PHOENIX — State Sen. Chester Crandell, a Republican from eastern Arizona
who championed education, states’ rights and rural issues, was found dead by
family members Monday after taking a young horse for a ride, Navajo County
sheriff’s officials said.
Crandell, 68, took a “young colt” on a one-hour horseback ride Monday at approximately 10:00 a.m. at Despain Ranch, near Heber-Overgaard, Ariz. When he did not return in a timely manner, family members began searching ranch, before eventually finding him along his planned route at about 2:00 p.m., already deceased. The colt was found nearby.
Crandell was either bucked off the horse or suffered some sort of medical
issue, Chief Deputy Jim Molesa said. There was no sign of foul play, and the
county medical examiner will determine a cause of death.
“This is a tragic loss for the family and friends of Senator Crandell,” said Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark. “Chester was a good man and a strong voice for rural Arizona. I wish to
express our deepest sympathy to his family. May God bless them at this time.”
Gov. Jan Brewer ordered flags across the state lowered to half-staff from
sunrise Tuesday morning though sunset on Aug. 11.
“I am deeply saddened today to learn of the tragic and sudden passing of State
Senator Chester Crandell,” Brewer said in a statement. “A fifth-generation
native of Arizona, avid rancher, legislator and _ above all — a gentleman with a
tangible love for Arizona and those he served, Chester will be greatly missed.”
Crandell had served in the Arizona Senate representing District 6 since January
2013 after two years of representing District 5 in the state House. He was
chairman of the Senate public safety committee, vice chairman of the education
committee and served on the appropriations, government and environment, and
natural resources and rural affairs committees.
Senate President Andy Biggs said Crandell was exceptionally engaged in his
legislative work and often beat him to the Capitol.
In the 2014 legislative session, Crandell sponsored a bill requiring federal
agents to register with the local sheriff, show a warrant and hand over any
fines they collected. Senate Bill 1093 failed after the Senate attorney
determined it likely ran afoul of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“He was a great lawmaker, he was passionate, he did his homework,” Biggs
said. “He worked hard. He loved his constituents, he loved his state, he loved
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said that Crandell was also classy and honorable:
“We didn’t always see eye to eye on things, but I have absolutely no doubt that Sen. Crandell worked on the issues he did because he believed they would improve Arizona.”
Crandell was running unopposed in the Republican primary for re-election to
represent District 6, and no Democrats were seeking the seat.
Crandell was born in Holbrooke, Ariz., and raised in Heber, Ariz., where he lived with his
wife, Alice, and raised nine children. He had a bachelor’s degree in agriculture
education from the University of Arizona and master’s degree in education
leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Crandell was an educator for more than 30 years, including 10 years as
superintendent of the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology in
The sheriff’s office said funeral services were incomplete.
KTAR’s Lauren Berkley contributed to this report.
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them