Criswell Davis

December 1st, 1950 - October 3rd, 2022

Biography


James Criswell Davis (“Criswell” to the world, “Cheesewheel” to some of his closest friends, and “Bongo” to his grandsons) passed away peacefully on October 3rd, 2022. He was 71. Encapsulating the life of a man like Criswell, whose presence touched so many the world over and whose rapturous storytelling bordered on the mythological, is a tall order. Certainly we will miss important chapters. Friends will flesh out stories and correct the details, drawing and moving the chalk line between fact and hyperbole. And yet, what can we do but try?


Criswell entered the world in Bryn Mawr, PA in 1950, the second of four children born to Mary Jean Tyson and Richard Coleman Davis. He is survived by beloved siblings Stephen Springer Davis, Scott Tyson Davis, and Darragh Davis, to whom he was devoted and with whom he remained in contact weekly through the end of his life. As a boy he spent several years at the Kimberton Farm School before attending Episcopal Academy, where he developed an early and ultimately lifelong affinity for wearing a suit and tie, eventually drove a sleek little MGB GT6 sports car, and fostered many deep friendships that continued to flourish through the time of his passing.


During his time at Colorado College, he competed in demolition derbies with his friends and their trusty steed, a majestically rusted husk of a car known as Bumphead Naso. In the same era, he attended the famed Woodstock music festival with his brother Steve, the two of them arriving in a VW bus with nothing to eat but a single blueberry pie sans fork or knife, and ultimately departing around the time of Jimi Hendrix’s set because they had to pee. (Yes, he was asked many times in the intervening years why he didn’t simply pee on the ground where he stood. His reply? “We were polite Episcopal boys!”)


He began an ultimately storied career in restaurants, which also helped introduce him to the light of his life, Bridget Walsh. They would end up together for an astounding 48 years, married for 39 - though of course Criswell, always the completist, insisted that he “wanted credit for all 48”. Criswell’s love for his family, immediate and extended alike, was the stuff of legend. A model son-in-law to Barbara and William Walsh (as well as brother-in-law and uncle to innumerable Walshes), he adored Bridget’s family and was as devoted to them as he was to the family the two of them built together: son Cole and daughter Teagan, and eventually Cole’s wife Mary and their two amazing boys, Max and Murphy.


As Cole and Teagan grew up, Criswell supported their interests and pursuits without hesitation, enthusiastically attending every one of Cole’s concerts (yes, even the ones at dive bars at 1am) or Teagan’s plays (yes, even the ones that were, ah... challenging). He talked endlessly about their talents to anyone who would listen, and even dipped his toes into the theatrical waters a few times himself! He went so far as to give a deeply charming performance as Don Pedro in a production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing in the 1990s (or, as he always described it in the years since, “the time I played Denzel Washington in that play”).


In one of the all-time great examples of a college major having less than nothing to do with one’s ultimate life trajectory, Criswell, a man with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy of Religion, ended up as a consultant and one of the foremost experts in the world on the topic of sustainable hardwoods. After years working in lumber sales, he spent the last decade of his life championing the use of these and other natural materials in built environments to architects and designers across the globe, promoting the physical, psychological, and environmental benefits of biophilic design. One of his proudest professional accomplishments was the delivery of a TedX talk in Dayton, Ohio in October of 2019. Throughout the course of this career, he traveled the world to a degree many only dream of, achieving Delta Airlines’ million-mile Diamond status (and he would be the first to tell you that these were “butt-in-seat” miles, never earned so cheaply as by promotions or credit card purchases). He got to visit some of his favorite locales numerous times over the years, had devoted friends on every continent, and only got almost-trapped in a foreign nation due to impending religious civil war once.


Throughout his life, Criswell was a dedicated sportsman, running marathons and other long distances for decades. He routinely woke up at 4am to run and exercise before heading off to work, including a unique 13-year routine of feline-assisted sit-ups with his beloved cat Chloe on his chest. In 1978 he founded the Sailin’ Shoes Run for Fun in Colorado Springs, which has lasted for decades beyond his departure from Colorado. He completed the Hood to Coast Relay, and even ran the Pikes Peak Marathon a whopping five times. The first time he ran the latter, he bet Bridget that if he was able to cross the finish line, she in turn would have to quit smoking. Needless to say, Bridget hasn’t smoked a cigarette in over forty years. Never bet against the Cheesewheel.


His love of music endured to the very end, even dancing with his nurses to Tower of Power in the hospital. He spent decades as an avid record collector and amateur percussionist, playing funk tunes as loud as they would go and frequently busting out whatever handheld drums were nearby to add a little color to the recording. He even had a brief stint as a conga player in a college hip-hop jam band (now, you may be wondering “did hip-hop really even exist when Criswell was in college?”, to which this writer is obligated to reply that while the founding band members were all college students, Criswell himself was in fact in his late fifties at the time. Does this surprise you? Of course it doesn’t.)


Criswell was a peacemaker who almost never raised his voice. An extrovert who knew that every room he entered was full of potential new best friends. An avid gardener who was fascinated by the workings of the natural world. A gadget-lover so devoted that he used to receive personalized Christmas cards from the manager of the last remaining Radio Shack in Dayton, Ohio. A friend to all animals, from the many beloved cats and dogs he owned throughout his life to the ragtag gang of backyard squirrels he called “Bennie and the Jets”. A dedicated friend who always sought to bring people together, regardless of physical distance. A theatrical storyteller, forever delighting audiences and friends with the mythmaking, charm, and hyperbole of what was lovingly nicknamed “The Criswell Show”. A husband whose adoration of his wife was unflagging and all-encompassing. A father who thought his kids hung the moon, and more importantly who would never say no when they asked him to read them a book “the funny way” for the hundredth time.


Criswell continued to astound us with an unbridled enthusiasm for life, boundless optimism, an unmatched sense of humor, and an extremely generous nature. He always joked that he would die while regaling us with one last, previously-untold great story about himself and Mick Jagger. He never got to tell it, but there’s not a single doubt in anyone’s mind; it would have been amazing.

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About

Name Criswell Davis
Date of Birth December 1st, 1950
Date of Death October 3rd, 2022
Home Town Bryn Mawr, PA, US 
Other City Louisville, KY, US 
Favourite Saying “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” - often attributed to Mark Twain, factual origin ironically unknown

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Liz Loughran published a tribute .

Dear Bridget, and Cole, Mary, Max and Murphy, and Teagan,
This was sad news about a joyful, giving, energizing man, and we will all miss him as we age: who will teach us -- becoming the elders ourselves -- how to tell stories that bring gusto and energy and smiles and resonate across generations?

I'm Bridget's cousin, among the "elders" of the Straub family, and we're always devastated when we lose one of our clan. Terry (my husband), Michael (our son) and his family Katie, Ruby, Miles and Eloise; and our daughters KT and Molly send you love and more love. Liz

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Darragh Davis published a tribute .

I am Criswell’s younger sister, Darragh. I am coming to this memorial late because I needed time to deal with my brother’s death.
From a young age, I looked up to all 3 of my brothers, but Criswell was always different. I was a bit starstruck by him. He wasn’t like his siblings. Whereas Steve, Scott, and I were introverted and somewhat serious, Criswell was outgoing, funny, and charming. In an old home movie segment, where he is 7 or 8 dancing at one of our parents’ parties. He wasn’t jumping around like many kids would. He’s had smooth moves like an adult. He was totally cool.
As we got older, I watched him become the ultimate social guy. I remember our mother teaching me how to iron Criswell’s tuxedo shirt, cummerbund, and bow tie before he left for a party night in high school. I was dazzled.
It really wasn’t until I was much older that I got to know Criswell as an adult I spent some time with him during his first terrible bout with cancer. I was amazed by his resilience though he was clearly suffering. He managed to keep his spirits up and was so grateful to his doctors and nurses.
Through our weekly sibling zoom calls over the last 3 years, I learned more about him through his elaborate stories, his weird sense of humor, and his strong belief in the goodness of people. He was curious about all kinds of strange things and delighted by the beauty in the world. He was horrified about current politics. He was warm, loving, and supportive in sad times. I loved him and will miss him terribly.

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Judy Chrastina published a tribute .

I met Criswell in Switzerland in 1972 and we travelled as friends to the Canary Islands where I was going to meet my mother. We had many wonderful and philosophical conversations in those days of such innocence. We went our separate ways and then in 2016, Criswell contacted me on LinkedIn and it was great to reconnect with him and to get caught up on approx 50 years. He had just survived one of his cancers. I just read today about Criswell’s death and I am saddened by this news. From what I have known about Criswell, from the days gone by and since reconnecting with him, he was an amazing husband, father and friend to many. I am so sorry for your loss and please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of this wonderful man. May his name and memory always be a blessing

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Bridget Walsh published a tribute .

To all those who have written, or even just thought about writing:

I know the right words don’t always come quickly or easily, and so we thank you sincerely for thinking about Criswell, and for taking the time and the energy to put into words, written or mentally, how you felt about the man we all knew and loved.

The heartfelt remembrances we’ve read here are full of joy and celebration of Criswell, something he would have appreciated, especially from such a varied group of family, friends, and colleagues. Now I feel like it’s my turn to say a few words. Some of them will echo the sentiments that have already been expressed, and some will be from my own experience.

I had the honor of calling Criswell my partner for 48 years. The day I met him in August of 1974 at the Victoria Station restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, I knew he was smart, and funny, and oh, so handsome. I also knew I wanted to spend more time around him. It took us a few months to figure out where it was all headed, but by December of that year we were living together.

We were very different in many ways, but more compatible than even I might have anticipated. I like to think that we complemented one another. We didn’t always agree, but we never went to sleep angry or upset. Even when he was traveling the world, sometimes for weeks at a time, we talked every day.

He loved having an audience, of one, or hundreds. When I insisted on factual details about a story he was telling, he, undaunted, continued to embellish. When I was frustrated with something not going as well as I would have liked, he encouraged me by pointing out what was going right. He always shared with me things he thought I might enjoy. Oh, and he cleaned the bathrooms, willingly and regularly, something he considered an essential trait of a good husband!

Criswell loved meeting new people. Introvert that I am, stepping into a room full of strangers was never on my list of fun things to do, but Criswell saw it as a welcome opportunity. So many new people to meet, and new things to learn; so many stories to absorb, and share later with others. He was a firm believer in the idea that we all have something to offer one another, and that it wasn’t going to just happen on its own. You needed to take the reins and guide and nurture those interactions into relationships and, hopefully, lasting friendships.

His professional life alone was a testament to this philosophy. When he ran restaurants in his younger life, he was a well-known and admired man-about-town, greeting everyone by name and asking about their lives. He began his work in the lumber industry with our dear friend Jim Paxton in 1988. The thing he loved most about lumber sales was going to visit customers around the country, seeing what they were producing with the raw materials his companies provided. Rarely did he actually talk about buying or selling lumber. It was the relationship that closed the sale. After he began speaking to architects and designers worldwide, that reach extended even further. When I think of all of the people he brought together within those professional fields since that time, I have to recognize it as a masterful skill. We moved around a lot, following opportunities offered to him, but he never left people behind, always staying in touch and visiting when he had the chance.

Criswell approached life with a childlike curiosity and enthusiasm that were enviable. Throughout all of his health challenges over the years, he always fought with a determination that belied his gentle nature. COVID was extremely hard on him. While I was content to be sequestered at home, trying to figure out why we’d moved so much stuff with us into a house barely half the size of our previous one, he was longing for human interaction. Facetime, Skype, and Zoom became essential tools, and he made excellent use of them. His friendships, whether lifelong or newly found, were always of great importance to him.

Cole, Teagan, and I have been talking these last several weeks about the many things he did get to do in his life, and it’s a pretty impressive list. Aside from being a successful ambassador for whichever career he was committed to at the time, he also traveled the world, visiting Australia on more than 15 occasions, but also seeing India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Japan, China, Turkey, and other exotic locations, flying so often that he needed to have extra pages added to his passport. He felt privileged to have worked with a large number of top-tier architects and designers on some internationally recognized projects, but he was just as proud of the smaller ones his hands touched. He had an opportunity to drive a new friend’s Rolls Royce, a gesture that fulfilled a lifelong dream. He got to meet Tower of Power, his favorite band ever, in person several years ago. We had enjoyed many live Little Feat performances over the years, but saw them again this past summer in Cincinnati, as well as Snarky Puppy, a newer favorite. More importantly, he got to meet all of you, who have remembered him so eloquently here.

His family was the center of his life. From our own children and grandchildren, whom he adored, to his siblings, and their spouses and children, as well as my sometimes overwhelmingly large clan, Criswell was always at ease, and unanimously loved. Our sweet grandsons will see him in the stars now, and feel comforted by the memories they have of “Bongo”. We’ll have a treasure trove of stories and events that will last for the rest of our lives.

Thank you all for being a part of that Criswell life. He appreciated you beyond measure, and I believe we’ve all benefitted from the circle of people he brought together over his 71 years. I suspect those ripple effects will continue to be felt around the world for quite a while.

Bridget

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Buck Walsh published a comment .

Lovely words Bridge. Criswell was such a positive influence on me when I was growing up as you know well. So many great memories of him over the years. He will be missed. We love you xx

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Julian Whitaker published a tribute .

So sorry to hear of the passing of Criswell. We met through our shared love of timber and bonded over that and music. A genuine, beautiful human, who I feel privileged for having known. RIP mate.

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Walter Lourie published a tribute .

Criswell and I met during Covid.... actually, we never physically met. I was zoom interviewing him to speak at a conference in Seattle. He was to be a panelist with me and two other professionals in sustainable design. The topic was focused on the use of wood for interiors and the benefits toward human health. For this zoom meeting he was dressed in a tie and jacket. We never got the slot in the conference but we made a decision to meet the following week and then the following week and so on.... I haven’t been able to calculate the total number of times we had zooms but I bet it was well over 80 meetings since then. The readers of this and the family that knew him understand how the story goes... best friends, mentor, laughter music etc. but mostly we discussed wood and travel stories. A consummate professional, the only time he sort-of cussed is when we talked about the latest political nightmare. He was someone I could count on to help pull my head out of the pit in a bad situation and he taught me so much by just being honest, straight forward and authentic.

I remember him making a point to learn everything he could about what I was doing and wasn’t too shy to ask advise... from me of all people!

Ever impressed with his love for his family he was a true example of a good husband, father and grandfather.

Reading these tributes helps me to heal. Thank you to the Davis family for this outlet for comfort and for sharing the storied and very interesting life of my friend Criswell. Thank you Bridget for sharing him with me every Tuesday at 9 am. Thank you Criswell for so many things and may your soul be with the blessed.

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Charles Chan published a tribute .

I met Criswell about 10 years ago in the bar that I am working at in Melbourne, Australia. He was amazed at the way we reused/recycled hardwood floorboards and used them for our bar counters. He was truly in love with wood!
He came back to Australia many times and I had the privilege of meeting Bridget. Criswell came back to Melbourne again with Teagan, but I was was away on vacation and didn’t have the opportunity of meeting her. Criswell showed me pictures of Cole wearing our bar T- shirts at gigs. He was so proud of his family.
We kept in contact via Facebook and Instagram. He posted such lovely things about his family.
He had such a lively and engaging personality and was someone who loved life. I was so shocked at seeing a post that he passed… I had to take some time for it to sink in. I will miss him dearly.
Rest in Love & Light ❤️

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Lesley Murray published a tribute .

What a beautiful tribute, y'all. I can just imagine Criswell gushing about it with pride. He was a bright light in this world, and he brought out the best in all of us who encountered him.

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Steve Banks published a tribute .

I only came to know Criswell three years ago when I called him to introduce myself with the intention of talking about the concept of promoting hardwoods. Ha! Did I ever call the right guy! We became instant friends, one thing leading to another, trading ideas, enjoying many conversations, pursuing projects together and building a wonderful, easy relationship. I consider him to be one of the finest guys I've ever known and definitely one of our industry's most devoted and passionate lumbermen. He was and shall remain a great inspiration to me and to many in our industry. He was a very big, wonderful influence on me. A dear and sincere man with a great heart, beautiful values, a wonderful personality who placed high value on friends and family and appreciated each and every day. Criswell Davis. A man I am proud to have known, a good friend, someone I will truly miss. I thank you Criswell for the time you shared and for how much you cared. I hope your heaven has wood floors, solid hardwood paneling and a great stone fireplace where a warm, crackling fire from well-seasoned firewood will keep you smiling. Cheers!

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Jeanna Flores published a tribute .

I met Criswell years ago when I was a restaurant manager in Dallas. He made such an impression on myself and the staff with his conversation and appreciation for the food and service. The next time he visited, which I believe might have been months later, he was so impressed that I remembered him, he sent in a compliment to our company recognizing me and the staff. It was only those two times I ever had the pleasure of talking to Criswell face to face, but I will always remember his kindness and genuine spirit. My sincere condolences to the family. Rest In Peace Criswell.

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Bill Hayward published a tribute .

When I contracted throat cancer last rear, I remembered seeing a page on Criswell's Facebook account called Team Criswell. He detailed his own battle with cancer several years ago and received many encouraging posts from friends and family. Not having seen him since the early 70's, I took a chance he would remember me and give me some advice dealing with my condition. He messaged me back almost immediately and so began a series of communications by phone and facebook. He shared his experiences, which were more hair-raising than mine, involving weeks in the hospital, feeding tubes, and side-effects from treatment. He was generous with his time, and detailed his illness with no self-pity, and much gratitude to all his family and supporters. He had other medical issues subsequently, but never brought them up, staying on topic with me and my situation. He often sent unsolicited well wishes, even around the time he was seriously sick with Covid last summer. Two of the last messages I received from him included "Life is precious" and "Stay safe and healthy". He was kind and modest. Anyone who ever knew him will miss him.
My sincere condolences to Bridget and his family.

Godspeed, Criswell

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Scott Tyson Davis published a tribute .

Criswell always radiated coolness, even as a little kid. As his younger brother, I always looked up to him. I remember watching him stride around in a Halloween costume that made him look like a real, genuine cowboy. Hat, boots, spurs, leather chaps. Another Halloween, he was transformed into a dashing Musketeer with an actual fencing foil. A questionable decision. By the time I wore that outfit, the sword was gone.

Like our TV heroes, Criswell was a also a man of action. When he was 11 and I was 9, we were riding in a train by ourselves from Philadelphia to Denver on our way to a horse-back riding camp. I developed a crushing migraine headache. It felt like molten lead was being poured into my brain. When the train stopped in Chicago, Criswell found the conductor and declared that the train could not move until a doctor came to care for me. He came, with a big syringe, and I was saved.

Criswell’s coolness expanded over time. In high school, he was really popular, always heading out to parties and dating the prettiest girls. One night, I’m not kidding, he scheduled three different dates at different times and managed to pull it off.

Then, there was the car. He somehow convinced our dad to buy a Triumph GT6. It was a blue two-seater and he would drive it to school every day. I got to ride in the passenger seat but our little sister, Darragh, had to lie on her side under the hatch-back window. We didn’t question this.

The coolness disparity continued. I became a huge fan of Little Feat. Criswell became friends with Lowell George. I became an architect and worked on interesting projects for respected firms. But I never met some of the architect celebrities I admired. Criswell, didn’t just talk to these guys. He made friends with them. They corresponded for years. He evidently met them when they stopped to hear a few minutes of Criswell’s lunchtime presentations on the merits of quartersawn oak. This is just not normal.

There are people who just charm you – raconteurs who insist that we leave boredom and angst behind for a while, and step into a world that is ridiculous, fascinating, and endlessly entertaining. They look out on the same bland landscape that we do. But they paint something wonderful. It is a rare gift and one that Criswell had and he shared with everyone he knew.

My wife points out that I, too, enjoy telling stories – long ones, that perhaps go into too much painstaking detail. But I am going to keep on telling them. In this world when our screens constantly flicker with seductive and absurd messages and videos, Criswell showed how the art of just talking can draw us into one another’s worlds and make us feel connected and human.

Telling the story of Criswell is impossible. Nothing I say here can begin to capture his multifaceted life. I will just say that I am grateful to have been his little brother, to bask in his coolness, and to have him in my life.

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Grant Peck published a tribute .

I am so sorry to be writing about Criswell rather than to him. He was a dear friend for over 40 years. We worked together for a short time back in/around 1980 and then kept in touch for all the years after.

I am so thankful to have the opportunity to meet so many of his other friends through this memorial. Amazing really but then again not at all surprising to find he had made such an impact in so many other peoples lives. To bring these people together is a great tribute to a man whose life touched so very many. My deepest and sincerest condolences to Bridget, Cole and Teagen. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

The idea of this memorial and how it's set up is completely consistent with what Criswell would have wanted and what he would have created had he been here to handle. Thankfully his family carries on. Thank you Bridget Cole and Teagen for this venue for all of us.

We were the kind of friends who would check in on each other from time to time and each time we connected we were reminded how easily we slipped back into the familiarity we had when we spent more time together. We just picked up where we left off as if no time had passed. Once he moved away from the Boulder area we connected less, making each time we connected that much more meaningful.

Our shared beliefs and opinions covered about every topic we ever discussed. He made such conversations easy, but one had to learn how to get their own thoughts into the mix. He was so articulate and always determined to make it through countless stories, coming up for air very rarely. We navigated this with a degree of pride as he would be forced to do the same with me.

I shared his love for music and thank him for the introduction to the many bands I'd never heard of. When he moved I kept his vast collection of vinyl for more years than I can count; always amazed at his collection and diverse interests. When he would come over we'd share songs with each other, with very strict rules about alternating choice. We were both so eager to get the other to enjoy what we had discovered. I never kept up with him however and to this day enjoy music from bands he introduced me to.

I concur and relate with so many of the stories and characteristics shared by others here. He was simply put and extraordinary person and friends to so very many. I will miss him terribly. His passing is a great loss to all of us who counted him as husband, father, brother, family and friend.

Rest in peace Criswell.

Your friend.

Grant

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Carl Herrmann published a tribute .

The minute I met Criswell in the mid 90s he was my friend. We both worked in the lumber business, but we had so much more in common, mostly because he was so smart and enthusiastic about so much. He was a great mentor and friend and he will be missed. I will remember him forever!

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Scott T Davis published a tribute .

This is Scott, Criswell's younger brother. I'm posting this sketch I did of Criswell in the 1970's. He's not posing, he's sleeping on our mother's sofa in her Haverford apartment. I don't think Criswell sported a mustache for long, but there it is.

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Cathy Macneal published a tribute .

Bridget and Criswell, Vashon Island 2016 - always stylish.

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Cathy Macneal published a tribute .

The three amigos. Criswell, Tom Dalzell and J. Downing

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Cathy Macneal published a tribute .

What a beautiful tribute! I can hear Criswell's voice, raving about it. I have thought about him and all of you so many times in the last two weeks. I have known him since he was Cris in high school and then through Tom Dalzell and his and Bridget's visits to Berkeley and Vashon. We enjoyed a lovely dinner once in Marina del Rey on his way to LAX. Special times. Our last phone conversation was about Tom's health. He treasured his many many friends.
To Bridget, Cole, Teagan, Max and Murphy, Steve, Scott and the whole Walsh family - I grieve your loss. I'm starting to ask myself, "What would Criswell do?"
I'll post some more photos.
Sending love, healing and happy memories.
Love, Cathy

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Dominic Mcneil published a tribute .

Criswell loved to quote Frank Lloyd Wright, "Wood is the most humanly intimate of all materials. Man loves his association with it, likes to feel it under his hand, sympathetic to his touch and to his eye. Wood is universally beautiful to Man." I heard Criswell quote this many times as we travelled together across the globe promoting wood to architects and designers. He would always start his presentations with this quote. It is burnt into my memory and I am glad for it. Criswell was passionate about timber and loved to share the message that "any space is better for having timber in it." Criswell you are right but I would also add that any space is better for having had Criswell in it as well. It has been an honour to have known and spent so many wonderful journeys with Criswell. I will always remember how he was able to make any boring meeting or presentation fun and how he was able to engage, with ease, with anyone of any culture. He was so easy to like and filled any room joy. I will miss you mate.

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Meghen Hiller published a tribute .

Such a beautiful tribute to such a wonderful man. I have been privileged to know Criswell my entire life - as an Uncle and friend. He was such a joy to be around - engaging, caring, a wonderful father, uncle and just all around good guy. I have so many fond memories of sharing stories with him at family events - he was such a fantastic story teller. I will miss him dearly and send all my love.

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Nancy Gill published a tribute .

In the action. Of corse KB isn't in costume! Too Coll for school.

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Nancy Gill published a tribute .

Apologize for looking so starry eyed.. Gin will do it!

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Nancy Gill published a tribute .

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Nancy Gill published a comment .

So nice to read your thoughts TAD !

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Nancy Elizabeth Gill Lui published a tribute .

As sad as I have felt over the last few days having gotten news of Criswell, I have also had some great flash backs of memorable ties I shared with him—and Colorado College friends. Crazy how memories that are not on the tip of the brain, seem to bubble up with the effervescence of champagne bubbles when we dig deeply.

I loved just now having read others reminiscences from friends and family. Criswell was truly an amazing person. Fully realized I would say. He and I lived across the street from each other on North Tejon in Colorado Springs during our CC years, just next to the Sugared Mule! That was where we all tasted whole wheat bread and bean sprouts for the first time! We were hooked. Sam Hyatt was the owner, and a recently returned Vietnam veteran, anti-war activist, and sounding board for the many CC students who did not want to go where he had been. We graduated in June 1973, and this was pressing issue for our brothers at the time. The last draft call was on December 7, 1972, and the authority to induct did not expire until June 30, 1973.

Criswell and I were both comparative religion majors. It was true for me, and I think it was for him as well, after our childhood religious indoctrination, we needed to broaden our ideas about spirituality. I think both us especially loved the class on the whirling dervishes and Zoroastrianism. Academically he and I spent many hours together, sometimes enlightening and others tedious. But it had the fewest requirements of any major for graduation so we were able to spread ourselves thin and become true intellectual dilettantes.

I can’t remember which year it was, but in Criswell’s true Pike’s Peak Derby fashion, he and I set a cross country drive from Colorado Springs to DC, arriving at Steve’s front door in 22 hours! Funny how some details are etched on one’s brain, but when this memory came to me in a flash back, I could just see the number 22 flashing in front of me. For someone with a questionable memory, it made me smile! I just googled it and it says 26. We timed ourselves at gas stops—so maybe we really did it in 22! I wish I could remember which of his cars we drove.

Since we were headed to Steve’s, that means I already knew Steve and Peter. In Steve’s wonderful message on the memorial page he humbly refers to the fact that he had a band! And also that Criswell had a radio program on CC’s station. This fact-toid is absolutely central to who Criswell was; he brought us ‘our music.’ And yes, Steve, nothing comes close since. He was equally excited and proud of Steve and Perter’s visits to Colorado Springs and their AMAZING music in their duo-Budgie. (If I got this wrong—so much for the champagne bubbles.) I was in the full bloom of my groupie days then, and I was totally seduced by the amazing music of these two young and gorgeous troubadours! I remember their visits fondly, and the pride that Criswell felt for his big brother—as Steve fully relates, music is central to this legacy.

Fast forward…I lived in Colorado until 1998, but since then in LA.
One day I was giving a lecture at a local museum about a recent book I had published on Chinese vernacular architecture. A man walked into the room after I had started and was standing in the back of the room. I noticed him, but did not recognize him. He was tall, salt and pepper gray hair, and very good looking. Perhaps he was an important curator coming to ‘discover’ me? Haha! After my talk, he stayed around. Finally as the crowd thinned, he came up to me—it was Criswell—without a doubt. I had not seen him in 40 years. Some people you never forget, and I know all of us agree, he is one of those truly unforgettable people.

Soon after we met again in Denver where I have a client who had wonderful white oak floors in a spectacular project that he was thrilled to visit. Full circle, Criswell was building a better world with renewable products and vibrant concern for the environment. The arch of his career is true to the Block Plan that we were indoctrinated with at CC—do one thing at a time, do it with all your heart and intellect, and excel. That is Criswell’s legacy, and gift to us all, of a life well lived.

Some photos to close this reminiscence, are a few I have of Criswell and friends, including Ken Butler and Tad Savinar, who have shared thoughts here. If I recall, this was a garden party, crocket was played, with copious amounts of gin and tonics. We were young, alive, and believed. Criswell held us up!

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Tad Savinar published a tribute .

Our fourth and final entry into the Demolition Derby, "Bumphead Naso the 4th" circa 1972ish, at the foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the wheel; "Bro'way James Criswell Davis" and in navigation,
"P-land Tad Savinar". I think I remember shouting to Criswell as this photo was being snapped, "Be proud".

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Bruce Honeyman published a tribute .

Criswell and I go back to Colorado College together, entering as freshmen. We stayed friends ever since and shared many good times together, usually with Tad Savinar in tow as well, aka The 3 Amigos. Whether it was music, dance, hiking, or talking we always shared laughter and honesty about whatever life handed us--marriage, children, work, family, illnesses, friendships--we shared openly and honestly about it all. That's what good friends do and Criswell was a good friend, one of the best. His character was unassailable and his insights and curiosity were plentiful. He never stopped learning, growing, sharing as all of his friends and acquaintances can attest. My love goes out to his family and friends. I think it's safe to say we were all the beneficiaries of this wonderful, remarkable man. I will miss him terribly and will think of him fondly for all the wonderful music, talk and laughter we shared. Bruce

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Zachary Workman published a tribute .

I met Criswell, like many, through Cole and Teagan.

While we interacted occasionally via Facebook — typically regarding music, such as Little Feat or The Allman Brothers Band’s “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” from “At Fillmore East” — it was always enjoyable to see what he and the family were up to.

One moment that sticks with me is when my father was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma in 2017. Awash in emotion and uncertainty, Criswell asked for my number and gave me a call. We spoke for a little more than an hour and his unique perspective helped set me straight.

I will always be appreciative of, and will never forget, that gesture of humanity.

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Steve James published a tribute .

Two great memories of Criswell. First, he called me the man with the calm hand on the rudder. That meant a lot to me as Frank Miller had its share of turbulent times. The second and probably one of the last conversations he and I had was his famous saying, "If you think you are going to be a "D", just don't. Don't be a "D", just be kind to people. Frank Miller and the hardwood industry owe a debt of gratitude to Criswell, as his charm but white oak and the hardwood industry on the map. Here is one of my favorite pictures of the group upon Criswell's return after his bout with cancer. May his memory live on through all of us.

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Graci published a tribute .

You have no idea what your legacy will be because your legacy is every life you touch.
Maya Angelou

Reading even just a small part of Chriswell’s legacy shows how outstanding this man was and forever will be.
It didn’t matter what interaction you had with him, he was always fully present, kind, curious, interesting, fun and loving..❤️
I always made jokes about how handsome he was, which he obvious was, but those jokes were always rooted in the fact I’ve honestly just never known a man like him. Just a truly exceptional person. Who so obviously l adored his family, life and all of those around him.
And how secretly, and no so secretly, jealous I was of my sweet friend Teagan who got to have such an incredible man for a father.
Gratful and honored to have known him the last 16 years.
His kindness and light, an indelible legacy

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Steve Davis published a tribute .

I’m Criswell’s older brother, Steve. There are a million reasons why I will forever miss my brother. When I search for something common among those reasons I come to sharing. Sharing love for each other, concern for each other, hope for each other, but also for Criswell, the sharing of information and interests was a big part of our relationship. Criswell was always the big communicator among us siblings. It was always important to him to share with us what was going on in his life, but also to find out what was going on in our lives.

He was so thrilled when video conversations became possible in the early 2000’s that he sent me one of those cameras you attached to the computer. Seeing the other person face-to-face while talking was very important to him — whether in person or online. When Zoom became a thing he was the first person I knew who had an account so that conversation wouldn’t be limited to ten minutes. As my brother Scott mentioned, when Covid started, he made a weekly Zoom chat happen for the siblings every Saturday and kept it up till the end, no matter how ill he felt.

During these chats, we would share memories of our childhoods, neighbors, and schools. He would share the latest disasters in politics, with which he was obsessed. We would share recommendations for TV shows (especially British cop dramas) and blow-‘em-up movies. Whatever was going on, with his siblings or the world, Criswell wanted to be in the middle of it all. For me and Criswell, one of lighter aspects of life we shared was our love of music.

It all started with the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I was 16, Criswell 14, and Scott 12. We all wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We were mesmerized. From then on it was our duty to buy every Beatles album and spend hours dissecting each one. Of course, there came The Dave Clark Five, The Kinks, and many other select bands from the British Invasion. I remember Criswell and I played I Am the Walrus over and over trying to figure out what that was all about. Speaking of inscrutable, when he could drive, Criswell was one of the six people in the world who went to see The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour movie. He was not impressed. 

Moving forward, our musical taste expanded into all kinds of rock: The Allman Brothers, Santana, Ten Years After, and many more. When we were both in college Criswell became a DJ on the Colorado College station and he had access to all kinds of great music from many genres and he shared it all with me. Most of my personal record collection came from music he recommended. 

1969 was a banner music year for us. We went to Woodstock and the Atlantic City Pop Festival. We saw The Who play all of Tommy. We saw The Band play the whole Music From Big Pink album. Sly and the Family Stone, The Staples Family, Jeff Beck, and Jethro Tull. We saw James Taylor with our sister Darragh at a folk club just before he released Sweet Baby James. We saw Bonnie Raitt in her first professional gig at the same club. If a band or performer came to Philadelphia we were there. The hits kept coming. 

As a kid, Criswell had an amazing talent for picking up music. Our father played blues piano from time to time and Criswell would ask him to show how to play something. Criswell could immediately play it. For some reason, we had one drum in our basement and that was another of Criswell’s domains, using just one stick. I could show him some chords on my guitar and he then nailed them, often using his percussion skills to play rhythm like Richie Havens. It might be years before he picked up the guitar again and he could instantly recall what I taught him. I often told him that he was such a natural and asked why he hadn’t gotten his own guitar and really learned to play. He told me that practicing was not his thing. Sure he wanted to be the next Eric Clapton…but TODAY. In the '70’s I had an acoustic duo and if he was around he would bring his congas and sit in with us in clubs. He was a fantastic percussionist too.

Our interest in music never flagged, even when we both had families and work. Understandably, we rarely got the chance to discuss the current bands, but much later, when we could share music online, we did that all the time. YouTube was our Library at Alexandria. We could, of course, find any kind of music and we shared videos all the time. We tried not to be cranky baby boomers complaining that today’s music sucks compared to the ’60’s and ’70’s. We failed miserably at not complaining, but sensible people know it’s true.

When Criswell was ill with throat cancer, my siblings and I each went out to Ohio to help Bridget manage his care. He was, sadly, very ill at the time, but I remember that somehow his record collection arrived at some point from out west where a friend had been storing it for years. He was so proud that each record was inside a special sleeve, inside the cover and each album was inside a special plastic sleeve. There were a couple hundred records. His son Cole helped him set up a turntable, and Criswell was in heaven finally getting to hear music he hadn’t heard in his house for decades. I was very happy to have shared that moment with him.

It’s hard to imagine life without Criswell. But I’m glad that I had his love and companionship to share for 72 years.

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Todd Vogelsinger published a tribute .

I only met him a couple years ago and just through the phone, but felt ever since that he’s somebody I should’ve met decades ago.

What a great life well lived!

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Nina Hope published a tribute .

I was so incredibly lucky to have Criswell as my brother-in-law. It took us quite a while to bond. But once we bonded, we were Crazy Glue.

During a business trip to Pennsylvania, Criswell was snowbound with us in Conshohocken, along with another friend. Criswell and Steve not only dug out our car but helped dig out a neighbor's and shared the cameraderie of snow days. I was deep in a deadline, writing copy for Bloomberg projects.But I made cozy, winter meals for the 4 of us and we all shared childhood snow day stories. It was a joy!

Over the 40+ years I knew Criswell, what moved me most was the relationship he had with Steve. They were in close communication for many years, most recently, sharing lengthy Zoom chats, every week. Starting with the pandemic Steve and Criswell also had a weekly Zoom with Scott and Darragh, which brought them even closer together.

Steve had a serious fall on black ice in March and Criswell was ready to hop on a plane. He came for a visit, after our kids had departed. It was a major boost to Steve's spirits and mine, while Steve was painfully convalescing from 6 broken ribs and a punctured lung. No one was ever more cheerful than Criswell. Walking sunshine. I will miss him beyond measure.

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Lisa Ayala published a tribute .

There are few words to add to this beautifully, well written tribute! I smiled, I had a tear in my eye, but mostly I celebrated silently the life of a man that has inspired so many of us. To Criswell’s family: thank you for sharing this amazing human being! His love and devotion for his family is something that I will always remember. Likewise, his comfort and help during a most difficult time for me will remain in my memories forever. I have a photo of Criswell doing what he did best speaking and sharing his wealth of knowledge. He will be missed dearly.

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Maura Walsh Burke published a tribute .

Teagan and Cole, you’ve captured your dad perfectly in this beautiful tribute, I loved reading it!

I’ve had the pleasure to know Criswell most of my life, all 48 years he’s been with Bridget as part of OUR (Walsh) family. When I was younger, I had a crush on him, like most of my 7 sisters. He was always fun, full of life, and never without an engaging story to tell (with hand gestures and facial expressions to boot

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Maura Walsh Burke published a comment .

(continued)....Criswell made everyone feel special, even a 13-year-old little sister! He was family……we loved and adored him, and he loved and adored us back! His love and appreciation for Bridget, Cole and Teagan and later Mary, Max and Murphy was so apparent. He was so proud of you all! And he shared it with everyone he knew!

I loved reading all these posts and seeing the old pictures. I remember the time he was a Q-Tip for Halloween……he gave out blue Q-tips as his “calling card”. I thought it was SO clever I stole the idea and dressed the same for a costume party I attended in college….it was a huge hit!

This picture captures Criswell with 1/3 of our family (Mike, Monica, Bridget, and Me), while we were in Colorado Springs in 1979. Also included are: his great old friend Jim Paxton and our oldest sister Steph, both of whom died in the last 5 years. I hope he’s dancing with them in heaven!
We love you Criswell. You will be sorely missed!

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Allison Deford published a tribute .

Storyteller, champion of hardwoods and architecture and just a beautiful human...I had the privilege of speaking with him several times and it was never a 5-minute conversation. ;-) I was blown away with his knowledge, speaking ability, and enthusiasm. He always left me smarter and more inspired! He will truly be missed!!!!! What a special man.

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Zack Ruef published a tribute .

As one of so many that was impacted by Criswell, he changed my life, changed my business, changed my thinking, all for the better.

Criswell was unique. He inspired the best in people in a day and age when everyone seems lost in struggles and feuds. Criswell always carried a huge smile and certain charm. A classy, stylish man that I will always admire. He often talked about his children and grandchildren, sharing their videos and love… maybe that was what was behind that huge smile.

I have yet to wrap my head around how much I learned and gained from him or the hole that has been left in his absence. He was more than a mentor, colleague, and business partner. Criswell was a dear friend and someone I will never forget. I feel truly blessed to have met him and pass along my deepest sympathies to his family and all those he has impacted throughout his wonderful existence.

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Tom Coble published a tribute .

Criswell was simply put, the best. He was a great friend, mentor, and colleague since I first met him fresh out of college when I started my professional career in 2000 at Frank Miller. Criswell immediately took me under his wing and while he was an incredible mentor and coach, he was a better friend. I can truly say that I would not be where I am today as a person or professional without Criswell's incredible influence. He taught me so much about the business we are in but so much more about life and how to treat people with respect and compassion and that family and friendships are what make life special. He had the ability to make whoever he was talking to feel genuinely appreciated and important to him. Criswell was always there for me and someone I could always count on to just be there for me without judgement no matter the circumstance. Everyone knows Criswell loved to talk and tell endless stories, but his most underrated trait was his ability to listen.

Criswell and I rode to and from work together, 1 hour each way, for 12 years. I can honestly say in all of those hours and hours riding together, there was never one minute of silence. Anyone who knows Criswell is not shocked or surprised by that. He told me so many stories, and as many of you know, those stories would morph and combine, and take on new characters, etc. After years of riding together, I was able to correct him on his own stories and remind him of the actual endings. :). I also spent a lot of time traveling with Criswell for work along side our incredible boss and great friend in the picture above, Tim Leyden. Tim and I were reminiscing about some of our favorite Criswell memories the night we heard this incredibly tough news and I will genuinely miss having another chance with sit down with Tim and Criswell and just hang out. I promise that Tim and I will keep Criswell's memories alive and share a pint or 2 in the very near future to remember Criswell.

The last thing I wanted to say here is that one thing I know about Criswell was that he absolutely adored his family. If I had a penny for every instance Criswell would talk about how much he loved his wife Bridget, or how proud he was of his 2 awesome kids Cole and Teagan, or how much he adored his grandkids, I would be a billionaire. I am so sorry for your loss, he was a great man.

Thanks for being such an incredible role model, friend, and person I looked up to since the day I met you. I will miss our chats Criswell, rest in peace my friend.

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Scott T Davis published a tribute .

A picture of Criswell and his three siblings at their penultimate (as Criswell would say it) reunion in Portland, Maine, where his older brother, Steve, lives. Summer of 2019. We had our last one in June of 2021. Left to right: Criswell, Scott, Darragh and Steve.

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Scott T Davis published a tribute .

Criswell with his younger siblings: his sister, Darragh, and his brother, Scott (shown wearing pigtails, which Criswell roundly criticized as uncool to the max.)

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John Roberts published a tribute .

Criswell was a couple of dorm rooms away from me at C.C. He was always creative, artistic, clear-thinking, and focused. A rare combination.

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Scott Davis published a tribute .

Criswell at a party in 1974 to celebrate his younger brother, Scott, completing his "Alternate Service" for the draft as a Conscientious Objector.

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Laura Robinson Roberts published a tribute .

I met Criswell at Colorado College and we have kept in touch over the years. We would always share birthday wishes. I thought he was always incredibly kind, funny, loyal, and all the other adjectives that describe a wonderful person. My sincere condolences to his family. I do remember the name of one of his cats - Balloon Head.

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Jon Boulay published a tribute .

Criswell was a mentor, inspiration and friend to me. We met each other through the hardwood business and quickly became colleagues and friends. We would often meet in NYC and talk to architects and designers and always spent some time catching up on each others lives, struggles and successes.

I always thought of Criswell as a collector. He collected stories, knowledge, anecdotes and most importantly people. Once you were in his orbit you remained there and he would check in from time to time to let you know that you were on his mind.

I had the great privilege of traveling through Asia and Australia with Criswell. He was an absolute top tier travel companion as I quickly found out. He knew people in every country, city, or airline lounge that we found ourselves. He was the same person sitting in First Class on a long haul flight or squeezed into the back of a Tuk-Tuk in Bangkok. I also learned from him that if you find yourself in First class and are offered expensive Champagne, the correct answer is always, "yes please."

He was full of passion for his work but more than anything he was passionate about his family. Although I never had the fortune to meet Bridget, Teagan, or Cole, Mary and the grandkids I feel like I know them. His love for his family was the driving force in his amazing life. My hearts aches for all of you.

Criswell is an example to all of us on how to live well, how to value what is important and how to roll with the punches. I will miss that cmf greatly.

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Connor Hession published a tribute .

Cole and Family,

I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. Though I did not know your father well, I do distinctly remember him being one of our/your biggest supporters in those days of making music together. It was so clear how proud he was of you.

Sending positive vibes to you and your family.

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Jeff Naylor published a tribute .

My name is Jeff Naylor, and Criswell was my friend.

I don’t make friends easily and I don’t have many of them, so when I say that someone is my friend, please don’t take that lightly, it means something. Criswell was my friend for over 25 years, which says a great deal about our relationship.

It was not perhaps the most probable of friendships. I am a Reagan Republican, Criswell was proudly progressive. I am a master introvert, Criswell was easily one of the most gregarious people I’ve ever known. Criswell got up early every morning and wherever he was he ran miles, he ate a proper diet, did all the right things; my body is sculpted by barbecue and donuts. I have been known to occasionally leave my home even when there is no immediate or pressing need to do so. Criswell happily traveled the world for our company and loved every minute of the time he spent talking to people everywhere about our product and proudly representing American hardwood products.

But, as improbable as our friendship might have been, it was a great one and I treasured it. While still at the company, Criswell usually stopped at my office once or twice a week on his way out of town to talk about whatever bizarre thing was happening in our lives, of which there were many, and while our conversations may have started with our grumbling about something, they always ended with our howling with laughter. Criswell and I could always make each other laugh hysterically, and we so often needed just that. We had long planned, when someday retired from the company, to compile our thousands of emails and conversations into a book, tentatively entitled, “The J-Dawg and Cheesewheel Chronicles.” Our fear was always that even though it all actually happened exactly as we had recorded it, no one would ever believe it because although truth is always stranger than fiction it could not possibly be THAT strange.

Even when the subject matter turned serious, we still managed to find the humor in it. He had either just been diagnosed with tongue cancer or had just started treatment when Criswell stopped by my office for our weekly confab. Tongue cancer is serious for anyone, especially so for a person who makes a living of public speaking. At the time I didn’t have the personal experience with cancer that I unfortunately now have, and when he wandered in I didn't really know what to say and asked him how he was feeling, how he was getting along. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know, it’s kind of strange. I guess I feel sort of, you know… cancery.” I laughed despite my concern for my friend. It was his way of putting me at ease and letting me know it was still OK for us to laugh because he needed that more than perhaps he ever had. And so I did my best to do what he needed of me.

When I talked to Criswell – which I absolutely did not do often enough – no matter what was happening with his own health and his own circumstances, he never, ever failed to ask about my wife, Dianna, and her health after her own cancer diagnosis and treatment. He also never failed to ask how I was doing, knowing full well how difficult it is to be on the caregiver side of the cancer experience after watching his beloved Bridget deal with it twice.

He also never failed to speak with massive pride about Cole and Teagan and his two grandsons, Max and Murphy, who were clearly the light of his life.

Criswell was my friend. And I shall miss him terribly.

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Linda Noffsinger published a comment .

I am in Nice, France, at the moment and truly gasped when I read this notice from Bridget, Cole, and Teagan first thing this morning. Then tears. I’m devastated to learn this. Criswell and I worked together for 14 years. His cancer came before my own husband’s fateful cancer, so we shared many conversations about it. Criswell attended my husband’s memorial service even after we had moved away. We shared emotional moments, stories about our children, many laughs and quirky humor over those years of working together. There really are no words to express how terribly sad I am for his beloved family. God be with you all during this very difficult time.

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Julia Murrah published a tribute .

This is just as beautiful as your family

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Linda Bayens published a tribute .

I am so sad to hear of Your dad’s passing Cole and Mary. My heart is breaking for you and your boys. Hold your memories close to your heart. ❤️

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Terry Tellep published a tribute .

What a loving, insightful tribute that captures his essence. Criswell will be so dearly missed-
His loving, joyful presence,
His strength and bravery,
His Heart of Gold.
Sincere and deepest sympathies to Bridget, Cole and Teagan- and all his family and dear friends around the world. He treasured you so.

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Russell Martin published a tribute .

I'm crushed to get this news today, and overwhelmed by the beauty of this tribute to Criswell. It is utterly impossible for me to imagine my time at Colorado College without him. He was larger than life in so many ways, and his kindness and generosity to everyone he encountered was legendary.

Each of you remembers his magical smile, of course, and I feel blessed to have it among so many wonderful memories of him. After decades out of touch, he and I reconnected via the Interweb about five years ago. We stayed in touch, talked occasionally, and even planned to spend a couple of hours together in person at the Arizona Biltmore until his planned trip out this way was cancelled at the last minute. I wish we could have had that time together. I wish he could have lived a hundred years. I wish his passing didn't leave such a huge hole in the lives of the family he adored with the kind of passion that was uniquely his. And I wish Criswell's spirit Godspeed.

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Lynn Graichen Bowness published a tribute .

A beautiful tribute to an outstanding man. My heart aches for you, Bridget, Cole, and Teagan, and for all of us who loved Criswell over his lifetime.

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Debe Dockins published a comment .

Phenomenal life well lived. My deepest sympathies.

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Maile Gray published a comment .

My birthday buddy. Fellow CC grad (MUCH older than me

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Dane Coleman published a tribute .

Criswell was a rock star. He had the definition of an "infectious personality," as he was full of deep knowledge, entertaining stories, and delicate empathy. He was my dear friend and collaborator through a number of career and life changes. He was my first client at my first marketing agency job -- the first press release I ever wrote was about Criswell. He became my mentor in an industry I am now deeply passionate about. I learned so much from him and I can’t thank him enough.

A few years ago, we were shooting promotional photography for a boxing club. Criswell loved one of the photos our photographer James took so much that he wanted to re-create it. Lacking a championship title belt (although he is no doubt worthy of many), Criswell simply removed his own belt he was wearing that day and slung it over his shoulder. This man was a legend, I tell you.

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Ken Butler published a tribute .

I am so sorry to hear the news about Criswell who I knew at Colorado College where we shared many adventures together, including a 5-day bicycle tour with students from The Colorado School where I was teaching .., his upbeat and positive spirit and love of music will always remain with me. I loved reading the fantastic memorial. Condolences to friends and family.

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Gizem Somuncu published a tribute .

He was the first and best friend from US. I always remember him in great memories. I am so sad. But I will smile like him.

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Kamal Hiresh published a tribute .

What a huge loss. Criswell’s passion for life, music and family was infectious to be around.

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Becky Camillus published a tribute .

What a beautiful, fitting tribute for such a legendary man.

Some of my favorite memories of Criswell are from when he volunteered several times as the emcee of Family Trivia Night at the library where Bridget and I worked. He’d show up decked out in his tux and entertain for hours, adding in fun facts and personal stories to liven up the night. We’d always have comments on the evaluations saying that Criswell was amazing and the best part of the night. Even after he and Bridget moved to Louisville, he still came back to perform his emcee duties for his adoring fans.

Whether in a group setting like that or in a one-on-one conversation, Criswell was always lively, fun, and full of the best and wildest stories from all of his adventures around the world. I’ll miss those stories and his facial expressions that were almost as exciting as the stories themselves.

Bridget, Cole, and Teagan, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Criswell loved you all so much, and I know his presence will leave a massive hole in your hearts. He was so proud of you all and just lit up about talking about you. And I’m pretty sure that there wasn’t a single time that I saw him since Max and Murphy were born that he didn’t get out his phone and show me the latest greatest pictures of them. You are all so loved. xoxo

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Nigel Pompeus published a tribute .

Criswell worked with us in Wales as a consultant and it was such a pleasure to work with a real hardwood expert with a global reputation. Such great stories too! He used to say to me, "Nigel, life's too short to work with [mild American expletive]!" which was hilarious and too true. He was a gent and an expert and he wore it lightly, even when he delivered a faultless Ted X Talk from memory. RIP Criswell.

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Elaine Lipson published a tribute .

Oh, I'm so very sad that we've lost this wonderful human. Criswell hired me back when I was in college in Colorado Springs; he was managing Jose Muldoon's and hired me as his hostess, mostly because i was a CC student, as he'd been, and worked at Victoria Station Restaurants, as he had. I also met beautiful, wise, soulful Bridget then too. We all ended up in Boulder for a bit, and then he and Bridget moved on and we reconnected later. He visited Colorado in 2014 and we went to the Boulderado, where we'd both also worked, and someone took this out-of-focus but now treasured photo of us. Criswell's energy and commitment and positivity, his eagerness to meet whatever the world and life had in store, was extraordinary. And how I admired the love that he and Bridget had for each other; true partners and soulmates. And his love for his beautiful children and grandchildren. Criswell, sail through the stars and thank you for all you've been. Bridget, Cole, Teagan, and family, love and comfort to all of you.

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Janet Donham published a tribute .

It was impossible to know Criswell without experiencing the tremendous love he had for his family. And you have expressed your love for Criswell with this beautifully written biography.

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John Bourland published a tribute .

Criswell's passing leaves a big hole in all of our lives. He did, however, help fill a hole for all of us in his Class of '69 at Episcopal Academy. Forty plus years after our high school graduation, we reconnected with Criswell and Bridget. Criswell's committed energy helped keep the reunion spirit alive on a weekly call for over 2 years now. He always helped keep it moving , fun, enlightening and enjoyable. I hope that his energy will continue to lighten up the universe and serve as a model for humankind. Have another great journey my friend !

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Amy Bird published a tribute .

I am both heartbroken and immensely grateful to have learned of Criswell’s passing. He and I crossed paths for a short 3 months during our stent in the Montgomery county (Dayton, Ohio) Grand Jury in 2018. Imagine my pleasure, as I got to sit right next to him, every day, listening to his life stories. Goodness, he knew how to tell the best stories! I was delighted to find out we have the same birthday! I would like to believe there is some sort of star-crossed magic about that. As if he was brought into my life for a reason. Thank you so much for the wonderful obituary. From my experience, I couldn’t have expected anything less from the way he spoke about the love for his family. I only knew him for a brief moment, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget him. He was, and is, that person who impacted my life, a character larger than life, who very few people get to experience. As I ramble, I just know that stories of Criswell reach all corners of the earth. Thank you for crossing my path, Criswell. My love and admiration is never ending.

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Sam Crothers published a comment .

This is so sad. I'm gutted. Such a good man.

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Lexa Walsh published a tribute .

This tribute is amazing T & C! He'd love reading it- and you two can proudly know you inherited his charms! Criswell was a part of my life for all 48 years he was with Bridget, and was a brother to me. I will love him always, as I do you. xoxoxo Auntie Lex

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Rod Wiles published a tribute .

Thank you for such a fitting obituary for such a great man. Criswell and I worked and travelled together for a number of years and he never failed to make me laugh. This picture was take in Melbourne, Australia on 20th August 2013 and this time, he was doing the laughing.

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Egan Kolb published a tribute .

I was lucky to have spent some quality time with Criswell in Louisville right before his TedX talk in 2019. He even let me cut his hair before the big event! Criswell always showed interest in my video work and I could tell loved being around family, especially his grandsons.

Love you Criswell! You will be missed.

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Robert D Wease published a tribute .

So sorry to hear of Criswell's passing. I am a architect in Indianapolis and have work with him many times. My most memorable was in Abu Dhabi when he showed up at our UAE office to talk about a Hardwoods Lunch and Learn. Small word - peace be with you!

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Bobbie And Boz published a tribute .

This is the best obit ever, as it captures the amazing energy and humor and zeal for life in Criswell. He was one of a kind and we will miss him on this earth, sail on dear friend.

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Huddie published a comment .

I am alternately smiling and sobbing as I read and remember beloved Criswell. We have been privileged to call him FAMILY! ❤️❤️ love, Hud and Kev
P.S. as for “marriage credit”, one of my favorite Criswell stories is still when he explained that Sarge asked him many times if he intended to marry Bridget. In response, he claimed to Dad to have asked her several times, only to be told “Ask me again next year.”

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Teagan Walsh-Davis published a tribute .

Note to all: no funeral arrangements have been made at this time.

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