Other Voices

This Arlington giant rose above bias to advance things that matter

Arlington’s Harry M. Croxton Sr.
Arlington’s Harry M. Croxton Sr. Special

It was a call early Sunday morning April 7 that I shall never forget. The call came from one of the most gracious ladies I have ever met, his wife.

As I was getting ready for church, with expectations to receive communion, Mrs. Sharon Croxton informed me that her husband and my close friend, Mr. Harry Maurice Croxton Sr., had died.

Those who know me realize, for this chaplain to be both temporarily silent and shocked is a rare commodity. Yet, I was both, as a direct result of this tragic news of the passing of a giant who talked little, yet whose actions in Arlington, Texas, spoke volumes.

Mr. Croxton’s contributions to Arlington, Tarrant County and his country cannot be calculated.

He was, among many other things, past president Delta Mu Boule’ Education Foundation, past commissioner for Planning and Zoning, past director N Front of Science, Inc., a past chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Arlington Board of Realtors and U.S. Air Force National Security Agency Airborne Mission Supervisor because he was proficient in Mandarin Chinese. He held a top-secret cryptological clearance.

For an African-American to gain such training and be granted top-secret clearance, when this country at the time was in the midst of its Civil Rights Movement, speaks volumes.

He was a life member of Morgan State University Alumni Association and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He was active in the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Community Influence Leaders Roundtable (CILR) and, thanks to his work on that committee, he played a large role in creating significant opportunities for minority contractors to gain unprecedented access to the Texas Live $250 million initiative.

His final but critical role was forming and serving as chair of the Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds Cemetery Corporation. On those hallowed grounds lie the father of Tarrant County and the pioneers of Arlington, Texas -- some of whom were slaves and two of whom were suspected members of the Underground Railroad. Additionally, thanks to Mr. Croxton’s deep knowledge of U.S. tax procedures and IRS rules, all contributions to this very important ongoing project, are tax deductible.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once insisted our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Things of substance and worthy causes mattered to Mr. Harry Croxton. His list of community involvements are an example of his legacy left for us to emulate.

Mr. Harry Croxton Sr. was laid to rest on Wednesday, April 10, and interred at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

A famous epitaph says, “When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”

As Mr. Croxton’s departure, in my mind, came too soon, it is my hope that Arlington will never forget how he passed this way and truly gave his tomorrow for us to enjoy our current and future todays.

May this Arlington giant rest in peace.

Retired U.S. Naval Services Chaplain/Commander Rich Stoglin, who spent 23 of his 28 years of service with the US Marine Corps., is a member of the Community Influence Leaders Roundtable (CILR) and the Arlington Heritage Memorial Grounds Committee.