Floyd Crichton, 1901-1973

Floyd Crichton was born 27 December 1901.  In the 1920 census, he was living in Akron, Ohio.  Floyd joined the Lincoln Park Police Department in 1925 and was a motorcycle officer.  A fellow officer on the force was Preston Tucker, founder of the Tucker Corporation and the 1948 Tucker sedan.

Lincoln Park Police Department
Floyd Crichton, 2nd from right in 2nd row. Preston Tucker, 1st on left in front row. Image from Lincoln Park Historical Society.

In the 1930 census, Floyd Crichton and his first wife Gladys were living on Fort Park Boulevard in Lincoln Park, Michigan.  Gladys was 20 years old and had come to the U.S. from Canada in 1923.  Floyd was 28 years old and was a lieutenant in the police department.   They had a daughter named Delores.  Meanwhile in 1930, Preston Tucker and his wife Vera lived on Warwick Street in Lincoln Park with their 4 children and Preston’s brother William.

Sometime before 1945, Floyd and Gladys divorced.  Gladys and Delores were living in Dade County, Florida with Gladys’ second husband Hazen Dubois in a 1945 Florida census.  Delores was 14 years old at the time.  Further research about Hazen Dubois revealed that he had also lived on Fort Park Boulevard in Lincoln Park with his first wife Bertha during the 1930 census.  They had two sons, Hazen Jr. and Robert.  There was also a lodger living with them; a 20-year-old actress named Rose Adams.

Floyd became the Chief of Police of the Lincoln Park Police Department in 1936.  Presumably, that is how he met Helen Bernadine Belknap, who worked for the city of Lincoln Park.  They married on 11 December 1947.  Helen’s nieces and nephews called Floyd “Uncle Chief” or “Uncle Chiefie.”

Floyd Crichton and Helen Belknap
Floyd Crichton and Helen Belknap

In 1948, Floyd took a leave of absence from the police force to help out Preston Tucker at his auto company.  The assignment didn’t last long for the company closed in 1949.  For more information about Tucker’s trial, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_Tucker.

Floyd served as president of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police in 1951-52.  He retired in 1960 from the police department.

Floyd was interviewed by Charles Pearson for Pearson’s 1960 book The Indomitable Tin Goose: The True Story of Preston Tucker and His Car.  He gave insight into Preston Tucker’s time on the Lincoln Park Police Force.

About the area along the Detroit River, Floyd said, “It was a main port of entry for booze from Canada, and more money changed hands there during bootlegging days than anywhere else in the United States.  It was a tough district and being a cop was a tough job.”  He continued, “Pres and I worked together.  We rode motorcycles daytimes ten months of the year and squad cars after midnight.  Pres was a good cop.  There wasn’t a damn thing he was afraid of and he could spot a booze runner a mile off.” (Pearson 37).

Floyd also recalled an incident involving Tucker and his squad car that got Tucker into some trouble.   Tucker had cut a hole in the car’s dashboard with a Lincoln Park Department of Public Works torch so that heat could be piped in from the engine during the freezing winter months.  Floyd said, “So when some taxpayer heard about Tucker cutting a hole in a city-owned squad car with a DPW torch, he was in trouble.  They had no authority to lend the torch, and the next thing that would have happened would have been a hearing on destroying public property.”  Instead of an official hearing, Tucker was demoted (Pearson 40).

When Preston Tucker died in 1956, Floyd Crichton was one of the pallbearers at the funeral.  Tucker was buried in Michigan Memorial Cemetery in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Preston and Vera Tucker’s gravestone, Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock, MI

According to the Lincoln Park Preservation Alliance in their book Lincoln Park (from the Images of America series), Preston Tucker’s wife Vera signed copies of Charles Pearson’s book at the Sears store in Lincoln Park in 1960 with Tucker’s car on display.  Floyd Crichton also attended the book signing.

After retirement, Floyd purchased a liquor store in Lincoln Park in 1965.  The store was robbed five times.  During one of them, a private guard employed by the store shot and killed a robber.  During another robbery, Floyd was shot by a robber.  Paramedics did not know he was shot until one of them moved the tie he was wearing aside and saw a small spot of blood.  Floyd recovered and, in 1967, he and his wife Helen moved to Charlevoix to get away from the crime in the city.  According to the Detroit Free Press, in Charlevoix he “farmed and worked part time in a hardware store” (5C, April 24, 1973).

Floyd died of cancer on 22 April 1973 at Ann Arbor’s University Hospital.  Helen, who worked as a secretary at the Charlevoix County Road Commission, died on 6 January 1980.  She was killed when she was hit by a bus after she had been involved in a collision on the icy road and was exchanging insurance information with the other driver.  Floyd and Helen Crichton are also buried at Michigan Memorial Cemetery in Flat Rock, Michigan along with many members of Helen’s family.

Crichton gravestone
Floyd and Helen Crichton’s gravestone, Michigan Memorial Park, Flat Rock, MI