This week I was given a gift from my Aunt Oneta Noel, who died four years ago. This gift came to me by way of a tattered, yellowed newspaper article that was tucked away in an old letter that my mother had.
Mother said, "I have something that I was supposed to give you from Aunt Oneta." "She wanted you to have this. She wrote your name on it." "I found it today as I was going through some old letters." "I am sorry that I didn't give it to you before." "She must have wanted you to have it because she knew that you were interested in genealogy and family history."
I looked it over and read:
The Evening World, Bloomfield, Indiana
October 27, 1976, page 3, columns 1-6.
Charles Bernice Crites
Today would have been our Dad’s eighty-first birthday. “Bucky” Baker would have baked him a birthday cake and the group from the Owensburg Baptist Church would have helped him to celebrate, along with all the other residents of the Bloomfield Nursing Center, who have birthdays in the month of October. Each one of his four children and their families would have helped him to have a happy day as best we could, but God in His perfect omniscience changed our plans and on September 8, Dad suffered a heart attack and we took him from the Nursing Center to the Greene County Hospital where at about five in the afternoon of September 14, he went Home where time is not counted by years and no one ever grows old.
If it had been possible for Dad to have chosen to spent this eighty-first birthday with whomever he chose, he’d have selected to have spent it with his wife, who left this earth on January 12, 1975, for they had been married over fifty-six years and no matter how hard we tried we never could fill the loneliness he felt for our Mother.
Charles Bernice Crites, the oldest child of William Armstead Crites and Della Luiza Calvert Crites, was born in Greene County and except for the time her served as a soldier in World War I was never away from Greene County. He was a farmer and often left his fields to assist a neighbor in doctoring a sick animal for he had a real love for veterinary work, which he continued doing until he was no longer physically able to make his calls. This was the reason for his familiar title and for his being remembered by many as “Doc” Crites.
He had also served as Highland Township road superintendent, had worked at Crane Ammunition Depot, and was trustee of the Calvertville General Baptist Church where as a youth he was converted, baptized, and remained a member until his death.
Death separates us but it does not erase so many, many dear memories Bernice will be remembered as a good neighbor. He had a genuine love for people and especially for children. This rewarded him the last months of his life when so many, many neighbors and acquaintances stopped at Room 16 to greet him. The family thanks each one of you.
His sister, Lorene Noel, and brothers, Tilman and Harold, will ever remember their times growing up together, how he played the Big-Brother Role well; how he loved and cared for the teams.
We children will remember Dads a strict disciplinarian who taught us, and practiced before us, to: owe no man a cent, make your word your bond, and vote a straight ticket. Dad loved music and at different times sang in quartets. He often entertained his nieces, nephews and grandchildren by playing the fiddle and French harp. He had a special knack for writing poetry and for impersonating, and each one close to him had been given a nickname all his own. It is not our intent to imply that our Dad was perfect, for we know he wasn’t, but we would write an ode to him as a good dad and to remind all who read this to take advantage of the precious time you have your parents with you, for just two years ago, today, all our family met on Main Street to celebrate a birthday, not once realizing it would be our last family gathering.
Besides the four children, one sister and two brothers, Bernice is survived by his daughter-in-law, Wilda Crites, and his two sons-in-law, Don Sheets and Marion Noel; by eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by an infant son, Rex Reid; a brother, Russell; a grandson, Brad; and his wife, Ona Hunter Crites.
We want to thank all the Special People of the Nursing Center who made his life as easy as possible for the last twenty-one months. How we wish some of you could have known him as he was before his health failed him. A special note of gratitude goes out to dear Charley Thomas who was an understanding neighbor to the resident in Room 16 when he needed him so much; to Wayne Sparks who used patience beyond duty to comply with wishes that were sometimes impossible; to two Phyllises and to two Marys that were especially kind; to Myrtle and Anna who knew him before and understand with a different insight; and to Wanda Johnson, who actually shed tears as she assured him she’d take care of things for him. You are all a rare breed!
Thanks also to each one who sent flowers and cards. We appreciate everything; especially the Calvertville Missionary and the Union Valley Church for the food and coming and helping out.
Harwood, Oneta, Mable and Mary.