Born Friday, October 25, 1929
Died Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Bettie Louise Jones McCrary 1929 – 2020
When Bettie Louise Jones was born on October 25, 1929, in Tulsa, OK, likely few knew of the feisty resilient spirt in this newborn baby girl. But when Bettie died on February 05, 2020, in Muskogee, OK, few doubted the strong determined will of this 90-year-old matriarch. She ultimately embraced life – the good and the tragic – “through him who gives me strength.”
The eighth child of twelve children born to the late Dalton Jones and Bessie (Madison), Bettie was named after her paternal grandmother. The family moved to Fort Gibson, OK, to a home her grandmother left them when Bettie was six years old. Bettie had a kind and considerate nature, and she assumed multiple duties from a young age including caring for her younger siblings. Her brother Norman often introduced her as “the sister who raised me.”
Her kindness was only enhanced by her competitive spirit and thirst for learning. She graduated valedictorian of the former Lincoln High School in Fort Gibson in 1946, and later received a two-year scholarship to Langston University. While she did not have the financial resources to finish her college education, her dedication to learning lead all six of her children to complete college degrees.
Bettie was a good mother and a hard worker who brought her children up in the church and did her best to guide them. She worked at least two jobs to support her family that included everything from cleaning in other people’s homes to working nights at a bakery and becoming a teacher’s aide in local schools.
She married Cephus Lurks of Fort Gibson in 1947, and they had two daughters Dianne and Lettie, before separating. She briefly lived in Joplin and Kansas City MO, but she felt home was where her heart was and that was in Fort Gibson close to family and friends.
Bettie met Eddie McCrary Sr., of Muskogee when he came to Fort Gibson in 1951. The two married in 1954 and lived in Muskogee. This union was to last 32 years until Eddie’s unexpected death in 1986. Together they raised her two young daughters, who fondly called him Uncle Eddie, along with their five other children that included son Lester, daughter Gloria who died in infancy, son Eddie Jr., daughter Bettie Ruth, and son John.
She was a woman who cared much for her family. She loved all her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren as well as the hundreds of “adopted” grandchildren working as a foster grandparent in the local schools. Even in her final days, she would say to her family and loved ones, “Don’t worry about me. Take care of yourself.”
She enjoyed making flowers and wreaths, crocheting, and baking. She also was an avid traveler and visited nearly all 50 states in the U.S. She had many friends, but she had extra special friendships and love for her two “adopted” sisters Judy Stansberry and Juanita Davis both of Muskogee, and friend Mary Howell of Goose Creek, SC. Lighting up her life were her two special “adopted” daughters Brenda Ledbetter and Ruth Buffington of Muskogee who was always available to encourage her.
A devout Christian, Bettie was an active church member until serious health issues kept her homebound. But not even the pain of progressing illnesses could dim her stubborn feistiness. She was a model of strong will and sheer determination until the end of her life – leaning on her Christian faith.
Besides husband Eddie, daughter Gloria, parents, grandparents, and siblings who died in infancy, Bettie was preceded in death by brothers Henry, Royal, and George.
We who survive and love her dearly and will never forget her tenacity, wit, and grace are brothers Oliver (Gwen) Jones of Omaha, NE, and Norman Jones of Tulsa, daughters Dianne (Lonnie) Hill of Muskogee, and Lettie Lindsay (Jackson) of Goose Creek, SC, sons Lester (Irene) McCrary of Greenville, MS, and Eddie McCrary Jr. of Muskogee, daughter Bettie (Danny) Brown of Jenks, OK, son John McCrary of Baton, Rouge, LA, a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, “adopted” daughters Brenda Ledbetter and Ruth Buffington of Muskogee, “adopted” sisters Judy Stansberry and Juanita Davis of Muskogee, friend Mary Howell of Goose Creek, SC., and a host of nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
A Home Going service will be conducted, Friday, February 14, 2020, 11:00 a.m., Faith Deliverance Christian Center, 401 Independence Ave, Muskogee, OK, Pastor Wilmore Green of Berean Seventh Day Adventist Church delivering the eulogy. Interment will follow in Booker T. Washington Cemetery, Muskogee, OK.
Visitation, Thursday, February 13, 2020, 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
The family has been cared for by House of Winn Funeral Home, Muskogee.