Downloadable Literature Guides

Mom, Shadow, and Suzy in 2003

Life Notice

I said God I hurt
and God said I know.
I said God I cry a lot
and God said that is why I gave you tears.
I said God I am so depressed
and God said that is why I gave you sunshine.
I said God life is so hard
and God said that is why I gave you loved ones.
I said God my loved one died.
and God said so did mine.
I said God it is such a loss
and God said I saw mine nailed to a cross.
I said but God your loved one lives
and God said so does yours.
I said but God where are she now
and God said mine is on my right
and yours is in the light.
I said God it hurts
and God said I know.

Leila Crowell Jackson of Lockhart, Texas, went home to be with Jesus on May 26, 2006. She was witness to and participant in many milestones in our country’s history. Born on the military army post, Fort Meade, South Dakota on February 5, 1913, she began a life as a "military brat" that would take her across every ocean, through two world wars, into untold number of countries, and almost every one of the United States.

Leila’s father was the pilot of the first ambulance plane and taught Charles Lindberg how to fly at Kelly Field. Pop played the part of the German pilot in the first Academy Award film, Wings. As a bit actor in the movie, Leila happily recalled eating Gary Cooper’s cast off Hershey candy bars between scenes in 1926.

Growing up in an otherwise unreligious family, Leila stood out when, as a teenager, she answered the call of Jesus and regularly attended church by herself. She taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School most of her life and was faithful in her tithe to the Church. She loved her Rebekah Sunday School class at First Lockhart Baptist Church and always counted Helen Flores as her special friend, hair dresser, and angel. Here, Leila was the pioneer in starting the JOY group and enjoyed leading the fellowship there for years.

An avid sportswoman and unabashed tomboy, Leila could stand toe-to-toe with her two brothers and their neighborhood friends in any game. She later attended the University of Illinois and graduated with a degree in physical education from The University of Texas.

Leila was a born teacher. Her first teaching experience was at Prairie Lea, Texas, where Pop would buzz the school in his by-plane and drop little parachutes with candy paratroopers to the children who ran out to wave at the unusual sight. From Prairie Lea, she moved to the small Valley town of Raymondville to teach. There she met and married the love of her life, the county attorney, James Foster Crowell. Their children, Tom and Suzy, became the focus of their lives.

When World War II broke out, Foster joined the Navy and was stationed on the U.S.S. Lexington. On November 5, 1944, Leila’s world came crashing down when Foster was killed in a kamikaze attack on his ship. (Years later, her grandson, Chuck Red, did some of his flight training aboard the Lexington.) She and her children moved to Austin and taught swimming, tennis, and physical education at the University of Texas in Austin.

She married Roy Jackson and moved to San Antonio. She gave birth to a daughter, Katherine Laurine Jackson.

Leila taught first grade in San Antonio for 20 years, and many people still remember the melodic sounds of her rhythm bands that she accompanied on the piano.

Leila put great importance on character and college education. She valued America and stood firmly in her patriotism and devotion to her country. In her later years, she began to crochet millions of afghans and book worms which are still treasured by friends and family. She enjoyed listening to Christian music, especially the Gaithers and the Statlers.

She was a great cook, a voracious reader, a wonderful mother and grandmother, a superb writer and poet, lover of birds and animals, a terrific teacher to us all, and a generous giver.

Leila wrote her memoirs in her book The First Eighty Years on the computer when she was 80 years old. She had begun the sequel in 1994. She said she would finish it in Heaven.

Leila took great pride in her family and treasured her children’s husbands and wives as dearly as she did her own children. Her grandchildren, Terri Red McGee, Chuck Red, Jennifer Crowell, Garrett Crowell, Courtnay Crowell, and Tyler Cates and great-grand children, Molly Red, Katie Red, Rosie Red, Charlie Red III, Reagan Red, and Jacob Red; Trevor and Trenton McGee; Karl, Karina, and Miranda Stromberg; Foster and Beau were the pride of her life. Her “adopted” grandson, James Bonn, and his parents Sally and Tom multiplied her joy in their frequent, uplifting visits.

Leila was predeceased by her beloved husband, James Foster Crowell, a new-born son, Richard Crowell, and her treasured son, Thomas Crowell. Her gifts and memories will continue to live on in Tom's family and her surviving two daughters, Suzy Red and Kathy Cates. Her family who affectionately called her “Dede” include:
Suzy Red and her husband Charles of Lockhart, Texas, and their children, Terri Lynne Red McGee and her husband, Paul, and two sons, Trevor and Trenton of Hallettsville; Chuck Red and his wife, Lisa, and their four children, Molly, Katie, Rosie, and Charlie III of Panama City, Florida;
Tom’s wife, Dona Crowell of Houston and their children Jennifer Crowell Stomberg and her husband Larry, and their three children, Karl Foster, Miranda, and Karina of Newark, Delaware; Garrett Crowell and his wife Debbie and their son, Austin, of Katie, Texas; Dr. Courtnay Crowell Smith and her husband Dr. Justin Smith and their son Foster and daughter Isabeau live in Canada.
Kathy Cates and her husband Gerald and their son Tyler of Austin, Texas.

In 1998, Leila and her beloved dog, Shadow, checked themselves into the Golden Age Home Personal Care Unit and for the last seven years, they enjoyed the friendship and security of the sweet environment there. She lost Shadow shortly before she left us. The week of her death, she was still walking the Alzheimers friends to their rooms every night. Three angels at the Golden Age Home became irreplaceable friends and helpers as she found her health beginning to fail. The family would like to say a special thanks to Rosa Lujan, Lupe Salinas, and Mary Gonzales for their patient, gentle, loving care that enabled her to stay independent until Jesus called her home. The family wishes to say a special thank-you to Dr. Charles Laurence and his staff who took the time to listen to and respect Leila when others had given up because of her age. His words, wisdom, and tender compassion were good medicine for her heart, soul, mind, and body enabling her to be independent, useful, and hopeful even at 93. The frequent cards and calls and the recent visit she received from her church family and her niece, Jan Titus and her husband Mel, kept her spirits high.

Leila’s favorite quote by Forest Witcraft was: “One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.” She was.

"For they that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Her Celebration of Life service was held at the First Lockhart Baptist Church on May 28, 2006. Memorial contributions may be sent to the church at 315 Prairie Lea, Lockhart, TX 78644. Lockhart Post Register Obituary

Momma's Hands

Momma, at 93 years old, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK. Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK.

She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. "Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking," she said in a clear strong voice.

"I didn't mean to disturb you, Momma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK," I explained to her.

"Have you ever looked at your hands," she asked. "I mean really looked at your hands?"

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making. Momma smiled and related this story:

"Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor.

They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back.

As a child my Sunday School teacher taught me to fold them in prayer.

They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.

They held my children and wiped my tears when my husband went off to war.

They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent from the games I played and the work I did.

Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special.

My hands were gentle and loving when I held my newborn babies.

They wrote letters to my husband, my children, and my friends. They wrote jingles and poems to make others smile. They trembled and shook when I read the telegram saying the war had taken my husband, when I buried my parents and my sons, and when I watched my children and grandchildren walk down the aisle.

They have clapped in encouragement and given pushes to the hesitant. They have pointed to words, taught youngsters to read, and wiped noses. They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand.

My hands painted the fingernails of my precious little granddaughter, Terri, who used my love and care to stop biting her fingernails. Then, they supported her fingers as they learned to play hymns on the piano.

They have held many dogs and cats and have been wet by their grateful tongues.

They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body.

They have kneaded dough when there was little flour. They have carried meals to those in need.

They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. They have crocheted hundreds of afgans for those I love and many thousands of bookworms for those who love books.

And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

These hands bear the mark of where I've been and the wrinkles tell the story of my life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home.

And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ."


I will never look at my hands the same again. But I will always remember I was holding Momma's hands when God reached out and took her hands from me and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my grandchildren, my children, and husband, I will think of Momma. I know she is being stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.


Background music by Brad White, Recordings available at The Pan-Flute Shop

© 2006, Suzy Red, Lockhart, Texas
All Rights Reserved