BIG TIMBER — Louise Crawford, 80, formerly of Valier, died peacefully on March 11 at the Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber from complications of COPD, emphysema and congestive heart disease.
Born to Ernest and Ethel Batchelder on Dec. 29, 1932, in Laramie, Wyo., Louise was the youngest of 13 children. Her dad died when she was 9 weeks old. Her mom was too ill to care for her and died when Louise was 13. She was raised from infancy by her uncle and aunt, Dewey and Lucille Hancock, and they added the name Peggy as her first name. They had two sons, so Louise gained two more siblings. She always thought of her uncle and aunt as her parents and felt lucky to have two mothers. Although she was separated from her birth family, she kept in touch with them throughout their lives. Her only remaining sibling is her sister, Rita.
Louise was raised on a farm near Craig, Neb. During the school year, she lived in Craig with her Grandma Minnie. When she was 11, her family moved to Valier, Mont., where she lived until moving to the Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber on April 15, 2010. During her high school years, she worked as a waitress and a clerk.
On June 17, 1950, Louise married John M. “Jack” Crawford. Daughter Pamela Kae was born on April 8, 1952, and daughter Nancy Lu was born on Feb. 5, 1955. Eventually, Jack was nicknamed Ripper and Louise was nicknamed Weezie by their friends, and those names stuck. Ripper and Weezie farmed east of Valier until they retired and moved into their new home in Valier the fall of 1977. Nancy died of breast cancer on Jan. 23, 2003. Ripper died on Feb. 16, 2005.
Weezie loved music, especially easy listening and Big Band. She had the gift of playing piano and organ by ear, although she much preferred the organ. She was part of a local group known as the “C Notes” who played for dances in the 1960s. She was a member of the Valier United Methodist Church where she was very active and served as church organist. She was a Girl Scout leader, volunteered with the Red Cross Bloodmobile, served three terms on the Valier City Council, and was a proud 63-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She enjoyed water skiing, snow skiing and golf. She and Ripper enjoyed several years of owning a mobile home along the golf course at West Glacier. After leaving Valier, Weezie missed visits with her friends at the Panther Café.
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Weezie was preceded in death by her biological parents Ernest and Ethel Batchelder, her parents Dewey and Lucille Hancock, 13 siblings, her husband Jack Crawford, and her daughter Nancy Johnson.
She is survived by her daughter Pam (Dewey) Braaten of Big Timber; sister Rita (Dee) Beardsley of Casper, Wyo.; son-in-law Monty (Donita) Johnson of Valier; grandchildren Breeann (Martin August) Johnson of Bozeman, Kelsey (Brandon) Proue of Big Timber, Tanner (Lindsey Rohde) Johnson of Valier; great-granddaughters Olivia and Presley Proue of Big Timber; sisters-in-law Janice Sanderson of Potomac, Md., and Patti Batchelder of Omaha, Neb.; and many nieces and nephews.
Weezie’s family expresses their deep appreciation to the staff of Pioneer Medical Center and the staff of Hearts and Hands Hospice for the wonderful care she received. Thank you to Stenberg Funeral Home for their assistance.
A celebration of Weezie’s life will be held at the Valier United Methodist Church at a later date. Memorials are suggested to the Valier United Methodist Church or to Hearts and Hands Hospice in Big Timber.