Bennie Elizabeth Cole Crabtree
September 18, 1926 - March 28, 2013
Bennie Crabtree, age 86, met her Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face March 28th, 2013. She died at Jackson Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee following a case of severe pneumonia and intestinal illness diagnosed in early March.
Bennie was born in Buena Vista, Tennessee. She was the eldest child and only daughter of William Benjamin Cole and Mabel Hull Cole. Bennie attended elementary school in Buena Vista and graduated from Central High School in Bruceton, Tennessee. She played on the girls' basketball teams from grades 6-12.
Bennie attended Union University from 1944-1946. At Union, she met her husband and lifetime partner in ministry, Thomas T. Crabtree, from Bells, Tennessee. On Easter Sunday, April 21, 1946, Bennie married T. T. Crabtree at Bethel Baptist Church (south of Humboldt, Tennessee) and their 61 years of wedded happiness began. After T. T. graduated from Union University, the Crabtrees attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Bennie graduated from the Women's Missionary Training School at Southern Seminary with a degree in Religious Education. She worked four years at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville.
Bennie was a devoted mother to her three children, two sons, Tom and Cody, and daughter, Anna Beth. She often served her children's schools in the roles of homeroom mother and as a leader in PTA. Bennie has one grandson, Benjamin Taylor Crabtree, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bennie was a dear friend to many after living in Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Missouri. She was known for her compassionate and encouraging spirit.
Bennie Crabtree's greatest joy came from knowing Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. During her life, she was affiliated with Southern Baptist churches in the communities where she lived. Bennie taught many Sunday School classes and championed outreach efforts. She visited thousands of people in their homes, hospital rooms and other locations. In 1976, the Crabtrees started the Chapel Bible Class at First Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. For over 35 years, Bennie devoted her time and energy to reaching and ministering to those attending the Chapel Bible Class.
Her name "Bennie" was often misunderstood by others. She often received mail addressed to Mr. Benny Crabtree, Mrs. Bunny Crabtree or Mrs. Bonnie Crabtree. She accepted the confusion pleasantly saying, "I'm my Daddy's boy." Since her parents had only anticipated having one child, they named their firstborn daughter after her father.
Bennie Crabtree is preceded in death by both parents, both sons, and her husband, Dr. T. T. Crabtree. She is survived by Anna Beth and Robert Morgan (daughter and son-in-law of Jackson, Tennessee), Billy B. Cole (brother from Nashville, Tennessee), Ben and Chisato Crabtree (grandson and wife from Tulsa, Oklahoma), Damon and Robbie Crabtree (brother-in-law and wife from Winchester, Tennessee), Mary and L.T. Jordan (sister-in-law and husband from Bells, Tennessee), Betty Webb (sister-in-law from Bells, Tennessee) and R.A. Criss (brother-in-law from Alamo, Tennessee). Surviving cousins include: Ada Ruth Kelley (Nashville, Tennessee), Willard Cole (Fort Worth, Texas), Tom Waldrop (Arlington, Texas), Mary Elizabeth Chambliss (Jackson, Tennessee), Jimmy Butler (Bruceton, Tennessee) and Virginia Birdwell (Yuma, Tennessee) plus many nieces and nephews.
A time of visitation for family and friends will occur at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home, 1947 E. Seminole, Springfield, Missouri on April 1, 2013 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church Worship Center, 525 South Avenue in Springfield on Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Interment at Hazelwood Cemetery will follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorials should be directed to the Crabtree Lecture Series, c/o Office of Advancement, Union University, 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson, TN 38305.