Betty Jean Crawford

Betty Jean Crawford

Visitation with the family of Mrs. Crawford will be held Tuesday May 13, 2014 from 2-6 p.m. The funeral service will follow at 6 p.m. The visitation and funeral service will be at Sellars Funeral Home at 313 W. Baddour Pkwy. in Lebanon, 615-444-9393. A private family burial service will be held Wednesday May 14, 2014 at 2 p.m. at Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery at 7931 McCrory Lane in Nashville, 615-532-2238.

Betty Jean Crawford, of Lebanon, died Saturday May 10, 2014 at Quality Care Nursing Home.

She suffered the effects of several strokes in 2002, but with determination and the loving care of her husband, Carl, family, friends and professionals she was able to remain at home until December 2012 when she entered the nursing home. To Betty, life was about family. Being at home and as close as possible to her family was as vital to life as the air we breathe.

She was born in Grafton, W.Va. to Charles and Maxine Costolo on June 3, 1932 and is survived by her sister, Shirley Turner, of San Diego, Calif.; brother, Charles (Linda) Costolo, of Florida; and sister, Mary M. (Margie) Cochran, of Ohio. Betty’s father died when she was 12 years old, and being the oldest child of six, she was thrust into the role of surrogate mother helping her mother keep the household moving forward. Throughout her life, she seemed to put the welfare of others in front of her own just as she did as a child.

In high school, Betty was a member of several clubs, played in the band, as well as playing on the basketball and volleyball teams and was a member of the National Honor Society. “Cossie,” as she was known, was selected with her boyfriend, Carl Crawford, as one of the “couples” of her class, and she listed her ambition as wanting to “Have 6 Fords” (Crawfords). Betty attended Marshall College in Huntingdon W.Va. but decided that her true calling would be to marry Carl and get on with fulfilling her ambition.

Betty and Carl were married May 12, 1951 and made their first home in the “Married Student Housing” (old Army barracks) on the campus of Fairmont State University, where Carl was pursuing his teaching degree. Betty worked across the street from the college in the meat department of a grocery store and so began the lifelong collaboration of these two in building their life together.

The “6 Fords” ambition became a reality, and Betty is survived by her daughters, Dare Bible and Kelly (Jeff) Lawrence, of Lebanon; sons, Chuck (Heide) Crawford, of Brentwood, Scott Crawford, of Petersburg, W.Va., Shawn Crawford, of Lebanon, and Craig Crawford, of Helena, Mt. As Carl progressed in his career in education, he and Betty moved from West Virginia to Columbus, Ohio and finally New Jersey. Along the way, they did a fantastic job in creating a loving household and wonderful environment for their children to grow and learn in.

From those “6 Fords” came the grandkids, Chelsea, Callie, Kirk, Justin, Valerie, Justin, Lindsay, McKenzie, Carson, Rick, Luke, Laura, Dare, Nick, Hunter, Conner and Bailey. And she was able to see her great-grandchildren, Colby, Caden, Bridget, Amanda, Logan, Maddie, Lily, Christa, Alicia and Emily, and the most recent addition, great-great-grandchild, McKenna.

As well as being very involved in the lives of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Betty and Carl’s home was a frequent landing zone for extended family and friends. When they moved to New Jersey in 1964, the World’s Fair was in New York, and they hosted a long list of people at their new home to attend that wonderful exhibit.

As the family grew and moved, Betty and Carl kept pace. When Carl retired from the school system in New Jersey, He and Betty decided to move to Tennessee, where some of the kids had set up their own homes. They had a home built in Gallatin, Carl went to work for the IRS, and Betty took a position at Volunteer State Community College. In 1987, they were both ready to retire (again). They visited their old friends, Edgar and Irene Collins from West Virginia. Betty and Irene worked together at that grocery store across from Fairmont State and the couples became lifelong friends. Edgar and Irene were living at Pawley’s Island, S.C. Carl and Betty fell in love with the beach and Spanish moss and, on the spot, decided to have a home built. Many times, Betty said that that was her favorite place in the world. In usual fashion, their beach home became a magnet for family and friends to visit. So many wonderful memories.

As time does, health began to become an issue, and Betty and Carl decided to move back to Tennessee in 2001 to be closer to the kids. They first bought a home in Murfreesboro and finally Lebanon, where they are today.

Betty will be forever remembered for her elegance, grace and sense of classic style. She was a naturally gifted artist in interior decorating and crafting. Her home was a feast for the eyes and her handmade “treasures” graced many a heart and were coveted by all. She loved her family dearly and nurtured her children into realizing their full potential as human beings. She was and will always be our “Queen.”

Carl and the rest of the family would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to all of the staff at Quality Care of Lebanon and Betty’s physician, Dr. Jantz, for the remarkable care, attention and love that you gave to her. Her final days were brighter because of you all.

For those who wish to send flowers, please have them delivered to the site of the visitation listed above. For those who choose to make a donation in Mrs. Crawford’s memory, please do so in her name to your favorite charity to help make the world a better place.

Crawford Mortuary and Crematory is in charge of arrangements, 615-254-8200, online guestbook at crawfordservices.com. 

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