James "Jim" Crenshaw '65 June 5, 2020 9:46 AM updated: June 5, 2020 9:52 AM
My husband, James Ronald Crenshaw, age 76, of Bryan, has had many adventures in this life, but none bigger than the one he embarked upon on May 13, 2020, with one last kiss from me.
He shared a loving relationship with and is survived by me, his wife, Janelle; his daughter, Angelique Marie, her son, Ronnie and his wife Megan, and great-granddaughter Kiera Grace, and Angie’s son Matthew; his sister, Ann and her husband Bob, nephew Jason and wife Rachel, and niece Lindsay and husband T. J., and all of their beautiful children; sister-in-law Patsy and her children; sister- and brother-in-law Sharla and John, their daughter and grandson; brother-in-law Lloyd and dear friend Eileen.
He is also survived by two other great-grandchildren and six additional grandchildren and lots of cousins.
I hardly know how to begin to tell Jim’s life story because it’s too amazing for anyone to think it is anything more than just fantasy. He is the ultimate Renaissance Man, striving to try all the things that he ran across and found interesting. He was an omnivorous reader even before he started school. And when I say omnivorous, I mean he read everything he could get his hands on, including the entire dictionary and even technical books that were in his father’s library. And everything stuck to that beautiful brain. He was my own personal Google. Our morning talks ranged from politics to spirituality and everything in between. I could listen to him for hours.
He graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School, Bryan, TX, in 1961, where he was known by his nickname Ronnie. After high school, he enrolled at Texas A&M. He was a very special Aggie, Class of ’65, a proud member of the Corps of Cadets Fish Drill Team. But he never got to graduate from Texas A&M. He always regretted not being able to wear the ring. He was so proud of all the traditions and patiently taught me all of them. Being in the Corps, of course, he knew all the campusology and could pretty much repeat all the answers that were required when he whipped out to upperclassmen back in the day. He always told me he had a lot of incentive to give the correct answers.
Among other career pursuits, he was a law enforcement officer in many different roles for the City of Bryan,TX, and for the State of Texas and the federal government. He was an entrepreneur, owning and managing a gourmet kitchen store in New Hampshire. He was a researcher of old records and started a business called Ghostwriter in order to computerize all the old deed records for several towns in New England, where we lived at the time, painstakingly entering every word of the handwritten deeds and other documents into the computer so that the originals were kept safe from overuse by the public. He was the head of security for a gambling casino in Mississippi and later the manager of two hotels for that casino and then in charge of the casino’s video surveillance cameras. He was such a good manager that even a lady who cleaned rooms in the hotel and several other employees who worked under his direction wrote him beautiful letters when we moved home to Texas. When he retired, he was writing regulations for the Texas legislature and conducting and overseeing investigations for the Texas Education Agency Driver’s Education division, making sure that the private driver’s ed schools abided by the guidelines and provided a safe place for those learning to drive.
After he retired, we did what lots of good Aggies do. We retired in Aggieland. He always told me that one of his fears upon retiring was that he might get bored because he had basically been working since he was nine years old. We laughed about that notion often because the adventures we have shared since that time could fill a book and to an extent have. We kept our friends and relatives up to date on all our trips with diaries and pictures. We have taken our pickup truck and trains and busses to experience this great country from coast to coast and border to border and beyond to Canada and Mexico. Jim had traveled to many other countries in his career, and before this evil virus descended upon the world, he planned to take me to some of those countries.
He particularly loved Mexico and the Mexican people and culture, and he spoke beautiful Spanish, often being asked by native speakers what part of Mexico he was from. He introduced me to the real Mexico, not the border. He could have written a book about his philosophy of Mexico and its people and culture. I wish he had. In the last months before he began this new journey, he was taking a college course in Spanish to refresh and put a fine point on his Spanish. He was asked by the Spanish professor to give a presentation, complete with some of his photographs, about the true nature of the Mexican culture. It was the last college classroom lecture for this class before the covid-19 virus shut down classroom teaching in favor of online.
Jim was an excellent cook, and he always put his own personal spin on dishes. Photography was another of his interests, in particular that of nature. He loved spending time outdoors, whether it was going for long walks or dropping a hook in the water. He learned to weave by watching me at the loom from across the room. He became a very creative weaver, using his own original designs to make beautiful handwoven garments and table linens and sharing them with loved ones. He also taught himself to paint, a natural talent.
I told him often that if I only had one casual lunch date with him when we first met, it would have been more than I could have ever dreamed possible with such a special man. Instead I had the privilege and joy of spending 39 years one month and two days as his wife. I am so lucky.
He was an elegant and charming man who walked gracefully through his life, even when he was fighting the bad guys and, worse, a horrible disease.
He was truly a Renaissance Man, and he is my soulmate.
Hasta más tarde, mi amor.
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