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Jean Alice Crafton of St. James, Missouri passed away Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at Silverstone in Rolla, Missouri. She was 88 years of age.
Jean, the daughter of the late Charles Smallwood, Sr., and Alice (Burton) Smallwood, was born January 6, 1935 in St. James, Missouri. She was united in marriage to Jack Crafton on August 18, 1956 in Rosati, Missouri.
She is survived by her daughters, Jennifer Thompson and husband, Shawn of Jefferson City, Missouri and Janet Creek and husband, Jerry of Salem, Missouri; sister-in-law, Marilyn Schwartze and husband, Norbert of St. James, Missouri; and grandchildren: Sydney, Shawn Michael, Hannah, Tripp, Katie, Jacob and Danton.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Jack who passed away March 19, 2019; her son, Michael Crafton who passed away November 5, 1994; her parents, Charles and Alice; and brothers, Richard “Dick” Smallwood and Charles Terrell Smallwood.
Jean was devoted to her family and to her community of St. James. She attended three different colleges while working on her teaching degree. She attended Webster College in Webster Groves, Missouri when it was an all-girls Catholic college. She was dedicated to becoming a teacher. Sometimes, earning a degree in education during the 1950s would require attending several different institutions to ensure that you had the necessary coursework for certification. One of those institutions was Mizzou. However, during that time there were no direct train routes to Columbia, Missouri. Nonetheless, being one to achieve the goals that she set for herself, she traveled by train to St. Louis first and then caught a second train to Columbia. She did finish her coursework at Mizzou as well as coursework at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri. Upon graduating from Webster College in 1958, she began teaching in the country schools around Rolla. In 1960, she started teaching for St. James Schools where she continued teaching until 1966 when she and Jack started a family. She stayed home with her children for 9 years. After her youngest was in school, she returned to teaching where she taught 6th grade for the St. James R-1 schools until 1996. In 1996, she retired from the education field with 30 years of teaching experience. Jean was an active member of the Missouri State Teachers Association; she was often instrumental in explaining the political trends in education.
When her children were small, she felt it very important to be in the home during their early developmental years. She loved the many opportunities that growing up on a farm offered her children. She orchestrated many opportunities for her children to learn through play and to visit places that would add to their world of knowledge and interests. She fostered a love for family by hosting many family gatherings at their farm, especially with cousins. As her children grew older, she wholeheartedly supported their interests whether in the athletic world or the arts world. She never missed one of her children’s sporting events, and she faithfully followed Michael’s pursuits in music. Visiting the Fox Theatre was a highlight of her year.
She was active in her community as she supported many different local organizations. She received two awards from the City of St. James: the Citizen of the Year in 2002 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She was a member of Gardeners of the Forest City and Beautify St. James for many years. She loved flowers, and her yard had many beautiful flower gardens adding to the beauty of her colonial-style home. Jean had a wealth of knowledge about antiques; she and her husband, Jack, owned St. James Hotel and Antiques. She enjoyed going to the neighboring auctions and purchasing antiques for her home and store. Jean was a member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, and she was a member of the church council for the St. James and Rosati churches.
A Memorial Mass will be 10:00 AM Friday, November 10, 2023 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in St. James, Missouri with Father Dolan officiating. Burial of the ashes will be in the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Cemetery in St. James, Missouri.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donation be made to the Jean Crafton Scholarship. Donations may be made at Phelps County Bank or mailed to Phelps County Bank, C/O Jean Crafton Scholarship, 220 N. Jefferson St., St. James, Missouri, 65559. As well, donations may also be made to the Jean Crafton Scholarship Fund on Venmo website.
Arrangements are under the direction of Jones Funeral Home in St. James, Missouri.
Jean Crafton Scholarship Fund C/O Phelps County Bank
220 N Jefferson, St. James MO 65559