Hilary Crahan puts volunteerism front and center in her life

| August 2, 2018 | 1 Comment

HILARY CRAHAN

When it comes to community and charitable involvement, the younger generation seems to be picking up where the older generation left off. At least, that’s the case for Hilary Crahan.

Her mother, current Windsor Square resident and previous “Woman of Larchmont” Michele McGarry Crahan, served in the Junior League of Los Angeles, volunteered for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and was president of the Third Street School PTA, just to name a few of her many volunteer activities.

Hilary therefore grew up with charity in mind, volunteering side-by-side with her mother on many occasions, and has since made charity her own life’s work. But let’s start at the beginning. And by “the beginning,” I really do mean “the beginning.”

Crahan’s family is part of the First Century Families (FCF) of Los Angeles, a group of descendants of the first pioneers who came to Southern California before or during the first 100 years after the founding of the City of Los Angeles in 1781. Hilary’s great-grandfather on her dad’s side, Isidore Bernard Dockweiler, was born in Los Angeles and baptized at the Plaza Catholic Church near Olvera Street back when only 5,000 residents called Los Angeles home. Her mother’s great-grandparents, Daniel Michael McGarry and Margaret McCaughan, came from Ireland to escape the potato famine, arriving in Chicago. Due to Margaret’s worsening arthritis, they eventually left Chicago and headed west for a warmer climate. While on the train in 1881, they were befriended by a “Mr. Barker,” who told them, “Los Angeles is the city of the future” and that they should head to Los Angeles. They took his advice.

Turns out, Mr. Barker owned a furniture store called “Barker Bros.” Yes, he was that Mr. Barker.

Hilary Crahan attended Third Street Elementary School, Marlborough and the University of Southern California. During her time at Marlborough, she completed a senior project that involved volunteering at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. From that moment forward, Crahan, a devout Catholic, became hooked on helping others. She worked at the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena for 13 years, five of those years as CEO. After leaving the Boys & Girls Club, she took on many other charitable positions. She is a past chairman of Children’s Chain for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a women’s volunteer support group that raises funds for the hospital. She has served on two boards at USC, The Trojan League and Town & Gown of USC, organizations that raise and distribute money for student scholarships.

She is part of the Newman Guild at Our Savior Parish & USC Caruso Catholic Center, a women’s group that, among other things, raises money to fund meals for 300-400 children after the Sunday 5 p.m. mass.

“It’s been a great community for the kids and it gives them something social and spiritual to look forward to,” says Crahan.

She is also on the school board for the 104-year-old Blessed Sacrament Jesuit Preparatory School in Hollywood, one of only two Jesuit elementary schools in the city.

As if that’s not enough, Crahan also serves on the committee for the Cardinal’s Awards Dinner hosted every spring at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, an event that honors people for good works throughout the city. The proceeds of the event go to different Catholic schools or youth groups across the city, raising nearly $1 million annually for disbursement.

After having been involved with Catholic charities and outreach for so much of her life, Crahan recently decided it was time to do something significant for herself. She joined over 100 other faithful Los Angeles Catholics on a pilgrimage with Archbishop Jose H. Gomez down to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, in Mexico City. According to “Angelus News,” “The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe houses the original tilma (cloak) of Juan Diego, which holds the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that appeared in 1531. For nearly 500 years, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been the symbol of hope, peace, and love, uniting peoples around the world as one family of God.”

Each day of the pilgrimage, the group attended mass in different locations throughout Mexico City.

“It was more meaningful and thoughtful than I could have ever imagined, and it made me realize how lucky I’ve been in my own life,” says Crahan.

Having recently returned from such a meaningful pilgrimage, Crahan has been able to evaluate her life in terms of the things she is doing and the things she still wants to do as she moves forward.

“I’m so lucky to live my life as a full-time volunteer,” reflects Crahan. “I’m living my dream. I’m living my perfect life.”

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  1. Tim Smith says:

    Hi – I wonder if it would be possible for you to put me in touch with Ms. Crahan. We went to high school together… Sort of. She went to Marlborough and I went to school down the street at Daniel Murphy. I lost touch with her in college and haven’t spoken to her in 34 years. If she’s okay with it, I would appreciate if you could share my contact info with her. Thanks in advance.

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