Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 22nd, 2011
Today is April 22nd and it is “Smokey” Crabtree’s 84th birthday.
Julius E.”Smokey” Crabtree was raised in Fouke, Arkansas. He grew up quickly and took on responsibilities at an early age. At sixteen he was a welder for the U.S. Navy for three years. During that time he was also a boxer, and fought in the Golden Glove tournament in San Francisco, California in 1944.
At nineteen he volunteered for the Merchant Marines and by the age of twenty-three he was married and the father of three children. The family moved back to Fouke and built a home in the country; he continued to follow pipeline work as a welder.
With his busy life, he still found time to roam the Sulpher River Bottoms to trap, hunt, and fish, the things he enjoyed and loved as a boy. Smokey and members of his family were actors in a movie entitled The Legend of Boggy Creek about the Fouke Monster. Smokey served as a wildlife guide and consultant for the filming, and he is the author/publisher of the book Smokey and the Fouke Monster.
Smokey is a survivor, and today is in good health, having outlived one of his sons, Tommy, who was killed in a welding pipe explosion in 1987, and relative Karen Sue Crabtree, 50, who was killed in a car wreck in 2009.