George Crossley  Biography
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In the early 1960s, George Crossley was a hard-drinking, race car-driving, rabble-rousing union organizer working for the Service Employees International Union of the AFL-CIO. As an organizer  he traveled throughout the Northeast and the South. In 1962, when George was 21 years old and just out of the Army his hobbies became drag-racing the 'Bye George', a converted Chevrolet Camaro, in local, state and national hot-rod competitions and drinking. Crossley said he met his future wife, Agnes in Maryland as he was hitchhiking home from work in 1963. He told the Orlando Sentinel "This big red Bonneville swooped up on me and she said, 'get in,' ". "It became a friendship that became a love affair." That meeting led to a marriage that lasted almost 42 years. George truly believed he was helping people better their lives as a union organizer. The long hours, all the traveling and alcohol had taken its toll on George. By 1969, George had left the AFL-CIO. Agnes told the Sentinel that George always had a way with words - even when she first met him. Back then his "gift of gab" wasn't used to do God's work, rather George used his "gift" for bumming beers at the local bar.  Agnes also said ''he'd drink anything with alcohol in it.'' and ''He could talk the pennies off a dead man's eyes.'' 'He would take his $3, and he'd have $2.75 in his pocket when he got home,'' she says. ''He's the only guy I know who could get drunk on a quarter. He could get smashed on it.'' The drinking had gotten out of hand. Agnes says she threatened to take the dog and leave unless George quit. He didn't quit. She didn't leave. Instead, they decided to move to Florida, to get a fresh start. 31 year old George found his way to Sanford and WTRR-AM 1400. There he would spin records and work as a salesman. Other stops included WDBO-AM 580 as well as  WKIS-AM 740. It was when George moved over to WLOF-AM 950 that he found God, thanks to a fellow salesman who had become "born again". He was saved right there at the station. His mission changed. And the liberal politics were put behind him. George attended the Luther Rice Bible School in Jacksonville and earned a doctorate in theology. In 1980 George got a talk show on WWFL-AM 1340, a small station in Clermont. By 1981 George was pastor at the First Baptist Church of Lake Monroe.george at lake monroe.jpg (108683 bytes)

 

Rev. George Crossley at his church, the First Baptist Church of Lake Monroe, in February, 1982. (Dennis Wall, Orlando Sentinel)

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In 1985, George felt he "...could reach more people" and left the tiny church on county road 15A in the tiny town of Lake Monroe, for a return to the world of radio at WTLN-AM 1520 and WTLN-FM 95.3. George also had a Saturday talk show on WGTL-TV Channel 52 called  "In Defense of Liberty".
In the summer of 1988, Universal Studios was releasing a movie  called "The Last Temptation of Christ". Without having seen the movie, although he did read the script, Crossley began to organize his group called Citizens for Decency. He distributed thousands of petitions promising theaters that showed the movie a yearlong boycott. George, (the conservative) appeared many times with Clive Thomas, (the liberal) on WWNZ-AM 740 where the two would battle over the publics right to see the movie. George won. Temptation did not play in any central Florida theaters. Crossley and his group was successful too in banning the showing of a sex education film that taught school children about homosexuality in Lake County Schools. But he also failed on a number of book-banning campaigns, including a five year, four county effort against Deenie, a Judy Blume book, found in most school libraries, about a teenager with scoliosis. Crossley called the book a ''how-to manual'' because there is one scene in which the main character masturbates. Other campaigns, such as banning psychology texts in Orange County schools and protests against rock groups performing at Volusia County's Ocean Center generated plenty of press coverage, but with less than stellar results. In 1997, George was convicted of trying to arrange the murder of his ex-mistress' husband and served nearly three years at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford. After his release, he worked to help restore ex-cons' voting rights and eventually rose to become president of the Central Florida American Civil Liberties' Union. George also founded "CopWatch", a group devoted to videotaping and witnessing officers' actions in an attempt to protect citizens from unlawful police tactics. His wife Agnes still believed in and supported him after his release.  "That's how I ended up back at the ACLU," he said, referring to his role as head of the organization's Central Florida chapter. "If I did anything worthwhile in this life, she recommended it or encouraged it." Agnes, died at age 80 in 2008.
George was preparing to go on the air just before his 6PM program on, Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at WEUS-AM 810, when he collapsed in the lobby. Co-owner Carmine Tutera told the Daytona Beach News-Journal; "He was a friend to people who needed a friend." "I think (his radio show) was his whole life. The radio was not just his work, it was why he existed." 


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