LA MARQUE — An American Legion chaplain and retired U.S. Coast Guard officer who died during the weekend in a motorcycle accident will be commemorated Monday with a “celebration of life.”

Joseph Crabill, 74, was killed in Angleton on Sunday after losing control of his motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson he bought when he was 65, said Denise King, commander of the American Legion post in Texas City.

The life of “Big Joe,” as he was often called, will be celebrated from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Crowder Funeral Home, 401 Texas Ave., in La Marque. 

The celebration and funeral will be followed by a reception at American Legion Post 89, 3028 29th St. N, in Texas City.

Crabill, who was a chief petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and was stationed in Galveston, later worked as a bartender at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in La Marque. 

He was a charter member and chaplain with the American Legion and devoted time to visiting with veterans throughout the area. He cooked breakfast for veterans with the Elks Club and visited veterans’ hospitals with the American Legion every Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The sight of Crabill and other American Legion members with their motorcycles would draw a standing ovation, King said.

Crabill’s humor and personality left an impression on everyone he met, King said.

“He couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast, but he could remember every limerick he learned in the Coast Guard,” King said.

On Tuesday, American Legion Riders will escort Crabill’s body to Jasper, where he will be buried beside his late wife, King said.


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