WESTVILLE, Okla. — Wanza Lou McCrary was born Dec 11, 1931, in Morton, Texas, to James Olin and Pearl Dimple (Herndon) Willis, the eldest of three girls. She talked about growing up in the 1930s, about how hard times were, about nailing wet sheets to the windows during dust storms and the families dream of green pastures — then they moved here.
With hard work, the family thrived and made Westville home.
Wanza, her mother and her sister, Gwenda all accepted Christ as their personal savior at Baron Baptist Church during a Missionary led Revival and were baptized in Baron Creek. Wanza was Salutatorian of the graduation class of 1949. It was in Westville High School that she met the love of her life, O.C. McCrary. Westville’s football Coach Bowles and his wife, Faynell were looking for nice girls for his football boys to date. Wanza was the girl they picked for the shy farm boy. O.C McCrary and Wanza eventually married on October 16, 1951.
Wanza finished college while O.C. was stationed overseas with the Navy. The loss of their first baby and their separation was difficult but strengthened their commitment to each other. They celebrated 62 years together last fall.
After O.C.’s tour of duty, he started trade school in Okmulgee, Okla. Halliburton hired him immediately out of school and transferred them to Kansas. Wanza adjusted to the dirt and blowing dust with flashbacks of her childhood and made Kansas her new home. They found a church that made them feel welcome and soon found that God had not only gifted Wanza with a great love for children but also a great talent for teaching them. Thus began her career in the churches everywhere they transferred. First to McPherson then to Great Bend. She loved the children everywhere she went and the parents loved her because of her great love for their children. When O.C. retired from Halliburton they left many friends and a church family they loved to come back “home”. Before retiring from pre-school work Wanza once again found herself working with children in the First Baptist Church of Westville. As her role in church changed with age, those she taught are now teaching and her legacy of showing God’s love for children by loving then continues.
Wanza Lou McCrary was called to her heavenly home July 11.
Preceding her in death were her parents Olin and Dimple Willis; sister Gwenda Wright; infant daughter, Karen Jean; and daughter Lisa Marlene.
She is survived by her devoted husband O.C. McCrary; daughters, Denise (Ghazi) Jahay of Ellinwood, Cheryl (Kirk) Loren of Peck, and Jana Hammonds of Westville, Okla.; sons, Cliff (Carla) McCrary of Westville, Okla., Scott (Amy) McCrary of Rogers, Ark.; grandchildren, April (Tom) Harbaugh, Amnee (Jason) Brown, Aisha (T.J.) Rains, Jessica (Richard) Lorenc, Ashley Lorenc, McKenzie Hammonds, Joe Hall, Tracy (Shane)Duncan, Tara (Aaron)Noll, Hunter McCrary, Cheyenne McCrary, Ransom McCrary, Anderson McCrary, Chance McCrary, Ethan McCrary, Jacob McCrary, Mike Hammonds and wife Marla, Jennifer Hammonds, Scott Hammonds and Charles R Hammonds; great-grandchildren, Darian Harbaugh, Ashlyn Harbaugh, Cameron Harbaugh, Jordyn Harbaugh, Zaina Brown, Jonas Rains, Emaline Rains, Alison Rains, Gillian Lorenc, Sophia Lorenc, Lexi Hall, Brooklyn Duncan, Brayden Duncan, Brynlee Duncan, Madison Noll. Surviving also is her sister Joyce (Jim) Webb of Kingwood, Texas; brother-in-law Frank Wright of Westville, Okla.; nieces Courtney Webb, Christy (Randy) Cox, Frankie (Leonard) Gifford, nephew Shawn(Jeanann) Wright; and great nieces and nephews she loved like her own.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. on July 16, at the First Baptist Church in Westville, Okla with Brother Doug Davis officiating. Interment followed at Downing Cemetery in Baron, Okla. under the direction of Roberts & Hart Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations to Downing Cemetery and Ganderville Cemetery would be deeply appreciated.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Roberts and Hart Funeral Home**
404 S. Williams St.
Westville, OK, 74965
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, July 27, 2014