In 1964 Jim Crawford died suddenly at the age of 56, and John his elder son known throughout the trade as ‘Choppy’ took over the family business. This was a daunting task for a twenty-six-year-old but with Eileen, Johns’ elder sister running the financial side,  they continued to progress and grow the business into one of the largest building companies and employers in the Scottish Borders.

John was a firm but fair boss and treated everyone with respect, a character trait that earned him much respect in return. He was an avid sportsman, excelling in tennis, badminton and rugby playing over one hundred games for the Melrose first fifteen.