By Kevin Wilson: CNJ Staff Writer
When a young Rick Shomo got a haircut at Cannon Air Force Base, he never needed to give his barber much detail.
“He never asked me what I wanted,” Shomo said of Charles Crayton. “He always knew how I wanted it cut.”
In the same way, many things went unspoken at the Crayton household — treat people as you’d want to be treated, never start a task unless you intend to finish it and always take care of your family.
Crayton, 83, died July 6.
His daughter, Linda Farley of Las Cruces, remembered her father as the rock of the family and how he valued hard work and dedication to family.
“We learned stamina by watching him,” Farley said. “He never took his job lightly. He was a perfect father and a perfect husband, and he was the strength of our family.”
Crayton worked for 32 years as a barber, retiring in 1984 to focus on caring for his wife, Tiny. The two were married in 1948 in Clovis and had two children, Farley and Charles L. Crayton.
The younger Charles Crayton said growing up in the household was a structured life, but never dull. The average Sunday, he said, meant going to church and visiting the grandparents in Littlefield, Texas.
The family’s life was changed in 1957, when a car accident left Tiny paralyzed. While Tiny was in rehabilitation, Crayton took on her tasks in the home and his in the barber shop.
“He was so multitalented, he had the strength of taking care of two children,” Farley said. “He just took over the household.”
Farley said the family didn’t spend many days entertaining, because the needs of the family came first. When they found time, she said, her father loved to watch such comedies as “I Love Lucy” and “Sanford and Son,” and teach her how to dance and play the piano.
Throughout his life, Crayton and his family were dealt with obstacles. Charles L. said his father would deal with them, and never say a negative word.
“He was never one to complain about everything,” Charles L. said. “You hear a lot of people complaining about politics, what’s going on in the world, high gas prices … he would just go with it.”
Crayton spent his retired years caring for Tiny until his health wouldn’t let him. At that point, Charles L. stepped in. The family had been living in a large house that Charles L. had built to accommodate his parents, acknowledging that he practically moved into his parents’ old house so he could care for them.
“He believed in taking care of his family and giving his family a lot of time,” Charles L. said. “That definitely rubbed off on me.”
The way the family took care of each other was a virtue that impressed Shomo, a Pennsylvania native stationed at Cannon as a medic in the late ’70s. He said he came to know the older Charles through barber shop visits and struck a friendship with the younger Charles, who worked as a records clerk at the hospital.
Shomo left in June 1980, but came back to Clovis after he was finished with military obligations because he liked the way he was treated by everyone — especially the Craytons, who chose him as a pallbearer and let him speak during the July 11 services.
“I call (Charles L.) a Christian brother, and his dad was a fantastic person too,” Shomo said. “To me, the Crayton family is a total blessing.”