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Columbia Missourian

Marie Magdalene Crenshaw loved travel, tea and MU

By Alexis Hitt
December 11, 2012 | 8:27 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Marie Magdalene Crenshaw of Columbia loved MU, gardening, travel and high tea.


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"My mom was a big tea at 4 person," her son, Thomas Crenshaw , said. "You know how the British do? It was one of her things."

Mrs. Crenshaw liked inviting people for tea, too.

Thomas Crenshaw remembers that his mother, who was a nurse at University Hospital and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, befriended the dean of MU's School of Nursing. She invited the dean over for tea more than once.

Mrs. Crenshaw died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. She was 95.

She was born Nov. 20, 1917, in Cooper County to George Victor and Dorothea Elizabeth Hoflander Geiger.

As a 1944 graduate from MU's School of Nursing, Mrs. Crenshaw had maintained her school spirit. The same dean she used to invite to tea once invited her to view a basketball game from a luxury suite.

"My mom thought that was the neatest thing," Thomas Crenshaw said. "She talked about that for a long time." 

That wasn't Mrs. Crenshaw's only basketball game. She and her husband, Wesley Wyatte Crenshaw, had season tickets to MU football and basketball games for more than 40 years. 

"Just about anything the university offered, they were a part of it," Thomas Crenshaw said. "They bought their Christmas tree from the forestry department, and they even bought their turkey from the poultry department. Oh my gosh, if you look up Mizzou in the dictionary, you would see their picture right in there."

But Mrs. Crenshaw knew places distant from the university. She and her family lived in India from 1966 to 1968.

"She enjoyed all that India stuff," Thomas Crenshaw said. "We did a safari and just traveled all around India for over two years."

Mrs. Crenshaw's love of travel never left, Thomas Crenshaw said. The vacations she she went on with Thomas Crenshaw and his family to San Francisco, and to Jupiter, Fla., to watch the Cardinals' spring training were among the most memorable.

"She was always a person that was ready to go," Thomas Crenshaw said. "She never liked to sit around."

Mrs. Crenshaw was a member of the Columbia Garden Club and president of the club from 1988 to 1989. She was also a member of Fortnightly Club, which brings together spouses of MU faculty, and was involved in church. 

"I think dedicated would be a good word to describe her," said Lynn Berkley, a member of the garden club. "She was always willing to take on what was asked of her."

"She always made you feel very welcome," said Carolyn Doyle, current president of the garden club. "She was always sweet and never a quarrelsome person; she got along with everybody."

"She was energetic all the time," Thomas Crenshaw said. "She was full of life and just maybe one of the sweetest people you had ever met in your life. She would reach out to people. She was very, very family orientated. She loved to have family social gatherings. She was a people person."

Mrs. Crenshaw is survived by her son, Thomas Crenshaw, and his wife, Patricia, and her grandchildren, Jeffrey and Andrew.

Her husband, Wesley Wyatte Crenshaw, and three brothers died earlier. 

Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Columbia United Church of Christ, 3201 Interstate 70 Drive NW. Services, conducted by the Rev. Steven E. Swope, will follow at 11 a.m. at the church. Burial will be in St. John's United Church of Christ Cemetery in Billingsville.

Memorial contributions can be given to Columbia United Church of Christ or the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, Office of Development, S-249 School of Nursing, Columbia, MO 65211 (contact: Stephanie Webster).

Condolences may be posted at

Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.