As a family, the children of Debi Crouch Campsey – Carol, Mary, Charles, and William – gathered together and wrote a tribute to their mom.
Deborah Kay Crouch was born May 23, 1963 to Carol and Charles Crouch. Her mother says she was a beautiful baby that walked and talked early. She was the oldest of five children. As big sister, she made sure to keep the younger children in line by doing things like tying them to trees in the back yard or dropping a frog down the back of a swim suit.
One favorite story was in high school when my grandma, Mimi, dragged all the kids to go shopping for clothes for Mom. After some time, Kevin and Mark decided that they had had enough and began to complain and ask to leave. In true Mom fashion, she decided she HAD to visit every shop she came across. She even made them visit the maternity store just to aggravate them. She always was the ringleader when it came to pranks and made sure to include all of her siblings in the shenanigans. In high school, some of Mom’s favorite activities were hanging out with Shirley Baker and getting into some “fun” with Clarice Wood.
Around that time, she met a very special boy by the name of Billy Campsey. They grew close and realized they had a lot in common, including that they shared a birthday, May 23, but Dad was two years older. During the early days of dating, Mom and Christi Lessing loved to prank-call at Dad’s house. If Nana would answer, the girls would stay silent. Nana would eventually yell for Dad to “get up, those girls are on the phone again.” They continued dating and she quickly fell head-over-heels in love.
After high school graduation in 1981, Mom attended A&M for one semester before deciding she was too far from the love of her life and quickly moved back home and continued her college education at UTSA. Dad proposed, and they married on July 23, 1983. And from what I’m told, the entire town of Devine shut down for the occasion. Mom continued attending UTSA and graduated with her Bachelors of Arts in Education. Following graduation, she took a position as a music teacher in Devine. This is where she discovered her passion for teaching.
In May of 1986, I [Carol] was born. A few weeks after my birth, my mom’s father passed away. It was incredibly heartbreaking for my Mom. She was very close to her father. She had spent many hours working with him at the vet clinic. Some of her favorite memories were helping her Dad treat animals and helping with minor procedures. While the loss her father was devastating, she made sure to check on all of those around her. She tried her best to continuously check on her brothers, sisters and her mom.
My Mom loved each of her siblings so much. I remember watching Mom interact with them and thinking how lucky I would be if my siblings and I would be best friends like my Mom was with hers. She would help them in any way she could. I hope you all know how truly special you were to her.
During the next several years, Mom completed her Masters of Arts in Music while raising a little one, working as a teacher, and putting up with Dad and his mischief. In October of 1990, Mary was born. Mary was such a Mama’s girl. She had to be with Mom at every moment. And then in June of 1993, twin boys were born. Charles was Mom’s cuddler, and William was her mischievous sidekick who shared her love of animals. William and Charles were the perfect completion to our family of six.
While raising the four of us kids, Mom continued to pour her heart and soul into teaching. My Mom had a love for music and a passion to bring it into others lives. I cannot begin to count the number of people’s lives she touched with her 30-minute-a-week music class. I have had grown men come up to me and sing, “Bubblegum (snap, snap).” Hand movements and all. She loved each of her students tremendously, so much so that when her students graduated high school, she would present them with a dictionary/thesaurus to use as they headed off to college. Teaching was one of the greatest highlights of her life.
And as if she didn’t have enough to keep up with, Mom signed up to volunteer for almost any activity imaginable. She took great joy in coaching my brothers in almost every youth sport. And she also took great joy in rubbing it in my Dad’s face that she had a better winning record than he did as a coach.
Mom had a huge heart and was very humble. She always helped so many people and never took credit for it. It was just second nature for her to see a need and help. Mom always bought extra school supplies for any child that needed it. She bought shoes for one student who needed them and uniforms for others. She drove people to doctor’s appointments, cooked meals, and delivered them to those in need. If she knew you needed something, you were going to have it. These are just a FEW of the things we noticed. We know she did so much more that we will never know about.
I know many people may think otherwise, but we KNOW we kids had the best mama in the world. She had no faults, or at least she hid them well. With her busy schedule, she still made sure each of us kids had one-on-one time with her. She cooked amazing meals, kept our house clean, coached and kept up with all our extra-curricular activities. We had movie nights and umpteen trips to SeaWorld, and we fished and so many more activities. Summers were spent playing outside and countless hours swimming in Mimi’s pool. Mom was there every step of the way, laughing and having fun with us all.
As many of you know, we grew up across the street from my grandma. One of Mom’s favorite activities was to turn the sprinklers on in the front yard and let us kids run around naked while Mimi was hosting her Club meetings. I’m sorry, Mimi, but when she saw you were having a meeting, she would say, “Do y’all want to play in the sprinklers?” with a giggle in her voice.
Mom was fun, so much fun, but she was also a disciplinarian. We kids couldn’t get away with anything, especially because of the belt she wore around her neck every day. It may have been tough love, but it was wonderful. She was strict, but in the right kind of ways. All that tough love helped to shape us into who we are today. Looking back, we realize we had it all. We could feel her love radiating from her. And the great part is, I know everyone around her felt it, too. She had this incredible knack for making everyone feel included and loved.
Our house was never empty. We always had friends or cousins over. Every Sunday, our Nana, Papa, Mimi, Aunt Susie and her family would come to our house for dinner. In Mom’s eyes, it was always “the more the merrier.” And let me tell you, she loved every minute of it. Well, maybe not the time that Bobby and I tied her good towels around our necks superman-style and jumped hay bales in the field. Boy, were we in trouble, and you better believe Mom told Aunt Susie on their nightly call that night.
We hosted every Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house. Christmas was her all-time favorite holiday. Our entire house was covered in red and green. Mom would bake about 40 different types of cookies and distribute them to everyone and anyone. Mom and Dad would have Christmas battles when it came to decorating to see who the better decorator was. Mom would take the inside and Dad would take the out. It was so competitive. Once Dad caught Mom red-handed unscrewing one of the bulbs on Dad’s outdoor display.
On May 17, 2003 our world shattered. Mom had a brain aneurysm rupture. The time following that was incredibly difficult for Mom and for all of us. The aneurysm left Mom changed. But, while we lost a part of Mom after the aneurysm, we still had so much of her left – her witty jokes, awesome comebacks, her funny faces, her hugs, her kisses, her love. Most of our time together was spent laughing until we cried. With Mom it was never a dull moment.
Over the past 15 years, we had some downs, but we had so many more ups. We know we are truly blessed to have had these years with her. She was able to witness games, graduations, weddings. She got to be the Best Nana to her three grandbabies, spent precious years with her Mom, and experienced 15 more Christmases. These 15 years have brought so much joy to all of our lives and we are forever grateful to have had that time with her.
My family and I would like to thank everyone for all your love for this special person. We would also like to give a heartfelt thank you to everyone that supported our family through the difficult times. Your love and support did not go unnoticed. Our family will be forever grateful.