Dr. Lee Beth Crigler
Our dear Lee’s journey came to an end suddenly on the morning of Sunday July the 23rd. The departure of this kind, loving and compassionate friend and companion has left us with a void that seems incomprehensible to fill.
Lee was born as Lillie Beth Criss on March 15, 1944 in Ardmore Oklahoma where her dad was stationed, prior to serving his country flying B-29s in the Pacific during the Second World War. She was the first born of Bill and Kae Anne Criss. Her early years were filled with adventures around the globe as her dad continued his military career.
She began to find her direction while at Langley AFB in Hampton, Virginia during her teenage years. First as a no nonsense lifeguard ( not in my pool you don’t! ) but more significantly as a Candy Striper at the local hospital. There she found her passion in life - nursing. It suited her compassionate and caring nature ( and maybe a little bit of that lifeguard thing) to a tee; and she never looked back. First at Longwood, and then at The University of Virginia, she completed her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Her dearest and closest relationships began there and were nurtured during those years; she held those blessings and friendships close to her heart for a lifetime.
Then came Ronny. They met on a blind date in 1964 and somehow survived raucous fraternity parties and the thunderous sixties while simultaneously pursuing an education. All this led to their marriage on April 6, 1968 in DC during the weekend of riots following the death of Martin Luther King. The next two years were spent in Fort Hood Texas as Ronny completed his military service. It was there that Lee spent probably the most impactful chapter of her nursing career. For those two years she worked at the base hospital caring for soldiers returning from the battle fields of Viet Nam helping each and every one deal with their physical and mental injuries. That experience touched her deeply. Those young men continued to live in her heart until her death and, I am convinced, beyond.
Settling in Madison in the mid-seventies, Lee continued to build on her nursing skills achieving several additional degrees (BSN, MSN, PhD) focusing on mental health. Her legacy of caring for those in need of her help is the testimony to the wonderful person and friend she was to so many. Her love, empathy and humor will be missed by her family and friends near and far.
Lee, we are deeply saddened by the loss of you in our lives but we are forever blessed for having you as a part of ours. A final thank you, I love you, I miss you and see you soon.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Madison in September 2023.