Talk about a monumental birthday.
CP Crawford, of south suburban Lansing, turned 112 years old Sunday and said his secret to living a long and healthy life is “minding my own business.”
“I treat everybody right, mind my own business and always try to enjoy myself,” Crawford said.
By some accounts, Crawford is the oldest man in the country.
Crawford celebrated the milestone with a birthday party thrown Friday at Tri-State Village Nursing & Rehab Center.
Crawford’s party was organized by the nursing home staff and attended by about 70 guests, said community activist Andrew Holmes, executive director of Club 100, a business that provides birthday services for centenarians. Crawford is one of 37 members of Club 100.
Party guests included village trustees, members of the Lansing Fire Department and residents of the nursing home, among others, Holmes said.
“I really enjoyed myself. There was a whole lot of people, and we were all dancing,” Crawford said.
Crawford’s favorite gifts included new socks and a couple of baseball caps, like the Chicago White Sox cap that Holmes brought him Sunday.
Crawford said the Sox are his favorite team. He’s never been to a Sox game, so Holmes promised to make that happen.
“Maybe they’ll win,” Crawford said, joking that he could be their good luck charm.
Crawford, according to a news release sent by Holmes, was born Aug. 25, 1907, in Jackson, Mississippi. Crawford’s mother, Mattie, died when he was an infant. Crawford and his five siblings were left in the care of their father, John. The children were eventually separated and raised by their aunts and uncles.
Because there was a heavy workload around the house, Crawford was not allowed to attend school as a child. He instead spent his early years helping out, working in the fields picking cotton, plowing the fields for corn and manning the gardens.
He found work at the Southland Oil Refinery in Mississippi. He later was employed by Illinois Central Railroad, where he worked for more than 11 years before retiring.
“I’ve been to many places and met many people,” Crawford said, reflecting on the past 112 years. “I really enjoyed myself and worked hard for what I’ve got.”
Crawford married three times and is a father to six children, two of whom are his biological children. His son, Shawn, described him as a loving man who is always willing to help others in need, the release said.
In 2015, Crawford was awarded an honorary high school diploma in an effort organized by Thornton Fractional South High School and Sheila Huff, the activity director at Tri-State Nursing & Rehab Center.
The diploma ceremony was held at the school and was attended by almost 100 people, including Lansing village officials and students, among others.
Crawford said he’s looking forward to celebrating his 113th birthday next year.