Gayle Neeley Crawford passed away peacefully at home on July 30, 2011 in Corsicana Texas. Gayle was the first born to Patsy and Al Neeley on Oct. 19, 1934 in El Paso, Texas. The family later moved to Dallas University Park, where they remained. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was preceded in death by her son Russell Crawford; mother Patsy Evans Neeley; father Alfred Dill Neeley; and stepmother Lois Layne Neeley.
At the age of 15, Gayle lost her mother and stepped in to help raise her younger sister, Kay. Years later, her father married Lois Layne and added step-brother Len to the family.
Gayle was a gifted pianist, talented athlete and outstanding student. She was a singer in the Highland Park High School Lads and Lassies choir, named the 1950 ROTC Company Queen and served as captain of the 1952 all-star tenniquoit team her senior year. She was a member of the HPHS student council, National Honor Society, a four-year Linz Pin honoree and two-year Hi-Lites vice president. In the high school gym, she met the handsome SMU football star, John Crawford, who would become the love of her life. They were married for a fun 57 years.
Gayle attended SMU on an academic scholarship and pledged the Delta Delta Delta sorority. At the close of her sophomore year, she left school to marry John in the SMU Chapel on June 5, 1954. The young couple moved to Corsicana where she became a Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and involved in the First Methodist Church as a choir soloist and member emeritus of the Quintillion book club. Her poise, beauty and endless energy led to a successful modeling career at the Dallas Fashion Mart, Neiman Marcus, and Dyer’s in Corsicana, and more than 20 years as a travel agent at First Travel Agency. She was the first female board member of the Corsicana Country Club. Many friends remember her as a gourmet cook whose pizzas were legendary.
Intelligent, beautiful and strong, she lives on in the hearts of many.
Gayle leaves behind her loving husband John Crawford; son Hayden Crawford and his wife Jolene of Corsicana; grandsons Hunter and Hill Crawford of Austin; daughter Amy Crawford; granddaughter Julie Gayle Joss of Corsicana; grandson U.S. Army Corporal John W. Joss III and his wife, Carina, and great-granddaughter Aurelia, of Ft. Mitchell, Alabama; and daughter Eve White and her husband Chip, and grandson Crawford White of Charlotte, NC. Gayle also leaves her sister Kay Polk and step-brother Len Layne and his wife Dorothy, and their children, Adrienne Polk Colwill, husband David and children Grace and Adam; John Polk and wife, Emily and children Hadley and Emma; Eric Layne, and wife Laurie and children Patrick and Katharine; and Michael Layne.
Services will be held at First United Methodist Church on Tuesday, August 2 at 2 p.m. arranged by Corley Funeral Service. Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, or charity of choice.