Deputy Montgomery Township Clerk Marge Crawford to Retire after 35 Years on the Job
By Jessie Havens l January 19, 2021
Marge Crawford’s 35 years of service to the people of Montgomery will end this month as quietly as it began in January 1989, when she was sworn in as deputy township clerk.
“I never gave a thought to doing it for this long when I started,” she says. In fact, there was a hiatus when Crawford changed to being receptionist. She thought at the time she would like that better: more dealing with people, less paperwork. But, no. So, she gladly walked back down the hall when Donna Kukla, upon taking over as township clerk, asked her to return, and that has worked out happily for both of them.
“I needed her,” is Kukla’s flat-out explanation. "When Peter Rayner hired me to be clerk, I needed someone who knew how this office works, and Crawford knew everything: liquor licenses, fish and game, you name it.”
Crawford knew the who’s who of Montgomery Township, and how things come together. Her husband, Fred Crawford, comes from a good old local family, which goes back for generations. Add to that Marge herself was a child of the suburbs. She fit right in when her father’s job with Mobil Oil brought her from Massapequa to Kendall Park, South Brunswick High School, and where she had made life-long friends.
Crawford was working at Montgomery National Bank in the 1980s, when the former township clerk, Lynn Rogers, made her acquaintance. Rogers noticed that Crawford worked well with people, and offered her a job at town hall.
Just what there is about Crawford’s way is hard to define. Somehow, it is just who she is, courteous, competent, unfailingly helpful, a go-to person who knows the answers and can unscramble the confusion of endless government regulations. But at the same time she is not just one more polished professional doing her job, Marge is doing it for you one-on-one. Or, at least she has been for the least 35 years.
“I just treat people the way I want to be treated,” is Crawford’s explanation. And her way was always the same no matter who came to the clerk’s window, total strangers or best friends. Only be aware, rules are rules, no exceptions. Don’t even ask.
In this land of opportunity, the same job year-after-year may not seem all that great; but for Crawford, looking back, there are no regrets. To her — having good friends, a loving family, and a respectable job— and doing it well — are what really matters.
In retirement, Crawford looks forward to a big new job. She and Fred are planning to build a retirement home in the Great Smokey Mountains, on a quiet road with some space around it. They envision an acre of land and a house, all on one floor out of consideration of her father’s 88-year-old knees. Of course he is coming along.
“You don’t leave family behind,” Crawford says.
A voracious reader, Crawford pictures herself relaxed in a back yard with her books. Friends assure them neighborliness down there is a way of life, which suits her and Fred just fine.
For anyone as well-known and liked as Marge Crawford, her retirement would have meant a big send-off, if COVID had not ruled that out. So the alternative good-bye for well-wishers is to send parting thoughts, best wishes, old photos, and remembrances to her via Township Clerk Donna Kukla, who will put all that she receives into a nice big memory box for Crawford to take along to Tennessee.
Send cards to: Marge Crawford, c/o Donna Kukla, Montgomery Township Clerk's Office, 2261 Route 206, Belle Mead, NJ, 08502.