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Roy V. Crabtree

1930 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Roy V. Crabtree Obituary

Roy V. Crabtree, Wheatland resident for over 50 years, passed away in Paradise, California on Thursday, February 2nd. He was a devoted husband to Laura Jean who preceded Roy in death in 2011. Roy is survived by his three sons, Roy Venson Jr.(Karen), Steven Dell(Patrice), William Kevin(Jessica), his sister, Opal Mills of Fayetteville, Tennessee and four grandchildren: Collin Dell, Benjamin Everett, Ella Jean, and William Odin. Born December 31, 1930 to Jesse and Lila Crabtree in Lincoln County, Tennessee, Roy graduated from Lincoln County High School in 1950.

His marriage to Laura Jean in 1952 was truly a love story. Blind date, whirlwind romance, and the life of a military family as they bounced around the country, while Roy was enlisted in the United States Air Force. After his enlistment was up, Roy enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He graduated in 1958 with a degree in History. His first job in education was as Principal of Blanche School in Ardmore, Tennessee. Roy immediately saw a need for his new students to have more activities to occupy their time, so he started football and baseball programs. He even built the fields with a borrowed grader.

The Crabtree's' moved to Wheatland in the summer of 1963. Roy had taken a job at Wheatland High School as Vice Principal. It could be said that the Pioneer, Westside, and Butte View Leagues were never quite the same. He did as much as he could to make Wheatland High a great school in his 28 years of service there. Roy coached Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Track and Field, served as the school's Athletic Director, taught Social Studies and Typing, advised the Yearbook, and was involved in the leadership of his teaching colleagues as a union representative. Teaching was his passion. He loved sharing in the accomplishments of his students and players. Roy demanded a lot of effort out of all of them. A booming voice and quick scowl were his first impressions, but all of the students knew that he would absolutely go the extra mile to help them achieve their goals.

After retirement in 1991, Roy was involved with numerous organizations. He worked to start youth sports programs in Wheatland, participated in the Lion's Club, and Roy embarked on another career as Wheatland Councilman. He also served as Wheatland's mayor for 6 years. During his political tenure he spearheaded the effort to fund and build Wheatland's Community Center.

Roy and Laura Jean loved collecting antiques, traveling, and doting over grandchildren. Highlights were traveling to South Bend, Indiana to watch Notre Dame play football, sitting in the owner's box on the finish line at Churchill Downs to see the Kentucky Derby, attending a reunion at Blanche where a new field house was dedicated in his name and riding the train through Canada. Laura Jean fell ill in 2006 and Roy valiantly dedicated himself to her care until her death in 2011.

Roy's life was certainly a life that was full and well lived. A Celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Wheatland High School Gymnasium starting at 11:00 am. A reception will follow for stories and fellowship. Burial will be private at Wheatland Cemetery after the reception. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Wheatland High School, 1010 Wheatland Road, Wheatland, CA 95692 in Roy's name.

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Published in Appeal Democrat from Feb. 8 to Feb. 10, 2017
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