Photography

Lefone Crossland

July 1, 2020

Obituary

Lefone C. Crossland, Jr. departed this life on July 1, 2020 at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey at the age of 82.  Beset  with health issues in the past few years, he was a resident of Clover Meadows Rehabilitation Center at the time of his passing.

Born on September 6, 1937 to the late Lefone C. Crossland, Sr. and Rosa Van Harler Crossland, "Cap," as he was known to most, was a lifelong Trenton resident. He was proud to have grown up in the Lincoln Homes where childhood friends became like family and maintained strong relationships into adulthood. He was educated in the Trenton public schools graduating from Trenton High School (THS) in 1956.

Cap was among the titans of Trenton athletes of his era beginning at THS where he lettered in football, baseball and basketball. Gifted and hardwork­ing, as a junior he became the first black starting quarterback at Trenton  High. This added to the legacy of Crossland firsts at THS started by Cap, Sr. who was a standout football player in the 1930's and was the first black captain of a THS football team. Other major high school achievements included being voted All City in football and All State in baseball. Cap was best known for his skills on the baseball field, a heavy hitter who played center field and pitched. In addition to THS, he played Legion ball for the Trenton Schroths Post 93 in many memorable games on Hetzel Field. Following high school, Cap spent a season at the University of Maryland­ Eastern Shore ori a football scholarship where he played with future NFL players Johnny Sample and Roger Brown. When he returned to Trenton, he got married and returned to the local baseball scene. Rejoining many of his teammates from the Trenton Schroths, Cap went on to play semi-pro ball with the Ewing Baseball Tearn, sharing the outfield with future NY Met and dear friend Dan Napoleon. It was with Ewing that Cap traveled to Wichita, KS and played against the legendary Satchel Paige.

Cap's affinity for sports would manifest in his work life as well. After some years employed by the Trenton Water Department, in 1969, under the wing of athletic trainer Bobo Holmes, he went to work at Princeton University as a grounds crewman. Within a year, Cap joined the Princeton Athletics staff as an equipment manager.  For  three decades  he was a beloved fixture in Caldwell Field House, alongside Hank Towns and Furman Witherspoon, before retiring in 2000.Through the years, Cap remained active in local sports, playing softball with the Teague and Hinds team at Community Park in Princeton, coaching Mitchel Davis Post Am. Legion ball with Hank Towns and umpiring tor Trenton Little League. He also enjoyed bowling for many years in the Willie's Restaurant  League. In 1993, he was inducted into "The Greater Trenton Area Black Sports Hall of Fame," an honor he cherished for years to come.

Cap accepted Christ early in life and spent his childhood as a member of St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church. Over the years he would worship with various congregations ultimately joining the Wayne Avenue Baptist Church  where he was a member at the time of his passing. Before his health prevented him from attending, Cap was active in the Male Chorus.
Whatever community Cap found himself a part of, he was at the center of it spreading his special kind of joy with humor and a bright smile. He was especially close to his siblings and reveled in his role as "Pop Pop" and "Uncle Cap." He will be missed by many but by his family the most.

Predeceased by his parents, his son Darryl Crossland, a brother Robert Crossland and his longtime companion Barbara Ward, Cap leaves to cherish his memory a daughter Dawn Crossland Sumners (Martin) of Lawrence; sisters Joan Hall, Martha Jones and Pamela McCloud all of the Trenton area; brothers William of Houston, TX, Howard of Trenton and Larry of Louisville, KY; grandson Seneca Sumners; a bonus daughter Kim Ward McMillan (Jimmy) and granddaughter Kennedy McMillan; dedicated
personal aide Jackie Austin; former spouse/mother of his children, Joyce Jackson Crossland; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

 

 

 

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