Royda Crose, a psychologist, began in 1970s to fight for women's rights
COLUMBIA — Dr. Royda Crose lived a courageous and compassionate life that led her through a series of travels, from Sweden to Italy to Kenya to India to South Africa. Many of her trips were service-oriented. Others were trips with her grandchildren to Disney World, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Cancun.
Dr. Crose of Columbia died Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 in her home surrounded by family members. She was 72.
Dr. Crose was born July 31, 1939, in Moberly to Roy and Pearl (Swearngin) Crose. In 1957, she graduated from Central High School in Tulsa, Okla. She then embarked on a lifelong quest to expand her knowledge, which her son, Scott Brix, said transformed her from a "traditional American Dream housewife" to a pioneer in the women's movement of the 1970s. Dr. Crose worked to uplift women and was the director of the first abortion clinic in Dallas after the final decision of Roe vs. Wade in 1973.
She received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Tulsa, a master's degree in community health education from Texas Woman's University and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Texas A&M University. From 1988 to 2000, Dr. Crose was a professor and director of the gerontology programs at Ball State University in Indiana.
In 2000, Dr. Crose moved to Columbia to be closer to her family. She established a private practice as a psychologist and hypnotherapist and practiced HypnoBirthing.
She hosted a radio show on KOPN called "Women's Issues, Women's Voices" where she became recognized for her wellness tips. She volunteered with the Unity Center and Show Me Dharma, a nonprofit organization dedicated to community development based on Theravada Buddhist practices.
Dr. Crose practiced as a psychologist, hypnotherapist and wellness specialist. She published numerous articles and book chapters on the psychology of aging and gender differences, holistic health and lifespan wellness. In 1997, she published the book "Why Women Live Longer Than Men and What Men Can Learn from Them."
In February, Dr. Crose was diagnosed with cancer and sought medical assistance. The cancer went into remission, but after a couple of months later, it attacked her kidneys. After a few dialysis treatments, Dr. Crose decided to relinquish the treatments a draw upon her own wellness teachings.
"She valued the quality of her life more than the quantity," Brix said. "And dialysis was certainly compromising her quality of life."
Brix said Dr. Crose spent her last two weeks surrounded by family members, admiring the fall foliage, telling stories and taking family photos.
"It was beautiful that we had a few weeks to say goodbye," Brix said. "She was comforting us instead of the other way around. She was very curious and not afraid to see what's on the other side."
Brix said his mother identified with Buddhist beliefs about the afterlife. In preparation of her death, family members followed the Tibetan dying process based on the "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" by singing, chanting and providing comfort. After her death, her body was washed and left for three days to allow time for the soul's exit.
"She taught me to love," Brix said. "And she showed that when she was with her grandchildren. She loved being with them. She used to call it 'genetic joy.'"
Dr. Crose is survived by a son, Scott Brix, and his wife, Kim, of Marengo, Ill.; a daughter, Cynthia Brix, and her husband, Will Keepin, of Whidbey Island, Wash.; four grandchildren, Ryan Brix of Galena, Patrick Fischer of Columbus, Ohio, Holly Buell of Oregon, Wis., and Emylee Fischer of Columbus, Ohio.; and one sister, Ronda Begley of Moberly.
A memorial service will be held at Unity Center, 1600 West Broadway, at 4 p.m. on Dec. 10.
Instead of flowers, Dr. Crose requested tax deductible donations for Maher, a shelter in India that rehabilitates abused and impoverished women and children. Donations can be sent to Canara Bank, Deep Heights, Nagar Road, Ramwadi, Pune 411014, Maharashtra, India.
For more information about the project and Dr. Crose's life work, please visit her memorial page at http://www.sofkin.org/roydacrose.asp.