO. “He looked out for our race and did everything he could to help us. I knew him and his family well and I liked him.”

According to an obituary in the {Washington Post}, Crawford will lie in state at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. on Feb. 18 from 9:15 a.m. until the funeral service at 10 a.m.