Vernie Wilton Crabtree

August 2, 1925January 8, 2021
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Vernie Faye Wilton Crabtree was a native of Texas. She was born to Charles Joseph Wilton & Lona Parrish Wilton on August 2, 1925 in Jermyn, Texas, a small town near Wichita Falls. She passed away, due to COVID-19, on January 8, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.

At Jermyn High School, Vernie was the head cheerleader, captain of the girls’ basketball team, editor of the high school annual, and salutatorian of a class of 5. She was also voted “Most Beautiful,” an honor she downplayed due to the small number of girls in her class.

Upon moving to Dallas, Vernie attended Business College, began work as a bookkeeper at Gifford-Hill Company, and volunteered as a Nurse’s Aide. On June 9, 1946, after WWII, Vernie married artist Tom Crabtree. She served as the office manager of Crabtree Studio, while raising two children, actively participating in her church, and serving as the leader of her daughter’s Camp Fire Girls group and her son’s Cub Scout pack.

Vernie was involved with church and community groups, such as the League of Women Voters, Church Women United (CWU), United Methodist Women (UMW), Women for Change, Women’s Equity Action League and the National Organization for Women. She also served as Board Vice President of the Lone Star Council of Camp Fire, Inc. Through UMW, Vernie participated in the CC Young Auxiliary, providing programs to the senior residents at CC Young Retirement Center, where Vernie lived during her last 15 years of life.

After the death of her husband, Vernie and her son, Tom, operated the family art business until it was sold. She then went to college. She earned straight A’s while she earned an Associate Degree in Business from Dallas College Eastfield Campus. Upon Vernie’s graduation, her daughter Carol hired her as the bookkeeper for her own law firm. In 1997, this mother-daughter team co-founded the Susan B. Anthony Award Luncheon with the help of the Council on the Status and Role of Women at First United Methodist Church. When attendance outgrew the church, the luncheon program was gifted to the League of Women Voters of Dallas.

In 2007, Vernie managed the registration desk for the International Women’s Peace Conference sponsored by Peacemakers, Inc. in Dallas. In 2010, Vernie was recognized by Gloria Steinem as a “Veteran Feminist of America” for her long-time advocacy for women’s rights.

Vernie is preceded in death by: her parents Charles Joseph Wilton and Lona Blanche Parrish Wilton; her siblings, Vester (& Vera) Wilton, Van (& Catherine) Wilton, Oretha Wilton, Oletha Wilton Little; her half-siblings, Norvell Wilton, C.J. Wilton, Charlene Wilton Jackson, Colleen (& Alton) Gary, and Eugene Wilton; and her youngest grandson Michel Blair Crabtree.

Vernie is survived by: her daughter Carol (& Dan) Donovan, her son Thomas (& Aggie) Crabtree; her grandchildren, Kathleen (& Ken) Coffin and Patrick (& Jessica) Donovan; and her great grandchildren Caroline Grace Coffin and Charlotte Anne Coffin.

A virtual Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, January 22, 2021 at Grove Hill Funeral Home. Friends and family are welcome to participate via Livestream on the Grove Hill Funeral Home Facebook Page. In lieu of flowers, people are encouraged to make a donation in Vernie’s memory to the Benevolence Fund of CC Young Retirement Center at 4847 W. Lawther Drive, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75214 (214-817-0488).

Below is the link to a Facebook post, and zoom access info for the virtual funeral: The zoom link, which is included in the above post, is:


  • Funeral Service

    Friday, January 22, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Friday, January 22, 2021


Vernie Wilton Crabtree

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kathy Frazier

January 22, 2021

I will always remember Vernie's devotion to her daughter, Carol. Her visits to the Dallas Oak Cliff Lions Club were always a treat. She was supportive of Carol and an inspiration to us all.

Kathy Frazier, CRS
Secretary, Dallas Oak Cliff Lions Club

Bill Melton

January 22, 2021

Carol and Family-

Sincere condolences on Vernie's passing.
She was a great lady and accomplished many
great things for our Community. She will be missed!

May God Bless Vernie and the Family.

Winston Liaw

January 22, 2021

We miss you already, Vernie. You epitomized decency, generosity, kindness, and love. The world desperately needs more people like you. Love you always.

Rick Clark

January 21, 2021

Vernie, You were always a Mom to me. I really count my lucky stars that we met that one day back in Dallas some 70 years ago. I can't imagine how my life would have been without you. And I cannot imagine life now without you. But I know you will be there in my thoughts and with love. THANKS for having always been you.

Senada Rustic

January 21, 2021

They say that death leaves a sting no one can heal, and love leaves a memory that no one can steal.
I have so many wonderful memories of Vernie. I’m really going to miss her.
Carol my sincere condolences to you and your family.

Julie Liaw

January 20, 2021

Thank you, Vernie and Tom, for being our host family when we arrived in Dallas for SMU graduate studies in 1970. You and your whole family welcomed us to this new country, America, with open arms, gracious generosity, and kindness, and we now call it home. We witnessed the best qualities of humanity through you and your family. This is the true America we know and deeply appreciate!
Although you left us unexpectedly, your love and caring touched so many lives. You will be forever remembered.
Thank you for making this new chapter of our lives so happy and memorable!
Love and hugs always, daughter number 3
and Alfred


January 19, 2021

My deepest sympathy and prayer for the family and dear friends.

Louis Marotta

January 18, 2021

Mrs. Crabtree was like my second mom. I lived just a block away and met the Crabtree family in 1965. Her son Tom and I became best friends at age 9. She was a huge influence in my life, as Tom and I progressed from young boys, teenagers, college students, and adult men. Every step of the way she offered good advice and unconditional love. This love was received by everyone she met. Her kindness and dedication to women's and civil rights made an impact on me. She walked a path of grace throughout her life as devout Christian. Her joy of life was an inspiration to many. For me, I can say I am a better person for knowing and loving Mrs. Crabtree all these decades. I will miss her dearly. Carol and Tom, please accept my condolences for your loss, with prayers that memories of your mom will shine upon you forever.
Louis Marotta, second son

Tracy Schanbacher

January 18, 2021

I remember Vernie bounding off the elevator Sunday mornings headed to the Aldersgate class at First Church which met adjacent to the G06 class. Her exuberance was contagious. I also remember her example of leadership and steadfast devotion to women’s ministries and activities at the church. What a high standard of Christian witness and living she gave us all! May Carol and her family find peace and comfort in Vernie‘s well lived life. Her life was a blessing, her memory a treasure. She was loved beyond words and is missed beyond measure.

Mary Ellen Faber

January 18, 2021

What a wonderful impression Vernie made on everyone she met. You have gone, but you will never be forgotten.