John Hayes Crichton
1920 - 2007

John Hayes Crichton, Sr. a former San Franciscan and investment banker died at his home in San Antonio, TX, on May 16, 2007 after a two-year battle with cancer. Mr. Crichton was 86 years old. During his long career in business, Mr. Crichton was a lawyer, a hotel builder, an oilman, a co-founder of the second on-line computer company in the U.S. and an early proponent of ESOPS (Employee Stock Ownership Plans), which he helped develop in the 1970s with economist Louis Kelso. From 1969 to 1989 he served as CEO of The Commonwealth Group, an investment banking firm in San Francisco. During World War II, Mr. Crichton served as a Company Commander in the 155th Infantry in New Guinea and then in the G-2 Section of 6th Army in charge of intelligence gathering and as an Aide to General Walter Krueger, Commander of the 6th United States Army. He achieved the rank of Major and was awarded a bronze star during military operations in Philippine Islands in 1945. Major Crichton was one of the first soldiers into Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped on that city. Later asked about possible radiation contamination he replied, "I think it cleaned all the bugs out of me, but it stopped my watch." The young major twice dined with General Douglas Mac-Arthur as Krueger and MacArthur shared the same birthday. Mr. Crichton was born on July 21, 1920 the younger son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Crichton, Jr. of Minden, LA, a small town 20 miles east of Shreveport. One of his ancestors was Thomas Overton Moore, governor of Louisiana when it seceded from the Union. He grew up hearing tales of the Civil War. "My grandfather was a bugler with the Confederate Army. When his two older brothers were killed at the battle of Manassas, he brought their bodies home on a mule-drawn wagon." He also remembered seeing the bullet-riddled car that belonged to criminals Bonnie and Clyde Barker. Mr.Crichton was educated at The Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, and graduated from Davidson College in 1942. Following WWII, in 1946, Mr. Crichton graduated from LSU Law School and attended New York University Law School's Graduate Program in Taxation. In 1947, he married Lillian Glassell, daughter of a prominent Shreveport oilman; they had four children. Mr. Crichton practiced law in Shreveport but from 1952-1962, he worked with his father-in-law, Alfred "Pops" Glassell in the hotel business, building Better Hotels of Louisiana, which included the Captain Shreve and Capital House of Baton Rouge. Mr. Crichton was president of the Louisiana Hotel Association and was a deacon in the First Presbyterian Church. In 1963, Mr. Crichton co-founded and became CEO of Computer Controls in Palm Beach, FL. He eventually took the company public. Following his divorce from Lillian Glassell Crichton, he married Dale Cowgill Conrad of San Francisco in 1967. From 1969 to 1989, he served as CEO of The Commonwealth Group, handling mergers and acquisitions for small and medium size companies as well as employee stock ownership plans. Following the death of his wife Dale in 1987, Mr. Crichton married Flora Cameron Atherton and moved to San Antonio, TX, where he resided until his death. In retirement he spent many happy days hunting quail with former President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Crichton is survived by his wife, Flora Cameron Crichton of San Antonio, TX; his children Kate C. Gubelmann of Palm Beach, FL, Lili Crichton Monell also of Palm Beach, Anne C. "Bunnie" Clark of Bryn Mawr, PA, and John H. Crichton, Jr. of Sarasota, FL, as well as nine grandchildren. He is also survived by his three stepchildren Barnaby Conrad III of San Francisco, Winston Conrad of Tiburon, and Tani Conrad of Santa Barbara. A Requiem Mass will be held on June 18, 6:00pm at St. Thomas's Church, 2725 Sacramento St., SF (415) 928-4601. The family asks that in lieu of flowers contributions be sent to St. Thomas's Church.

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