Jane Douglass Craddock
Jane Douglass Craddock passed away in the early morning hours of Friday, April 5, 2019. Through 95 years, Jane lived a long and happy life, centered on her family, both immediate and extended.
Born in Houston in 1923 during the roaring 20’s and the age of Jim Crow, Jane lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War, the civil rights movements, the Vietnam War, astronauts walking on the moon, the development of personal computers, the creation of the internet, two Gulf wars, the rise of terrorism, and the first score of years in a new century. She saw the world go from unreliable automobiles to supersonic transports; from party-line phones to instant messaging. Through it all, Jane kept her sense of humor, never gave up her love for Dr. Pepper, and met every person and every day with a smile on her face. She was as pleasant and kind as any person could be, and she was loved dearly by her family and friends (and all manner of animals).
Though she was born and grew up in Houston, Jane’s roots were in Granbury. She was the daughter of William Edwards and Veneta Jane (nee Daniel) Douglass who had moved together to Houston from Granbury in 1917. Her grandfather, William Buchanan Daniel, came to Granbury in 1867 with his extended family at the age of 10, and eventually opened W. B. Daniel Grocery on the west side of the Granbury square. In 1892 he built what is today known as the “Daniel House” house located on Bluff Street in Granbury, where Jane’s mother was born. Many years later, Jane inherited the Daniel House, and lived there permanently from 1991 until her passing. Jane’s father was a brilliant mathematician, who taught himself law, passed the Texas Bar Exam having never attended law school, and was elected to the Texas Legislature as the state representative for Granbury. Eventually, Mr. Douglass took a job with Southern Pacific and moved with Veneta to Houston where they began their family.
Jane had two brothers, David and William, both of whom she cherished deeply. After their mother died unexpectedly of a stroke when Jane was 13, she grew even closer to her brothers. They vowed to “stick together” which they did until separated by death. Today, they are together again.
After the death of her mother, Jane was blessed to have two surrogate mothers who guided her through adolescence and into adulthood. Pennie “Pearl” Sims moved into the family house to provide cooking, cleaning, nurturing, unconditional love, life lessons, and real world experience. When her father would leave town on business, Pearl would take Jane and her brothers to the segregated part of town, where they would enjoy Texas Bar B Q. Those experiences taught Jane to be open minded and accepting of every person and every culture.
Pearl would also accompany the family to their summer home at Shore Acres on Galveston Bay. While their father would ride the daily interurban train from Shore Acres to downtown Houston, Jane, her brothers, Pearl, their dog Skippy, and their horse Flossy would enjoy the sun, water, and time on their skiff. Yet Jane would tell stories of going to movie theaters with Pearl, where Pearl would be required to sit in the balcony, away from the “white people”. She regretted those injustices and never understood such thinking.
Martha Backlund, her middle school teacher took Jane under her wing and gave her lessons and guidance as a mother would. She was a gracious lady who gave Jane many special gifts, including the original idea for Jane to attend Waldemar Girls Camp in Hunt, Texas. The Waldemar experience brought Jane lifelong friends and personal accomplishments. She was named Ideal Waldemar Girl in 1940, an honor that anyone associated with the camp still holds in high esteem. She also met Emmie Craddock at Waldemar, who eventually introduced Jane to her brother, Jim.
After attending Lamar High School, Jane enrolled at the University of Texas. Attendance at college was not a common occurrence in 1940, and even less so for women. But Jane’s father had other ideas. He was adamant that his daughter would go to college. He did not consider it an option; instead a requirement. A requirement Jane made sure her sons understood as well.
During her days at “The University”, she lost many friends to the horrors of WWII--memories which influenced her views from those days forward. There were also many wonderful memories from her time in Austin, including her sisterhood in the Delta Delta Delta sorority. In 1944 she graduated with a degree in physical education, and returned to teach middle school in Houston.
In 1945, Jane met a handsome pilot and lawyer who courted her by taking her for rides on empty seats in the DC-3 he flew for Braniff Airlines. James Hartwell “Jim” Craddock would pick her up at Hobby Airport in Houston, let her ride for free on the flight to Galveston, and take her to lunch along the seawall before returning to Houston. They married on December 30, 1946 (the “best thing that ever happened” in Jim’s life), and moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The time in Cedar Rapids was brief, as Jane was never a fan of cold weather, and Dr. Pepper was not available in Iowa in the 40’s.
So they returned to Texas, and started a family, which turned out to be the passion of their lives. For the next 66 years, Jane poured her heart and soul into being a kind, compassionate, and steady influence on her children. Having been lucky enough to have four boys, Jane would join them to go fishing, practice baseball, or spend weekends in the woods. Even as they grew into adulthood, her unconditional love was a vital source of comfort and security. They were blessed to have Jane and Jim as their parents, and they will be forever grateful for that blessing. Jane has four grandchildren as well; from 1995 forward, Jane was “Granma Jane” to the family.
Jane’s love of family extended beyond her children and husband. She was fortunate to have a large family on both the Douglass/Daniel and Craddock/Kilbourne sides of her family. Her brothers’ children were her children, and Jim’s family was her family. Time with both sides of her family were special. Reunions with the Douglass’s were like youthful times with her brothers. Even at age 93, she cherished the recent Craddock family reunion, where she swam in the pool and connected with family members from age 8 to 70.
After Jim retired from Exxon, they returned to Granbury to live in the Daniel House that Jane inherited from her cousin Eunibeth Lewis Vance. Jim and Jane flourished in the Granbury community and became active in many groups and organizations including attending the First Presbyterian Church. Jane was involved with the preservation of the history of Granbury, D.A.R., and loved playing tennis at Pecan Plantation. As supporters of the Granbury Opera House, Jane and Jim would often host parties for the cast and crew on strike nights. She was named the Granbury Preservationist of the Year in 2013.
Jane was delighted to have many, many friends in Granbury and always happy to give tours of the Daniel House, talk about the history of the town, or lament that Granbury was not the small town of her childhood memories. By the end, she considered Granbury as her extended family. Jane was also a supporter of the ASP-CA and many wildlife and nature organizations. She loved her wildflowers, cats and any stray animal that needed some love and nourishment.
But the real expression of Jane’s strength of character and love, were displayed through the ten plus years during which Jim’s mind and body slowly deteriorated from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Jane patiently repeated conversations with him, helped him locate his keys or golf clubs, and lovingly cared for him until she simply could do it alone no longer. Even after Jim moved into an assisted living facility, Jane made daily visits to check on him and take cookies or other treats to the caregivers.
In the last few months, the tables turned and Jane needed caregivers of her own. She was fortunate to have help and support from a team of wonderful, loving caregivers along with devoted friends that her family cannot thank enough.
Jane is survived by her children, grandchildren and dear friends. Doug Craddock of Houston, Texas; Dan Craddock of Austin, Texas, (grandchildren Hannah and Emma); Hal Craddock and wife Ann Marie Craddock of Reno, Nevada (grandchildren Aidan and Nolan); Tom Craddock and wife Beah Craddock of Ridgway, Colorado and Hank Clark of Houston, Texas. In addition, she is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins. While they are too numerous to list, they know that she loved and cherished each of them, as well as the time she was able to spend with them.
Jane will be laid to rest alongside Jim at a private family graveside service.
A visitation will be held Friday April 19th from 6-8pm at the Wiley Funeral Home.
A Celebration of Jane’s Life will be held at the Daniel House Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 1pm to 4pm, open to all of Jane’s friends and family. Please come by and help us celebrate Jane’s life. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Alzheimer’s Organization https://alz.org/or the Nature Conservancy https://support.nature.org/site/Donation2?15000.donation=form1&df_ id=15000&resultid=7TV