J. L. Crawford was born in Springdale, Utah in 1914 and passed away in 2011 at the age of 97 in St. George, Utah. He spent his first seventeen years at Oak Creek, then part of Springdale, Utah, which is now part of Zion National Park. He attended Dixie Junior College and Brigham Young University. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1947 with a B.S. degree in Zoology. Crawford worked in Zion National Park at the Zion Lodge, on road construction projects in the park, and he helped build the Zion Tunnel.
During the years of the great depression he spent two winters and one summer as an enrollee of the CCC camp where he helped build several of the stone structures, including the Parkas warehouse and garage. He took great pride in pointing out to friends that he helped build the sign pylon at the South Entrance to Zion Park. He leased and operated a service station in Springdale for three years before being drafted into the Army in 1941, where he served for more than four years.
Crawford worked as a Park Ranger at Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and Cedar Breaks National Park. During this time he married Fern Houston, from Panguich, Utah in 1950. He left the National Park Service to build and operate the Horizon Lodge in Panguich, which was their family business for many years. Crawford worked for the State of Utah as County Welfare Director for 13 years. They eventually sold their business, and moved to St. George, Utah. Crawford then spent several years working as a Park Ranger in Zion National Park, where he worked until he retired in 1980.
J. L. and Fern spent many years serving as volunteers at the Dixie College library. They were extraction workers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and they served as Stake Historians in the St. George West Stake.