Obituary for Ralph ‘Erwin’ Crotts

Ralph “Erwin” Crotts, 83, was reunited with his beloved wife, Peggy, in eternity on Oct. 8, 2019, in Safford, surrounded by his loving family. 

Erwin Crotts was born to Ruby Watkins Crotts and V.L. Slim Crotts on Aug. 20, 1936, in Huntington Beach, Calif. and joined older brother Gerald at this time. While in California, his father started buying farm land in the Franklin, Arizona area and, in 1942, the family decided to return to the Franklin area on a full-time basis.

Erwin attended the Franklin School, which was a two room schoolhouse, then in the 8th grade he transferred to the Duncan Schools as the family had built a new home in town.

Ralph “Erwin” Crotts

Erwin was a member of one of the greatest basketball teams in Duncan High School history,  (24-3). They finished 2nd in the state when there were no separate classifications, eventually losing to the much larger Phoenix powerhouse, Carver High School. After graduation, he attended Eastern Arizona College for a year-and-a-half, but due to his father’s declining health was forced to return home and take over the family farm.

In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart Peggy Sanders and they started their family. They had two sons, Larry and Jim and later, Randy.

In 1970, Erwin transferred to the University of Arizona to major in Agriculture. Upon graduating in 1972, he was given the opportunity to attend Purdue University to receive his Doctorate and return to the U of A as a professor in the Agriculture Department. In 1978, he received his Master of Arts Degree from Western New Mexico University and began his career in the Duncan Unified School District as a teacher, principal and superintendent,  eventually retiring in 1998.

Erwin was preceded in death by his parents, Slim and Ruby; his brother, Gerald, and wife, Peggy. He is survived by three sons, Larry (Bel), James (Susan) and Randy (Denice); his two daughters, Sammie (Buddy) and Denise (Mike) and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Duncan Cemetery in Duncan.

Arrangements are under the direction of McDougal’s Caldwell Funeral Chapel and Gila Valley Crematory. Online condolences may be extended at