Wilma Jane Hanley Crabbe

Obituary
  • "My deepest sympathy to all the family. Mrs. Crabbe had a..."
    - Susan Craig
  • "So sorry for your loss."
    - Lloyd Horton
  • "A lovely tribute to your mother, Richard. So sorry for your..."
    - Pat Austin
  • "No greater loss, Richard, but you had her for an..."
    - Jimmy Thomas
  • "Ms. Crabbe's obituary tells of a life lived fully in..."
    - Laverne Howard

Wilma Jane Hanley had no idea how her life would change as she took the Army enlistment oath on her birthday in February, 1945. She'd spent her first 20 years in Sacramento, California with her family: brother Albert, sisters Nora and Gertrude, and parents William and Mildred Hanley.

After basic training at Fort DeMoines, Iowa, she was assigned to the 70th WAC Hospital Company, Brooke General Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where she was trained and served as a Physical Therapy Technician, and was awarded the Meritorious Unit Award, American Theater Campaign Ribbon, and Good Conduct Medal for her service. During that time she met a wounded combat veteran from Georgia, Kenneth Crabbe. They were married in September, 1946 at a base military chapel; along with many wartime WAC enlistees, she was honorably discharged the following month.

Their first child - Richard - was born in Sacramento the following year; they soon moved to Georgia, where daughters Kathleen and Julia were born, as Kenneth continued his rehabilitation while earning a master's degree from the University of Georgia.

After a brief time in Florida - where son William was born - the family settled in Augusta, Georgia, where Kenneth joined the staff of the Augusta Chronicle and Herald, and fifth child Geoff was born. In addition to raising a family of five, Wilma worked in retail sales for J.B. White Co., and Macy's, and as a physical therapy technician at Georgia Regional Hospital.

After Mr. Crabbe's passing in 1975, she earned an associate's degree at Aiken (SC) Technical School, then eventually returned to California to be close to her siblings and daughter Kathleen. She was active at the Elk Grove Senior Center, where she did volunteer work and sang with a group.

In recent years, Wilma returned to Georgia, where she lived in Decatur, Dunwoody, and Athens. She became active in the Dorothy Benson Center in Sandy Springs, where she volunteered and participated in the neighborhood group's activities.

As a personal gesture, she crocheted over 5,000 wool hats for inclusion in care boxes, sent by the American Legion Post in Alpharetta - where she was a member - to armed forces personnel serving in Afghanistan. Later, after a move to Athens, she spent time at the Athens-Clarke County Center for Aging.

Wilma is survived by daughter Kathleen, and sons Richard, William, and Geoffrey. Daughter Julia passed away in 2016. In addition, she leaves seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Wilma Jane (Hanley) Crabbe (b. February 2, 1925) passed away peacefully the morning of September 6, 2017, at Avery Place, Winterville, GA, in the care of her family, the facility staff, and Gentiva Hospice. A family remembrance will be held September 23 in Washington, GA.

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Published in The Augusta Chronicle on Sept. 17, 2017