After 35 years at CBS, assignment editor Steve Crawford left the newsroom at Channels 2 and 9 on May 23 without revealing to anyone that he had stage 3 esophageal cancer. He insisted that no one know, his wife says in a note posted at the station today. Crawford died last night at home in Los Feliz.
This is from the note that VP and news director Scott Diener sent to the staff this morning
As many of you have heard this morning, we lost our longtime colleague and friend Steve Crawford. Steve’s wife Candy sent us a note this morning detailing his illness and final hours. I wanted to share it with each of you as it is beautifully written and a loving tribute to Steve’s life. Please join me in keeping Steve and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Steve Crawford passed away at 8:15pm Sunday night. We had finally decided he needed hospice care because his condition had deteriorated. On Sunday, I had friends help me move furniture around to accommodate the hospital bed. As I was juggling all the equipment deliveries, Steve started having respiratory problems. The hospice company sent nurses to the house twice, but his breathing became more labored. Finally, he had some relief and we were alone at last after a hectic day.
I left his side for just 5 minutes to go empty the trash. When I came back, I was relieved to hear he was no longer gasping for air. I thought to myself how wonderful the meds were in alleviating his symptoms. But when I felt his forehead, I could tell something was seriously wrong. He was so very still and he had already started to grow cold.
The nurse later told me he was probably just waiting for me to leave the room so he could slip away quietly by himself. We all know how fiercely independent and private he was. He spared me the anguish of seeing him die in my arms.
Now, finally, you can tell all his friends and co-workers that on May 2 he was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer that had metastasized throughout the lymph system. He chose not to undergo chemo because it would have been a tortuous yet unproductive procedure. It may have let him live a few weeks longer, but he would have sacrificed the quality of his last few months of life.
We chose to celebrate every day we had with each other and treasure the precious gift of being alive. On May 30, we were married after being together for three years. We met on Match.com. I was a post-production video editor at CBS TV City for twenty years before retiring last year.
After 35 years with KCBS, Steve chose to continue working for three more weeks after his diagnosis. The doctor told him he had only three to six more months to live. His last day of work was May 23. Steve tried to sneak out of the building without saying goodbye to anyone. He was adamant that no one should know what was wrong with him, that no one knew he had cancer. He simply didn’t want anyone to have pity or feel sorry for him. He was hard-nosed and stoic until the end.
But Rod Foster must have known something was up because he ran out to the parking garage to express some last-minute kind wishes to him. Steve still had tears in his eyes when he arrived at our home in Los Feliz. He was so touched by Rod's caring thoughtfulness. That was also his very last trip on his beloved Harley.
Because the primary tumor had grown so large, Steve had a stint put in to allow an open passageway from his esophagus to his stomach. Soon, all he could ingest was Ensure, water and pills. He went from 165 to 122 pounds.
I hope to have a memorial service, but I have not made any plans. I'll keep you informed when I finalize them....
Candy Waldman Crawford