Loreta Lavee Crenshaw
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1928 - 2020
As we commemorate Loreta Lavee Crenshaw “Reta” and celebrate her life, we remember all the hard work she put in to life. No matter the obstacles, she always worked to keep her marriage of 60 years a priority, she worked to keep her faith in God a priority and she worked hard to keep her family happy and healthy.
Loreta Lavee Griffith was born on August 26, 1928, in De Leon, Texas to David Litton Griffith and Sallie Veta Morgan Griffith. She was raised in and attended schools in Desdemona, Texas. She played basketball for Desdemona High School and graduated in 1945 at 17 years of age.
The summer after graduation, she was swept off her feet by a handsome young man, James Eugene Crenshaw “Gene”, who had just been honorably discharged from the Navy after serving his country in WWII. They were married soon after her 18th birthday on August 30th, 1946. When asked what attracted her to him, her eyes lit up as she said it was his blonde wavy hair, his beautiful white teeth, an impish smile, his wonderful hug and the sense of excitement and adventure he projected when he was with her. They worked together on a farm, traded cattle, and started their family when their son, James, was born on October 15, 1947.
During the Korean conflict, Gene reenlisted in the Navy and their small family of 3 moved to San Diego, California, where they lived until May, 1952. While there, Reta worked on the Naval Base as a riveter.
After her husband’s discharge from the Navy, Reta and her family moved to a farm outside of Desdemona, Texas, where their daughter, Sheila, was born on May 22, 1953. After a devastating fire that destroyed their home and crops in 1955, Reta and Gene moved to the oilfields of West Texas, eventually settling in the small community of Jal, New Mexico.
While in Jal, Reta was a homemaker until her youngest child started school. At that point, she started seeking employment outside of the home and began her impressive banking career with New Mexico Bank and Trust Company in 1961. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and experience in many phases of the bank’s operations and was promoted to many leadership positions there. In 1977 she was promoted to Operations Officer for the branch. In 1979, she received another promotion to Assistant Vice President, Loans.
Reta and her husband both loved the outdoors and loved spending time with their friends. Most weekends while in Jal were spent taking trips or vacations to cabins in Colorado to fish, land leases along the Rio Grande River for camping and fishing, deer hunting, bird hunting and weekend trips to Mexico. In addition, Reta served as Noble Grand of the IOOF of the Jal Rebekah Lodge and enjoyed playing golf.
After their retirement in 1984, Reta and Gene moved to Alba, Texas where they attended and were active in the Church of Christ there. She enjoyed running the household, canning the vegetables they grew in their garden, helping with the cattle, playing games on the computer, volunteering as a member of the Newcomers Club and looking after the couple’s finances. After her husband’s death in 2007, Reta moved to Plano, Texas where she lived with her daughter, Sheila, until the end of her life on February 24, 2020.
Reta is survived by her daughter, Sheila Frank of Plano; 4 grandchildren, Laura Frank, Ben Crenshaw, Paul Crenshaw, and Darryl Crenshaw; 7 great grandchildren, Zach, Sadie, Audrey and Rowdy Crenshaw, Lilyana and Jack Kemper, and Vajray Crenshaw; and 1 great great grandchild, Amelia Crenshaw.