Mr. Lea Crawley was born in Danville, Virginia in 1914. He attended Westmoreland High School in Virginia, before attending Hampton Institute for three years and West Virginia State with a major in agriculture. He was drafted during World War II. He served in a segregated Army quartermaster unit, the 953rd Quartermasters Service, in the European Theater of Operations. After the war, he used the GI Bill to study architectural drafting and operated his own business, Burton and Crawley Contractors.