SCIOTO — Following a severe bout of the coronavirus, Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree died in a Columbus hospital Wednesday morning.
“It is with a broken heart and profound regret that we announce the passing of our dear friend Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree,” the commissioners posted on Facebook. “We ask that you please pray for Dianna his wife and their entire family. We will miss our friend.”
Many local leaders and citizens also expressed their sadness in his passing, including Mayor Kevin Johnson and his fellow Commissioners.
“Our family is very saddened to hear this news,” said Johnson on Facebook. “Our prayers and condolences go out to Dianna and family. We pray for God’s comfort at this very sad time.”
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, and Ohio Sen. Terry Johnson also issued statements, noting Crabtree’s service to southern Ohio.
“As Scioto County Commissioner, Mike was a dedicated public servant who I worked with closely on a lot of important issues impacting Southern Ohio, including the opioid epidemic and the Piketon uranium enrichment plant,” said Portman. “He will be remembered as a hard worker who always fought for the people of Scioto County.”
“Mike was a good friend and neighbor to my family and to me,” added Johnson. “He was a fellow Army veteran—one of my “Army buddies”—and he was a dedicated public servant. Above all, he was a wonderful human being.”
News broke of Crabtree’s diagnosis during the weekend, who was not present at the previous two meetings, where the commissioners asked for prayers from the community. A prayer vigil was originally scheduled for Monday, Nov. 30, but later canceled due to the weather and concerns of a mass gathering.
Just last month, Crabtree was re-elected to another four-year term in his victory over Democratic candidate Matt Seifert with more than 67% of the vote.
Most voters willing to speak with the Portsmouth Daily Times on Nov. 3 identified with Crabtree’s commitment to conservative values and supported his efforts in keeping the county operating during the pandemic.
“It was only because his values and just person-to-person connection,” said Homer Young on election day, among the 20,822 Crabtree voters. “When you get to know someone, you always try to back them.”
Going into his fourth term, the lifetime native of Scioto County oversaw such decisions as the reorganization of the Southern Ohio Port Authority in 2014, the purchase of the Courthouse Annex in 2015, and the allocation of $400,000.00 toward the purchase of a new Nex Gen 911 system in 2016.
These decisions, along with the more recent appropriations of CARES Act funds, placed the county to his campaign’s estimation to be “in the best financial shape it has ever been.”
His support for GOP causes earned the praise of the recently-formed Scioto County Young Republicans, who assisted in his re-election efforts. According to Scioto County Board of Elections voting results, Crabtree received 2,000 more votes than in 2016 and nearly 6,000 more than in 2012.
“From our inaugural meeting to our cleanup event, Mike Crabtree was always present to support the Scioto County Young Republicans. Mike loved Scioto County and he loved our great nation,” posted the group on Facebook. “A true patriot and servant leader, Mike will continue to inspire young Republicans for years to come.”
Crabtree was also involved with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, where CCAO President and Monroe County Commissioner Carl Davis reflected on their seven years of work together.
“Mike and I served on CCAO’s board together, and I saw firsthand his dedication to his county, and I have always admired his commitment to our association,” he said. “He was a champion of the idea that counties can achieve and accomplish more by working together for a common goal.”
Outside of the political office, Crabtree was an Army veteran, a licensed aircraft pilot, and a member of several organizations such as the American Legion, the NRA, and Eastern Star in Lucasville.
He is survived by his wife, Diana, four children, and 10 grandchildren.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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