Clara Alma Lee Crawley of Southampton died August 19 at Southampton Hospital. She was 95.
Ms. Crawley was born April 7, 1918, to Daisy and Robert E. Lee. She grew up in the house her mother purchased in 1923 for $2,000, a time when Southampton was little more than potato fields. At the Miller Road house, she lived with her family and attended Southampton Elementary School with her brother, Thomas, known as “Boo,” and sister, Idella, known as “Ikey,” both of whom predeceased her. The schoolhouse she attended was located at what is now known as Lola Prentice Park. Her youth was spent cooking with her family, helping her mother clean houses and chasing chickens with her sister, survivors said.
It was while living at that house that she first saw her husband of 63 years, Collier Crawley. She saw him walking up the hill and quickly familiarized herself with his schedule. Her family often heard her tell the story: “I knew what time he got off work and I would make sure I was outside when he was walking by.”
In 1955 they married. Together they raised four children, five nephews, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and always had room for an “adopted” neighborhood child. The family remembers that it was never dull in the house, or quiet.
Ms. Crawley was a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and the eldest of the Lee family. She was a member of the Southampton Community Baptist Church, where she was also the pianist under Pastor Moses Dickerson for more than 20 years. She later joined the First Baptist Church, where Reverend Albert Brown, Pastor Frank Baker and Reverend John Williams were her pastors.
She was also known for calling her family and friends by just about any name but their given one.
Ms. Crawley is survived by her husband, Collier Crawley, four children, Sylvia Bynoe, William “Popcorn” Hite, Alberta Johnson and husband Julian, and Craig Crawley and wife Maria; a sister-in-law, Anna Bigham; 11 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
In addition to her siblings, she was predeceased by a son-in-law, Tony Bynoe.
The family received friends at the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton on August 23. A funeral service took place at the Shinnecock Presbyterian Church; the Reverend Michael Smith officiated. Interment followed at Shinnecock Cemetery.