Lt. Col. Michael James Crowe, USAF Retired, passed away with his children by his side on September 21st, 2018. He had been a resident of Niceville since 1989 after arriving to serve in the 33rd TFW at Eglin AFB.
Michael was born on November 11th, 1947 in the Panama Canal Zone, and spent his childhood riding his bike and swimming in the creeks around Franklinton and Bogalusa, Louisiana. He graduated from Louisiana Tech University where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order, and later received a master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
In 1972, he began a successful twenty-year career as an Air Force pilot, first earning his wings at Webb AFB (Texas). Known by his call sign “Crowman”, Michael had nearly 3,000 cockpit hours in the F-4 Phantom at Clark AFB (Philippines), the T-38 at Holloman AFB (New Mexico), and the F-15 both in the 7th Fighter Squadron at Holloman AFB and the 58th Fighter Squadron at Eglin AFB (Florida). Michael was a decorated war veteran, having flown over 250 combat hours during Operation Desert Storm.
Following his military retirement in 1992, Michael flew as a Boeing 737 Captain for Southwest Airlines, and then continued as a defense contractor in the fighter weapons industry. He loved that the last years of his career allowed him to work alongside several of his old fighter pilot buddies.
In 1969, Lt. Col. Crowe married his college sweetheart, Linda, at Randolph Air Force in San Antonio, TX, and they were together for 47 years before her early death in 2016. Linda was his partner in all things in life: a dedicated military spouse and supportive wife, mother and grandmother. They raised two children, Brian and Michelle, with unconditional love and support, continuously instilling a spirit of adventure and a true sense of “home” wherever their military travels led them.
Michael was devoted to his family and loved living a simple life - tinkering with classic cars, listening to Jimmy Buffet, Al Stewart and Willie Nelson, and eating a great gumbo or jambalaya. He was preceded in death by his wife, Linda Dixon Crowe, his father, James Conrad Crowe, and his sister, Melanie Ann Crowe. He is survived and will be greatly missed by his 96-year-old mother, Georgia Laphate Morgan Crowe, his daughter and son-in-law, Michelle Crowe Hernandez and Christian Hernandez, his son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Christina Crowe, his sister, Marsha Camarata, his brother and sister-in-law, Gregory and Cynthia Crowe, and eleven nieces and nephews. He will be especially missed by his six beautiful grandchildren, James, Sebastian, Jack, Will, Chloe and Lucian all of whom will dearly miss their “PeePaw” and “Grandaddy.”
A Graveside Service with military honors will be held this Friday, October 19th at 3pm at Heritage Gardens Cemetery, 2201 Partin Drive North, Niceville, followed by a celebration of his life at 4pm at LJ Schooners, 290 Yacht Club Drive, Niceville. An additional family celebration of his life will be held on Sunday, October 21st at 2pm at Sunlight Baptist Church, 18184 Sunlight Rd, Franklinton, LA 70438.
The Crowe family sincerely thanks everyone for their enormous support and sympathy during this difficult time. For those wishing to honor Michael, his Family would kindly request, in lieu of flowers, a donation in his name to the Salvation Army to aide in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael or to the Air Force Armament Museum Foundation.