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Wednesday, Aug 08 2012 08:55 AM

Family, friends mourn death of Heath Crowder

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Tehachapi resident Heath Crowder was killed in a traffic accident on Friday, Aug. 3. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Church of the Nazarene, 19016 Highline Road.

Services for Heath Crowder of Tehachapi, who was killed in a traffic accident last week will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Church of the Nazarene, 19016 Highline Road, Tehachapi. A potluck will follow the services.

According to Tehachapi police, Mr. Crowder was driving his motorcycle east on Tehachapi Boulevard at about 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3, when a tractor/trailer combination traveling westbound turned in front of him.

He was unable to avoid striking the rear wheels of the trailer and is believed to have died on impact.

The truck driver has been identified as 52 year old Deborah Van Dyke, a resident of Coppell, Tex. Neither Van Dyke nor her passenger was injured.

Investigation into the collision is continuing and no citations have been issued or arrests made at the time of the release on Friday evening.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call the Tehachapi Police Department at 661-822-2222.

Resident since 1994
A resident of Tehachapi since 1994, Mr. Crowder was born in Portales, New Mexico, on Dec. 10, 1973.

He worked for the Bear Valley Community Services District for 10 years then moved on to work for Lehigh Cement as a laborer for the last six months.

He and his wife, Wendy, met in 1998 and were married in 2004. They have two children, Heath Jr., 11, and Avala, 9.

Pastor Darren Reed of the Church of the Nazarene had this to say about Mr. Crowder:

“This young man was one of the most kind hearted and naturally compassionate individuals I have ever met.  Once you were able to draw him into a relationship you knew you had a friend for life who would give of himself selflessly if it meant a need would be met.

"The times we spent talking about the important things of life (family, his future and God) were absolutely precious.  His tender heart desired to take it all in and pursue the very best God had to offer.

"Though life was difficult at times he seemed to truly desire to walk the right path and live his life to the full.  No doubt the joy of his life was his family.  And the more he discovered a deeper relationship with the Lord the deeper his love and dedication to his family became.

“Heath's family lost more than just a son, dad and a husband.  Others lost more than just a friend.  We all lost a wonderful man who sought the heart of God and desired to know Him more.  Though we mourn our loss we rejoice Heath is in the eternal presence of the one he pursued.”

According to family and friends, Heath loved his current job at Lehigh and became friends with many of his co-workers.  He has always been highly respected any any job he has held.

Many friends and co-workers will tell stories of the motorcycle rides that were planned since the Crowder’s purchased the Harley a short time ago.  He loved the freedom that riding his motorcycle has brought him. When Heath was on his bike it made him feel happy and free.

His favorite past time and passion was his music.  His mom will tell you that he was born with a musical ear.  He was so talented that he was able to play any instrument that he picked up.  He passed on his musical talents by teaching his children to play the guitar and the piano. Music was a great passion and always near and dear to his heart.

On the weekends, Heath spent his time taking the family to Central Park where he could teach Avala to skateboard and spend his time with his family. Heath and his son spent many hours playing video games, which Heath lost most of the time but he didn’t care as he was with his family.

In addition to his wife and children, Heath Christopher Crowder and Avala Brooke Crowder, survivors include his parents John and Mary Murray along with an extensive list of family and friends.

A car wash fund-raising event, for the family of Heath Crowder, will take place Saturday, Aug. 25 at noon, at the parking lot behind the Kmart Store at 710 W. Tehachapi Blvd.

Also, employees at Lehigh Cement have established a “Heath Crowder Memorial Fund” and donations may be made at Calaveras Tehachapi Federal Credit Union, 206 S. Green St., Tehachapi.

And donations for the family may be made at Safe 1 Credit Union, Tehachapi by calling 822-8000.

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