EL PASO HALL OF FAME REFEREE DIES AT AGE 90
James Crouch accumulated many titles in his 90 years,
earning recognition from the U.S. Army and from the El Paso athletic community
for his years of service.
Crouch, who died Monday after a lengthy illness at the
age of 90, was a referee, a softball star, a decorated soldier, and
the highest ranking African‑American civilian employee in the history of Fort
Bliss when he retired in 2010.
But more than all that, he was a mentor to countless youth
in El Paso.
“Growing up in Fort Bliss, Mr. Crouch not only took
care of me, he took care of a lot of children at Fort Bliss whose fathers were
deployed and away,” said Wayne Thornton, the public relations director of
the El Paso Parks and Recreation department. “He was a father figure. He
was a good man, an honest man.”
Crouch is the man in stripes
Crouch retired after 30 years in the Army as a chief warrant
officer 4. He then was a civilian employee for the next 32 years and retired as
the highest ranking African‑American in Fort Bliss history as GM‑14, a civilian
equivalent to lieutenant colonel.
He was also inducted into the El Paso Athletic
Hall of Fame as a referee in 2006, and into the El Paso Softball Hall of
Fame as a player in 2015.
inducted into El Paso Golf Hall of Fame
He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Lillian
Crouch. They had four children and numerous grandchildren.
“He loves children, he loves sports, he loved
officiating,” Lillian Crouch said. “He always felt you need to know
the rules to be an official. He was a mentor to other officials. He was
generous, whether helping people financially or just lifting them up when they
“He was just a special person who loved helping
Crouch was born in Dallas and as a soldier was deployed to
Germany, Japan and Korea.