On July 21, 2018 near midnight, Hazel Margaret Hamaker McCrary, our dear, sweet mother, passed away at the age of 88. She was just days away from her 89th birthday.
Hazel was born on August 4, 1929 in El Cajon, San Diego County, California as the 4th of 5 children to Victor and Nellie (Marlette) Hamaker. She was the only surviving child of a set of twins. On May 12, 1950, she married Donald Edward McCrary. They raised two children, Deborah Ann and Michael Eugene McCrary.
Throughout Hazel’s life, she loved music, dancing, animals and especially her family. As a young girl she daydreamed of being an opera singer. As she became a teenager during WWII, she learned to jitter-bug and even became good enough to win a few contests when the right partner came along. In 1949 her parents decided to visit Hazel’s older sister Pearl who had married and moved to Ft. Worth, Texas. Hazel decided to join them. She began working as a waitress in her sister’s cafe, where she met Donald. She told the story that he had first come in still covered in grease from working on his “Hot Rod” and she was not impressed! He asked her out several times and she refused, but on his 5th try, she gave in. It changed her life!
They eventually bought a small, 3 acre farm and began to build their own house, bit by bit. They both worked for Texas Electric for a time, but Hazel eventually became a stay at home mom. She loved taking care of the garden, the animals, teaching Sunday School and going and doing everything with Donald. They passed their love of animals and country life to their children and their families. They eventually bought a larger 80+ acre farm in Venus, Texas and began building another home with more animals and farm work. They raised their children there and have kept that piece of property in the family. In 1977, after both children had graduated high school and moved out, they bought another 5 acres in Kennedale, TX and once again set about building their own home. This move allowed Donald to be closer to his job and Hazel held down the fort while he worked.
They both loved being outside in the sunshine and working their garden or raising animals. They enjoyed raising sweet potatoes and turnips and even celebrated a few small moments of notoriety in the Fort Worth Star Telegram for their record setting crops or the multiple sets of twins born to their cow. When they did take a bit of time off from working, they enjoyed traveling and adventures. Their favorite trip was a 4 month long road trip to Alaska and later, another to Canada. There were few states they did not visit.
In 2011, Donald passed away and Hazel found herself needing to learn a new way of life after 61 years of marriage. She had always been a hard working, loving and supportive wife and mother. She picked herself up and carried on. She was quick to laugh and taught her family to enjoy life, to laugh together and at themselves. She loved people watching and never wanted to be the center of attention. She loved the happy sounds of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It never mattered that there was a crowd or that it was loud, to her, it was music to her ears. She was amazed at how large our little family became, but anyone was welcome. She always said, “Anyone that wants to call me grandma can. It doesn’t matter if they are related or not!” When she finally lost the ability to help others physically, she said God had given her a smile and she could share that and she did!
She was preceded in death by her husband Donald, both of her parents and all 4 of her siblings. She is survived by her daughter, Deborah McCrary Jones and her husband Jeff of Westminster, CO, her son, Michael McCrary and his wife Irma of Venus, TX, her grandchildren and their spouses, Stephanie McCrary Brown, Celena McCrary, Shawn McCrary, Casey McCrary, Aaron Cruz, Gabriel Cruz, 15 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren and one more on the way.
Her funeral service will be held at Emerald Hills Funeral Home and Cemetery, 500 Sublett Rd., Kennedale, TX 76060 on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018 at 2 p.m. Visitation will take place at the Emerald Hills Funeral Home on Friday, Aug. 3rd from 6:00-8:00 p.m.