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Noralee's Story

By Mary E. Adair

Noralee Edith (Carroll)Crowson was the second child of John (Jack) Edward Carroll and his wife Lena May (second legal name of Carolyn Ethel Joslin, a whole other tale) among three sisters. A natural blond with curls and the golden complexion to match--she resembled her mother's sister Linnie Jane in stature and cheerful personality.


She was a good student, a great Frenchhorn-playing MHS band member, who was one of the Jr High Band majorettes. During the end of summer before she was to be a freshman, she declined that position because when she began practicing her twirling, she was having difficulty with the baton. We didn't know it then but this was her beginning symptoms of Myatonia Dystrophy, a Muscular Dystrophy variance that starts by affecting one's digits.


She was popular and preferred chumming with her group of friends rather than dating until as a Junior she met her only husband-to-be, Johnny Robert Crowson, and wed him on August 16, 1953, before she was 17 in December. They had a son Johnny Edward born July 13, 1956, who died just 3 days shy of being four months old. Next year on December 30, they had Carroll Anne, an exceptionally bright and caring child who had internal birth defects and died March 30, 1963, in the Houston Children's Hospital during her third surgery to attempt to correct the kidney problems. The photo below is of Carroll Anne and my first husband Ray (Curly) Dwayne Nicholson.


Carroll Anne on Sweetheart, Curly's mare.


They had two more sons David Lee who was two when they lost Carroll Anne, and William Earl born August 17, 1964. Both boys inherited their mother's MD, and David passed after her death from complications of it on June 24, 2014.


Already a compassionate person, Noralee, partly through the loss of her children, the estrangement of her marriage, and her deteriorating health, was determined to find a way to help others. Therefore she continued her education, graduating from Dallas College. Although when she enrolled, she was already requiring a cane to walk, when her diploma was awarded she was wheelchair bound. However, she was able with the assistance of her brother-in-law Amos to walk across the stage to receive the Diploma to a standing ovation from all present, staff, and other grads.


She was used to work, having begun as a switchboard operator in Monahans shortly after her marriage, and several years later was also the switchboard operator at the then largest Dallas Hospital. So she wasn't going to let the wheelchair (she referred to herself as a "wheelie") keep her from using her degree to accomplish her goal of helping others. She became a volunteer at the Dallas County Library teaching the necessary requirements to become a USA citizen, including teaching the English language and sometimes using ASL to accomplish the task. Before being a "wheelie" while walking down one of the college halls using her cane, a mean-spirited person deliberately kicked her cane away from her. This led to both her sister Jacquie and herself taking self-defense lessons for disabled persons. She would advise others to take the course if they too used mobility aids.


She also did relationship counseling, continuing it even after she was confined to her hospital bed, and those requiring her advice came to her home. In fact, when she passed, the female Police Officer that answered the ER call along with an ambulance was one who had conferred with her and she remained consoling her sons and our mother who lived one street over with our sister Jacquie who was at work in Fort Worth when Nee passed. Because in the Dallas area, including Haltom City where she lived required unattended deaths to be attended and confirmed before being transported anywhere, the officer waited with the family some six hours before a Justice of Peace arrived. This was not required of her but done out of love and respect for Noralee. That is how she affected everyone she was around.


The first day of March is her Angel-versary, and this has been written through my love and grieving for her. We were so close in age that she always wanted to be "the oldest" and when she grew taller than me, she began calling herself my "big" sister. When we got home from a ballgame once, I fussed at her for telling a falsehood at which she declared "I didn't lie! I am taller and that is bigger!"


I miss you, Nee.


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