TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Dee Crumpler is very involved in the community.
He’s been a school board member, an assistant city manager, and he currently runs the Consolidated Dispatch Agency, where operators take all emergency calls for Leon County.
The head of the CDA has several hobbies.
Standing tall at 6’4″, 240 pounds, he drives a big truck, and he loves fishing and woodwork.
“These are individual strips of Cedar,” Crumpler says, running his hand alongside a canoe. “It took me about 200 hours.”
However, it’s what Crumpler spends doing hours on end in his dining room, that might surprise people.
He’s known for his eclectic bow tie collection. Designs that include flowers, dinosaurs, butterflies — even chili sauce. He has hundreds and hundreds of bow ties, and he creates them, crafting each and every one himself.
“We were going to a black tie event and I had the traditional black bow tie, and I said ‘that’s a little too boring,'” Crumpler explains. “So I went online and found thousands of different bow ties, and I ran across Youtube video of a guy making bow ties and said ‘I think I can do that.'”
His wife laughs because he’d never even used a sewing machine before. But now, what used to take hours, he’s creating in just 30 minutes.
“If I can wear one, anyone can wear one,” Crumpler says.
They all scream for attention too.
“I’ve never made a solid-color bow tie.”
For one of his ties, he received the fabric from Indonesia while visiting his daughter in the Peace Corps, but he’s not just making ties and pocket squares, he’s making his own material now as well.
He even designed Florida A&M University’s first ever logo fabric, before trying it on for size, of course.
With a basic sewing machine, his technique is nothing elaborate.
“I’ve used the same two rags for the last three years that I’ve been making them,” he says.
But this is how the city official, who spends most of his days making important and tough decisions, escapes from it all.
“Some days I get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and I’ll make a tie before I even go to work,” he says. “And then get home late at night and make one again. It’s a way to relieve a little stress.”
A surprising hobby that turned out to be a tailored fit.
“Voilà, That’s it,” he says after explaining his hobby.
The natural question is “how can we get one of these custom bow ties?”
Dee says they’re not for sale. He only makes them for friends, family, and to auction off for charity.