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The Chillicothe Voice

Chillicothe’s Hometown Hero — Sid Crabel

Jul 26, 2023 10:43AM ● By Gary Sharp

Volunteer - Mentor - Public Servant 

Heroes don’t always wear capes but some wear many capes of differing colors without being asked to. And that my friends, is the true essence of the volunteer and public servant. Water, H20, the blood of all life on earth—clean, clear, and cool from our own personal dispenser—provided to us each day for a multitude of uses that are mostly taken for granted as if it will never be threatened. 

In Chillicothe, we are blessed to have a seemingly never-ending, vast supply, which may be debatable, but the truth is we would never taste a drop of it without a formidable network of public service workers, who supply constant care and maintenance to the delivery system itself. Ice for your tea and martinis and a drink for your roses and gardenias. Since Earl Fulton and Art Jackson, we have depended on Public Works Superintendents to continue safe operations and protections to the quality of our water—a huge responsibility. One such person was Sid Crabel. 

Born May 26, 1943, at Methodist Hospital in Peoria to Clyde and Ilion Wait Crabel, Sid was hired in 1978 by then-Mayor Dick Fislar, to run all public works, street maintenance, and cemetery operations for the city with a career that lasted 31 years. The son of a railroad conductor on the Santa Fe and a 66 year City Clerk legend, he turned 80 on his last birthday. In his youth, he attended Pearce Grade School and his freshman and senior years at Chillicothe High. His sophomore and junior years of education were at the Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri where he learned discipline and leadership skills. His senior year at Chillicothe High he played left defensive tackle for Coach Taylor at six foot one and 225 pounds because he wanted to go out as a Grey Ghost. For five years after he received his diploma, he worked in construction for Roecker Bros., Jobst Construction, and Martin Bros. out of Morton. He attended ICC for classes in blueprint reading, classes pertaining to water wells, purification, chemicals, fluoride, and alike which prepared him to pass the EPA Test and qualify him for the position of Superintendent of Public Works. 

On April 11, 1969 he married Sharon Dawson, a very strong and stabilizing wife and mother who helped him raise six sons during their 52-year marriage. They are Shannon, Scott, Shawn, Richard, Danny, and Wade. She also held the position of City Clerk for 25 years and sadly passed away in September of 2021. Over the years, Sid has had 2 open heart surgeries, the last in 2009, and says I really shouldn’t be here, but I am blessed to have and I appreciate all my friends and family who love me. 

In a great portion of Sid’s adult life, he has volunteered and coached youth sports and sponsored many teams from his small business of Sid’s CB Radios. When he coached, he felt he could make positive influences and guide young athletes toward successful outcomes in life. In his years spent in the Junior Football League, as a coach, he often remembers many of them that he tried to teach and inspire to play the game he loved so much. In the little town of White Lake Michigan, a Pastor of The Wellsprings Bible Church, Randy Bachman, remembers his old friend, mentor, and coach with great affection and will never forget the man with the big heart who was always there each night at practice for them. 

“Happiness does not result from what we get, but from what we give,”  Ben Carson. 

For some 33 years, he helped run the sideline chain gang at Grey Ghost home games with J. Willis, K. Turner, B. Liner, S. Mauer, R. Fisher, and others. And over those same years, Sid also guided an effective band of brothers who answered and repaired emergency calls for the comfort and convenience of the public. Names like J. Long, D. Butler, S. Yoder, D. Sorenson, G. Schaefer, and R. Rupp. Although Sid had to step down from public service in 2009, he is still consulted at times when his knowledge, advice, and experience are called upon. 

The Crabel name has been a part of Chillicothe since 1923 with three of the best dedicated public servants on record. There have been and always will be Hometown Heroes in Chillicothe of different walks, occupations, and stature and now Clyde Sid Crabel, a hometown son, joins those ranks. Thank you Coach for all your contributions that helped shape our town.