said God I hurt
and God said I know.
I said God I cry a lot
and God said that is why I gave you tears.
I said God I am so depressed
and God said that is why I gave you sunshine.
I said God life is so hard
and God said that is why I gave you loved ones.
I said God my loved one died.
and God said so did mine.
I said God it is such a loss
and God said I saw mine nailed to a cross.
I said but God your loved one lives
and God said so does yours.
I said but God where are she now
and God said mine is on my right
and yours is in the light.
I said God it hurts
and God said I know.
Leila Crowell Jackson
of Lockhart, Texas, went home to be with Jesus on May 26, 2006.
She was witness to and participant in many milestones in our
country’s history. Born on the military army post, Fort
Meade, South Dakota on February 5, 1913, she began a life as
a "military brat" that would take her across every
ocean, through two world wars, into untold number of countries,
and almost every one of the United States.
was the pilot of the first ambulance plane and taught Charles
Lindberg how to fly at Kelly Field. Pop played the part of the
German pilot in the first Academy Award film, Wings.
As a bit actor in the movie, Leila happily recalled eating Gary
Cooper’s cast off Hershey candy bars between scenes in
Growing up in an
otherwise unreligious family, Leila stood out when, as a teenager,
she answered the call of Jesus and regularly attended church
by herself. She taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School
most of her life and was faithful in her tithe to the Church.
She loved her Rebekah Sunday School class at First Lockhart
Baptist Church and always counted Helen Flores as her special
friend, hair dresser, and angel. Here, Leila was the pioneer
in starting the JOY group and enjoyed leading the fellowship
there for years.
An avid sportswoman
and unabashed tomboy, Leila could stand toe-to-toe with her
two brothers and their neighborhood friends in any game. She
later attended the University of Illinois and graduated with
a degree in physical education from The University of Texas.
Leila was a born
teacher. Her first teaching experience was at Prairie Lea, Texas,
where Pop would buzz the school in his by-plane and drop little
parachutes with candy paratroopers to the children who ran out
to wave at the unusual sight. From Prairie Lea, she moved to
the small Valley town of Raymondville to teach. There she met
and married the love of her life, the county attorney, James
Foster Crowell. Their children, Tom and Suzy, became the focus
of their lives.
When World War II
broke out, Foster joined the Navy and was stationed on the U.S.S.
Lexington. On November 5, 1944, Leila’s world came crashing
down when Foster was killed in a kamikaze attack on his ship.
(Years later, her grandson, Chuck Red, did some of his flight
training aboard the Lexington.) She and her children moved to
Austin and taught swimming, tennis, and physical education at
the University of Texas in Austin.
She married Roy Jackson
and moved to San Antonio. She gave birth to a daughter, Katherine
Leila taught first
grade in San Antonio for 20 years, and many people still remember
the melodic sounds of her rhythm bands that she accompanied
on the piano.
Leila put great importance
on character and college education. She valued America and stood
firmly in her patriotism and devotion to her country. In her
later years, she began to crochet millions of afghans and book
worms which are still treasured by friends and family. She
enjoyed listening to Christian music, especially the Gaithers
and the Statlers.
She was a great cook,
a voracious reader, a wonderful mother and grandmother, a superb
writer and poet, lover of birds and animals, a terrific teacher
to us all, and a generous giver.
Leila wrote her memoirs
in her book The First Eighty Years
on the computer when she was 80 years old. She had begun the
sequel in 1994. She said she would finish it in Heaven.
Leila took great
pride in her family and treasured her children’s husbands
and wives as dearly as she did her own children. Her grandchildren,
Terri Red McGee, Chuck Red, Jennifer Crowell, Garrett Crowell,
Courtnay Crowell, and Tyler Cates and great-grand children,
Molly Red, Katie Red, Rosie Red, Charlie Red III, Reagan Red,
and Jacob Red; Trevor and Trenton McGee; Karl, Karina, and Miranda
Stromberg; Foster and Beau were the pride of her life. Her “adopted”
grandson, James Bonn, and his parents Sally and Tom multiplied
her joy in their frequent, uplifting visits.
Leila was predeceased
by her beloved husband, James Foster Crowell, a new-born son,
Richard Crowell, and her treasured son, Thomas Crowell. Her
gifts and memories will continue to live on in Tom's family
and her surviving two daughters, Suzy Red and Kathy Cates. Her
family who affectionately called her “Dede” include:
Suzy Red and her husband Charles of Lockhart,
Texas, and their children, Terri Lynne Red McGee and her husband,
Paul, and two sons, Trevor and Trenton of Hallettsville; Chuck
Red and his wife, Lisa, and their four children, Molly, Katie,
Rosie, and Charlie III of Panama City, Florida;
Tom’s wife, Dona Crowell of Houston and
their children Jennifer Crowell Stomberg and her husband Larry,
and their three children, Karl Foster, Miranda, and Karina of
Newark, Delaware; Garrett Crowell and his wife Debbie and their
son, Austin, of Katie, Texas; Dr. Courtnay Crowell Smith and
her husband Dr. Justin Smith and their son Foster and daughter
Isabeau live in Canada.
Kathy Cates and her husband Gerald and their
son Tyler of Austin, Texas.
In 1998, Leila and
her beloved dog, Shadow, checked themselves into the Golden
Age Home Personal Care Unit and for the last seven years, they
enjoyed the friendship and security of the sweet environment
there. She lost Shadow shortly before she left us. The week
of her death, she was still walking the Alzheimers friends to
their rooms every night. Three angels at the Golden Age Home
became irreplaceable friends and helpers as she found her health
beginning to fail. The family would like to say a special thanks
to Rosa Lujan, Lupe Salinas, and Mary Gonzales for their patient,
gentle, loving care that enabled her to stay independent until
Jesus called her home. The family wishes to say a special thank-you
to Dr. Charles Laurence and his staff who took the time to listen
to and respect Leila when others had given up because of her
age. His words, wisdom, and tender compassion were good medicine
for her heart, soul, mind, and body enabling her to be independent,
useful, and hopeful even at 93. The frequent cards and calls
and the recent visit she received from her church family and
her niece, Jan Titus and her husband Mel, kept her spirits high.
quote by Forest Witcraft was: “One hundred years from
now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind
of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account,
nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little
better because I was important in the life of a child.”
they that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles.
They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not be
faint." Isaiah 40:31
of Life service was held at the First Lockhart Baptist Church
on May 28, 2006. Memorial contributions may be sent to the church
at 315 Prairie Lea, Lockhart, TX 78644. Lockhart
Post Register Obituary
Momma, at 93
years old, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move,
just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When
I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence
and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK. Finally,
not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check
on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK.
her head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine,
thank you for asking," she said in a clear strong
mean to disturb you, Momma, but you were just sitting
here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you
were OK," I explained to her.
you ever looked at your hands," she asked. "I
mean really looked at your hands?"
I slowly opened
my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over,
palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never
really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the
point she was making. Momma smiled and related this story:
and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they
have served you well throughout your years. These hands,
though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools
I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace
and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the
They put food
in my mouth and clothes on my back.
As a child
my Sunday School teacher taught me to fold them in prayer.
They tied my
shoes and pulled on my boots.
They held my
children and wiped my tears when my husband went off to
They have been
dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent from the games
I played and the work I did.
my wedding band they showed the world that I was married
and loved someone special.
My hands were
gentle and loving when I held my newborn babies.
letters to my husband, my children, and my friends. They
wrote jingles and poems to make others smile. They trembled
and shook when I read the telegram saying the war had
taken my husband, when I buried my parents and my sons,
and when I watched my children and grandchildren walk
down the aisle.
They have clapped
in encouragement and given pushes to the hesitant. They
have pointed to words, taught youngsters to read, and
wiped noses. They have held children, consoled neighbors,
and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.
My hands painted
the fingernails of my precious little granddaughter, Terri,
who used my love and care to stop biting her fingernails.
Then, they supported her fingers as they learned to play
hymns on the piano.
They have held
many dogs and cats and have been wet by their grateful
They have covered
my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest
of my body.
They have kneaded
dough when there was little flour. They have carried meals
to those in need.
They have been
sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. They have
crocheted hundreds of afgans for those I love and many
thousands of bookworms for those who love books.
And to this
day when not much of anything else of me works real well
these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue
to fold in prayer.
bear the mark of where I've been and the wrinkles tell
the story of my life.
But more importantly
it will be these hands that God will reach out and take
when He leads me home.
And with my
hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use
these hands to touch the face of Christ."
I will never
look at my hands the same again. But I will always remember
I was holding Momma's hands when God reached out and took
her hands from me and led her home.
When my hands
are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my grandchildren,
my children, and husband, I will think of Momma. I know
she is being stroked and caressed and held by the hands
of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel
His hands upon my face.