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Elreeta Weathers

Thursday, October 1, 2020
Elreeta Weathers

Elreeta Ann Crain Weathers passed away Sept. 26, 2020.

Visitation will be 1:30 to 3 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m.

Mrs. Weathers was born Dec. 12, 1935, in Hamilton to Verne and Elise (Ferguson) Crain. She grew up on the family farm in the Blue Ridge Community.

Elreeta started first grade at the Blue Ridge School at the age of 5. She was very shy and did not want to go to school because she could not read. She soon learned to read and excelled in school. She graduated from Hamilton High School in 1953. She attended Mary Hardin-Baylor College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with a triple major in Bible, English and Sociology in 1957.

After college Elreeta served as youth minister at First Baptist, Big Spring. In Big Spring, Elreeta met a local radio DJ, Ray Weathers. Elreeta and Ray were married May 31, 1959, at First Baptist Church, Big Spring.

After they married, Ray and Elreeta moved to Abilene where he continued his education at Hardin-Simmons University. Elreeta began her teaching career in the Abilene area.

After Ray graduated from Hardin-Simmons they moved to Fort Worth where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Their daughter D’Ann was born during that time. D’Ann was a preemie. As an educator, Elreeta became concerned that her daughter might have potential learning problems and wanted to be prepared to meet any educational needs she might have. Elreeta became interested in the new field of Special Education. She earned a Master of Education from Texas Christian University. She did post-graduate studies at the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University. D’Ann was tested for learning disabilities and the experts said she would probably never learn to read.

The “experts” underestimated Elreeta’s determination that her daughter would have the best education possible. Every night when D’Ann was in prekindergarten through second grade, they would practice reading with much determination and tears. By the third grade, D’Ann was an avid reader.

The experience of teaching her severely dysgraphic and dyslexic daughter to read and write greatly shaped Elreeta’s approach to teaching reluctant readers. She often said that reading was caught not taught, and children learned to read by reading.

Elreeta taught in the Aledo and Northwest School Districts. While at Northwest, the superintendent saw potential in Elreeta as a school administrator. In the late 1960s she developed a pilot reading program that would evolve into the special education program.

In the mid-1970s Ray and Elreeta returned to her hometown of Hamilton, where he took over her parents’ business, Crain’s Shoe Repair. Elreeta began working for the Lampasas ISD as a diagnostician. She would later become the Director of Special Education for LISD.

After her retirement in the mid-1990s, Elreeta became involved in genealogy research and documenting the history of Hamilton Baptist Association. She enjoyed sharing her research on her Hamilton County Gazetteer website. In 2000, Elreeta would return to teaching for several years at Harvest Christian School in Fort Worth.

In 2016, Elreeta moved to Lampasas with her daughter D’Ann and son-in-law Nathan. Elreeta enjoyed attending worship at Central Christian Church where her son-in-law pastors.

Elreeta was a gifted pianist. She began playing piano at a young age and perfected her skills by playing through the hymnal each week. As a teen she began playing piano for her church Blue Ridge Baptist Church. Elreeta would continue to use her musical gifts to serve God. She often played the piano or organ in the churches where Ray served as a minister of music.

Elreeta was an amazing seamstress. She enjoyed knitting, crocheting and tatting gifts for family and friends.

Elreeta and Ray enjoyed hosting gatherings for family and friends which featured Elreeta’s cooking.

Elreeta is preceded in death by her parents Verne and Elsie Crain, her beloved husband Ray, her in-laws Richard O. and Martha Weathers, brother-in-law Jim Weathers and sister- and brother-in-law Virginia and Early Cowley Jr.

Survivors include her daughter D’Ann and husband Nathan Herrod, Lampasas; niece Beverly Campbell, St. Louis, Missouri; nephews Gerry Cowley and wife Pam, Plains, and Bobby and wife Elaine, Luling; grand-nieces Shannon Cracker of Colorado, Michelle Campbell, St. Louis, Meghan Howeth and husband Justin, Houston; grand-nephew Ian Cowley and wife Brit, Austin; “borrowed” daughter Janet Petersen and husband David, Benbrook; “borrowed” son Jarred Parnell and wife Sarah, Austin; “borrowed” grandchildren Heather Sloan and Eric Petersen, Benbrook; several great-nieces and -nephews; numerous cousins; former students and special friends.