July 4 is special to Emory C. Crowder of Westlake every year.
It is the day that all his friends and neighbors gather early in the morning to witness Mr. Crowder’s personal Fourth of July Parade for the kids in his Canterbury Estates neighborhood.
It is a tradition started decades ago by Emory, 94, a WWII hospital corpsman and recipient of both a Purple Heart and Silver Star for ‘conspicuous gallantry.’
Mr. Crowder has organized the children’s parade for 45 of the 50 years he has lived in the neighborhood!
The annual parade was made especially significant this year as Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough stopped by to present Emory with a proclamation declaring July 4, 2017 as Emory C. Crowder, Jr. Day in the City of Westlake.
Mayor Clough made the presentation at the end of Emory’s lap around the neighborhood, accompanied as always by a following of kids on bikes and parents in respectful pursuit.
“Emory joined the Navy in 1942 and trained as a hospital corpsman to serve with the Marines in combat. He was stationed in Saipan,” said Mayor Clough.
Crowder married the love of his life, Kathryn, in 1950 and lived in the same home on Radcliff Drive for almost 50 years. He worked for N & W Railroad for more than 42 years, retiring in 1983. In fact, the bell he rings as parade master is an actual Southern Railroad bell circa 1963 that Emory salvaged from a scrap yard.
He has continued to live life to the fullest by staying active in the Westlake United Methodist Church where he and Kathryn worked tirelessly on the church gardens, as well as their own. “Their tomatoes are legendary!” exclaimed Mayor Clough.
Kathryn passed away 18 months ago after more than 65 years of marriage. But Emory has never slowed down in his enthusiasm for life. “He continues to keep busy with many tasks including delivering meals to seniors at home and mowing his own lawn religiously, a testament to good health and his pride of ownership” said Mayor Clough.
“Emory says three things motivated him – his faith, his love of life and his love for people,” concluded the Mayor as Emory, enjoying the moment, pumped his fist in the air with Fourth of July enthusiasm.