LANSING — CP Crawford, believed to be the oldest man in the United States before he died in November, will receive a funeral in South Holland Saturday that his favorite team — the Chicago White Sox — helped pay for.
The supercentenarian, who spent most of his life on Chicago's South Side, will have a funeral service at noon Saturday at Gatling's Chapel at 1200 E. 162nd St. in South Holland. Visitation begins at 11:30 a.m.
Crawford, who outlived most of his family and has been retired and on a fixed income for decades, had remained in the morgue since dying peacefully while sleeping in bed at his home in the Tri-State Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center about five weeks ago.
Community activist Andrew Holmes raised about $6,000 to pay for his funeral and burial. The White Sox stepped up to help pay for the remainder of the cost, said Shelia Huff, activities director at Tri-State.
"We reached out to them and they covered the rest," she said.
Crawford, a Mississippi native and longtime South Sider who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad, was a lifelong White Sox fan and regularly watched them on television and wore a White Sox cap at the nursing home just south of Interstate 80 in Lansing.
He finally got to see his first game live at Guaranteed Rate Field in September, watching the Pale Hose square off against American League Central rivals the Kansas City Royals as a special guest of the team.
Holmes arranged to have him taken by limo to a game, where he was given a personalized jersey with the number 112 to reflect his advanced age, brought onto the field for a special ceremony, given a birthday cake and introduced to newly minted Hall of Famer Harold Baines.
Holmes had helped Crawford in many other ways over the years, including by helping to organize his birthday parties and a 100 Club black tie affair honoring centenarians.
"He's a kind, loving man," Huff said.