Sat. Oct. 21, 2017
10:00 am - 11:30 pm
Central Baptist Church
2855 Greenhouse Road
Houston , TX 77084.
Sat. Oct. 21, 2017
11:30 am
Central Baptist Church
2855 Greenhouse Road
Houston , TX 77084.
Sat. Oct. 21, 2017
2:30 pm
Evergreen Memorial Park
3511 East Alabama Road
Wharton , TX 77488.
In Memory of
Christine Crouch Franks
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Christine Virginia Franks passed into the presence of Jesus Oct. 14, 2017. She was born Dec. 26, 1924 at the Crouch homeplace in Chireno. The fifth of six children to parents Claude Nero Crouch and Sarah Catherine Williams Crouch, she was known as “Chris” to friends and family.

Christine was a direct descendant of the founders of Texas. Her ancestors, David Mouser and Isaac Best, came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin in the “Old 300.” She is a true granddaughter of the Republic of Texas, her grandfather Albert Gallitan Crouch was six when the Alamo fell in 1836, he ran the Crouch/Curl Plantation and served Texas as a CSA soldier. Her great-great-grandfather was Jacob Garrett, from San Augustine and Nacogdoches counties, an Alcolde and delegate to the Conventions of 1832 and 1833 in Texas history. Garrett was author of the last peace proposal to Mexico City and Santa Anna to the General Council of 1835.

As a child, it was recognized she could not see well and was legally blind. Her impaired vision of 20/200 did not slow her down, becoming an avid reader always wanting to learn, graduating valedictorian of her 1943 class at Chireno High School. She went on to attend Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches graduating in 1947 with a degree in education. While at SFA, she was active on campus, in church and the Baptist Student Union where she sang in the choir. She never drove a car in her life, but never let her eyesight be an impairment from going, doing and living life, always ready to go and travel, having taken the bus as a single woman in the 1940s-50s across Texas.

She grew up on the family farm, which overlooked the historic Old Spanish/Kings Highway. Their house sat at the highest elevation in Nacogdoches County known as Crouch Hill. Along with her brother and three sisters, they worked in the fields, picking cotton and various tasks that life on a farm brings. One of her specific duties was to churn the butter. The family sold butter, canned goods, tomatoes and other vegetables they grew to the community in Chireno and Nacogdoches County. Her father, Claude, being 52 when she was born, still did things as if in the 1800s. Their house had no running water nor electricity, she read by oil lamp light and her father still plowed with a mule. She told stories of using her grandfather’s Civil War sword in the farm fields. They did not have electricity until older brother Neulon came home from WWII and wired the house.

Her father, also a carpenter by trade having built the old Bethel School House, and was on the local school board, built the new family home with his two hands. It was an inviting place where numerous family members and visiting preachers would stay. Her mother, Catherine, took in several of her younger Williams family brothers and sisters at various times. Someone was always staying or living with them in a massive hallway of that dog trot built home. Their home was full of love and happy memories. Sadly, subsequent owners of the grand old Crouch home allowed it to fall into disrepair, and was torn down in recent years. Thankfully, pieces of the home were used to restore the historic Stagecoach Inn in Chireno.

Both of her great, great uncles historical homes, the Milton Garrett and William Garrett House still stands on the Old Spanish road in San Augustine Co.

After college graduation, she moved to Austin to teach at the Texas State School for the Blind, while continuing her own post graduate education taking classes at the University of Texas. There, she taught the blind how to read and write in braille. She made close lifetime friends from her college and early teaching years in Austin. For a brief period, she lived in Lubbock to be the personal teacher of a wealthy doctor’s blind daughter. Christine accepted a job in Wharton, teaching at Abel Street school through out the 1950s in Wharton County, which is where she would live out the next 55 plus years of her life. In the summers she went back to Lufkin to live with her parents in the home her and her sister, Maurine Crouch McKinney, bought for their parents on Atkinson Dr. after their elderly father could no longer farm and sold the Crouch homeplace. While in Wharton, she lived with Mrs Webber and at the Vineyard Apartments along with her room mate Rose Marie Dominy (Mrs Lloyd Rust.)

A mutual friend, Bobbi King of Iago, set her and her soon-to-be-husband Fred Wise Franks, a jeweler who worked at Boyds Jewelry store on the downtown square in Wharton, on their first date. Both in their late 20s to early 30s and never married, dated for four years. She would joke that it took Fred long enough for the two to finally get married in June of 1958. They were married in her parents home in Lufkin. Her older brother, Neulon Crouch, gave her away, as their father Claude had just passed away on Christmas Day 1957.

They started their married life living in Houston, owning Fred Franks Jewelers on main street. She also taught school in HISD at Barrick, Poe and Mac Gregor Elementary schools, teaching the blind children. Their first year of marriage daughter Carol Annette was born. In the 60s, they left Houston for Newgulf where Fred began work at the Texas Gulf Sulphur mines where his father, grandfather and uncles had worked. Son, Fred Steven, was born and six years later at the age of 43 her youngest, Michael Andrew was born. After leaving Houston, Christine did not return to teaching, staying home to raise her three children.

Her husband Fred died at age 58 in 1983 leaving her a widow. With older children, Carol married and away from home, and Steven serving in the U.S. Marine Corp, 15-year-old son Michael got a hardship license to drive her around. After her youngest went off to college, Christine left Newgulf and moved to Wharton in December 1986, just down the street from where she first lived and taught school 30 years prior.

She was a devoted wife and loving mother, who lived a clean simple Godly life and was a Christian example. Her sweet kind disposition and happy spirit was known by all who knew her. She saw all three of her children saved and baptized in Newgulf Baptist Church. She would read her large print Bible every week, with her magnifying glass if she had to. She loved family and always wanted to be with and stay in touch with her family. In her last years, while other memories started to fade, Christine had the songs of God in her heart and would sing complete hymns of her faith from memory, a moving testimony to all who saw.

In later years, with age and health failing, her youngest Michael, giving up much became her champion and hero dedicating years of his life to see to her proper care and well being. Special care was also given by her daughter-in-law Stacy Franks, who went above and beyond.

Christine was preceded in death by both parents; her husband, Fred Wise Franks; brother, Neulon Crouch; sisters, Maurine Crouch McKinney and M.L Crouch Eagan; brother, Erron T. Crouch, who died in infancy; grandson, Aaron Barrett Thompson and seven grandchildren, who were not allowed to be born in this life, but she is seeing and embracing for the first time in Heaven.

She is survived by her daughter, Carol and husband Jim Thompson of Wharton; son, Fred Steven Franks and wife Marie of Lompoc, Calif., son Michael Franks and wife Stacy of Katy and a sister, Essie Faye Crouch Jackson of Valrico, Fla. Also, grandchildren, Mary Ann Franks Eubanks of California and Joni and Kelly Thompson of Texas; step-grandson, Morgan Cook of Kansas, who also helped care and look after her, and a great-granddaughter, Claudia Eubanks of California, and seven nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 at Central Baptist Church. (2855 Greenhouse Rd in Katy, Texas). Services will start at 11:30 a.m. A graveside will be held at 2:30 p.m. at Evergreen Memorial Park in Wharton, Texas.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Beresford Funeral Service, Houston,Texas.

 

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