Born October 6, 1911 Nema survived woman's suffrage, prohibition, the Great Depression, two World Wars (and countless others), civil rights, and 19 presidents starting with Howard Taft. One of her first memories is of the soldiers coming home from WWI. She referred to a pharmacist as a chemist. She saw T.V. for the first time when she was in her 40's, and she never owned more than one. She finally went to be with God on Saturday, January 27, 2018.
Nema loved her family fiercely, but I wouldn't call her sweet or nurturing. The words dignified and gentile come to mind. She could talk your ear off while serving you coffee and cake, and you would rarely hear her tell anyone that her life or her family were anything but perfect. My father said she had the best rose colored glasses ever made. Wrong or right, she had the tendency to remember things "her" way, which may or may not have been completely accurate, but always ended at a minimum with everyone being content, or at the extreme with everyone being extraordinary. During rare quiet moments, if she was in the mood, she might share some of the sadness and shame that plagued her.
Towards the end, if you caught her on one of those rare days that she felt like sharing her struggles, she would probably tell you that her two biggest sources of life changing tragedy were first and foremost the death of her husband and both her children, followed only by parents who were unable to care for her. Her mother was institutionalized when she was an early teen and her father was unable to care for her. Despite their obvious flaws, Nema loved them dearly and often talked fondly about her mother and was especially proud of her Swedish ancestry. She also bragged about how her father was loved by everyone, musically gifted, and died in a tragic car accident saving children.
Nema would be horrified that I even mention some of these unspeakable things, she did NOT air dirty laundry, but it all shaped her astonishing ability to survive. It was what made Nema, well, Nema.
She would much rather I report all the good—the truly remarkable life she lived with the people she cared about the most which included family and lifelong friends. She dearly loved her husband and children and would brag to no end about all of them. She traveled the world with her husband, and my father and aunt were often able to come along. She lived in South Africa and Sweden for extended periods of time and visited just about every European country at some point. During WWII, after the US entered the war, the ship she was on heading to South Africa with her children was pulled over and searched by the Nazi's. (We later discovered her grandfather was a Levine—a very distinctly Jewish surname from the Levite Tribe. She must have been terrified.) She had amazing stories.
She and my grandfather became Christian later in life after my father begged them to attend Westminster Presbyterian Church of Akron when he was twelve. (Apparently, they had a really good basketball team that my father wanted to be a part of.) She was an active member of the church until my grandfather's death in the 1980's.
Nema was far from perfect, but there is no denying how charismatic she could be if she wanted. Towards the end of her life she was still charming nurses and making friends. (I have yet to understand how she made new friends in the nursing home when she couldn't hear a thing. The conversations must have been priceless.)
So here's to our Nema! A beautiful, smart, extremely charming (when she wanted to be,) independent woman who lived life to the fullest and remained fiercely loyal to the end. She will live on in this life in the many stories we will tell about her for years to come. I need to go find those "rosy" glasses now…
She is preceded in death by her husband Howard Douglas Crotts Sr, her son Howard Douglas Crotts Jr, her daughter Barbara Ann Crotts, her parents George F Deacon and Irene Deacon (maiden name Levine.) She is survived by her granddaughter Lori Craft and husband Baron Craft of Cypress, TX, granddaughter Beth-Ann Carpenter and husband Tyler Carpenter of Klein, TX and 3 great grandchildren Trey Craft, Cade Carpenter, and Reece Carpenter as well many "nieces and nephews" from her cousins children and grandchildren.
Calling hours will be Monday, February 5 from 4:30-6:30PM at the Anthony Funeral Home, McGowan-Ried & Santos Chapel, 247 Stow Ave, Cuyahoga Falls (at Third St., one block north of Portage Trail). Funeral service will be held 10AM Tuesday at the funeral home, Pastor Jon Hauerwas officiating. Interment at Northlawn Memorial Gardens. (Cuyahoga Falls, 330-929-1313, anthonyfh.com)