Betty Willowby Crabtree

August 25, 1932December 26, 2018

Betty went peacefully to be with her Lord Jesus on December 26, 2018. Visitation will be at 2:00 pm Saturday February 2, 2019, followed by a Celebration of Life service at 3:00 pm, both at New Presbyterian Church, 512 NE 26 Street, Wilton Manors, FL 33305.

Betty was born August 25, 1932 in Elk City, Oklahoma, to Ollie Mertye Vitato Willowby and John Richard Willowby. From a young age she loved God, her family, reading, and music. She was the top student in her class at Southwestern State University, where she met Ross Crabtree. They built a relationship on making music together and were married on April 18, 1954. The couple moved to Indiana and had two children, daughter Lisa and then son David. Betty was the organist at Bethany Presbyterian Church and Hope Church in Indianapolis for many years. The family traveled extensively together. With Ross, Betty visited all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, most of western Europe, China, Australia, and Ukraine. She and Ross were active in church. Betty enjoyed traveling and singing in choirs with Ross until he passed away in 2012. Betty’s mind stayed sharp; she managed her own investment portfolio and continued to sing, play the piano for special services, and volunteer at church.

Through the years, the joy Betty found in worshiping God was evident on her face as she sang or played. Betty’s theme was, in the words of the hymn, “And thro’ eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on.”

Betty was predeceased by her parents John and Mertye Willowby; her husband Ross Crabtree; her brother John Richard Willowby, Jr.; and her sister Lucile Willowby. She is survived by her daughter Lisa (Frederick) Avolio of Woodbine, MD; son David Crabtree of Terre Haute, IN; grandchildren Michael, Christine, Anthony, Katherine, Joseph, Madeline, John, and Robert Avolio of Maryland and Lori (Jayson) Miller of Tamarac, FL; brother Donald Willowby of Oklahoma City, OK; sister-in-law Bette Ache of Tulsa, OK; aunt Jeanne Allen of Ponca City, OK; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Donations in Betty’s memory may be made to the New Presbyterian Church Music Department, 512 NE 26 Street, Wilton Manors, FL 33305.


Betty Willowby Crabtree

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Christine Avolio

January 25, 2019

Grandmother loved spending time with her grandkids. She attended many of our graduations and visited when she could. She loved to sing, garden, and sew. It was hard being so far away from her for all my life, but I enjoyed the time that we could spend together. When her health deteriorated in November, I was able to travel down to visit with her (along with my mom and my Uncle). I got to see her every day for several weeks, and that is something I will always treasure. I was blessed to be able to help her some during that time and give back the love she gave me my whole life.

Cheryl Willowby

January 25, 2019

Even as recently as a little over a year ago when she visited us, she wanted to make sure she had “pulling weeds privileges.” She wanted to feel useful! She & Ross cared for Rich for several weeks after his surgery in 2008. We also appreciated all her work in genealogy. And we knew we could count on her for prayers when requested. We loved her! And we know she’s in a better place now, with no more pain. 💐🥰

Sarah Noble, Funeral Director

January 15, 2019

We the staff of Kraeer Funeral would like to offer our most deepest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of your loved one. "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal but love leaves a memory that no one can steal."