Maurine Crist Francis passed away on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at the age of 92. She was born on July 9, 1929, in the Pennington community near Clayton, New Mexico. She graduated as valedictorian from Clayton High School in 1946 at the age of 16. She was very smart and her teachers advanced her ahead two years in school. Had she been given the choice again, she would have preferred not to be moved ahead in her grades, so that she would have had more time at home. She attended the Pennington community school for many years and then began taking the bus to Clayton. She played volleyball in school and excelled in all subjects. She loved music and played piano by ear for family singalongs. She also loved listening to a variety of music. She loved her family dearly and enjoyed being at home or at family gatherings, laughing and talking and sharing stories. She sewed beautiful clothes and cooked wonderful food for her family but her preference was to work outside. She loved farming and working in the fields with her daddy. She had an incredible green thumb and grew amazing gardens and flowers in her yard.
Maurine married Jerry Francis on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1950, in Clayton, New Mexico. They made their home in the country near Kenton, Oklahoma and lived there three years and then moved to Dumas, Texas in 1953 due to a drought at that time. Jerry found a job at Diamond Shamrock and they were quite glad to make the move. They kept their beautiful place in the country and returned when they could. Maurine grew a huge garden in 1953 and said that she had so much produce that she had to take it to town to sell it. Since there was a drought that year, they even fed okra to the cattle.
Maurine worked at several different jobs throughout her life, the most important being her own tax return business that she ran from home. She helped many people and had loyal customers that came to her every year. Her first job was at Starr Lumber in Clayton. During the time she worked there, she lived in a boarding house in Clayton and went home on the weekends. She enjoyed making money so that she could buy nice gifts for her family. She was very generous and it was important to her to take care of her folks. In Dumas she worked for Archie McDonald who was the Moore County attorney and judge. She later worked at the Moore County Court House when Mr. McDonald became the district judge. After she moved to Amarillo she worked for Kelly Services which she did along with her tax return business for a few years. When she and her husband retired, she loved going to their places in the country and working.
Maurine had many interests and hobbies. She was always very curious to learn more and enjoyed watching shows about archeology, paleontology, religion and history to name a few. She also loved a good comedy. She was so excited for her granddaughter, who recently began studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Some of our ancestors (Dieffenbach) lived in Pennsylvania when they first came to America, so she wanted to resume our research in that state. Family was very important to Maurine and she did genealogy research her whole life, starting with talking to her grandparents about family history when she was a young child. She asked lots of questions of the older relatives and remembered the stories so that she could pass them on. She planned family vacations around visiting cemeteries, court houses and libraries. She often would find a neighbor or friend of the family to ask questions and find out more information and often found a family homestead that way. Family reunions were important to her as well and she embraced both her own family and her husband’s family so that research would be done on both sides for her daughters. She took many photos of friends and family as well and she spent a lot of time documenting who they were so they wouldn’t be forgotten.
Maurine was a rock hound and enjoyed searching for beautiful or interesting rocks and fossils. There were many times when her family would find themselves with a full load of rocks in the car. She kept a large rock with fossils in it as a coffee table for many years. It was a great conversation piece and something she really liked. She accumulated quite a collection of special rocks over the years. One of her favorite places to visit was her home place in the country called simply “out home” where she grew up. She loved visiting there and would often pick up something sentimental like a fallen fence post and save it because it meant something special to her.
Maurine liked to stay updated on current events and in recent years watched a lot of news shows. She would compare notes with her family and laugh or vent about the latest happenings. She was very bright and her memory was sharp, so we all knew we had a lot to live up to if we were to keep up with her on events past or present. She would often find humor in situations and laugh about things, always making her family feel better. She inevitably had good advice or a home remedy for something that would help. She was a problem solver. Since she had lived through the depression and droughts, she also knew how to save money or find good sales. She was a fervent supporter of her daughters and granddaughter, always finding ways to encourage them.
She is survived by her daughter DeLee Francis and granddaughter Katie Francis of Oklahoma City. She is also survived by her sister Joy Crist Gilbert and husband Beryl and their extended family and brother Lane Crist and wife Jean and their extended family of Clayton, New Mexico.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry Francis, daughter Sheila Francis, and parents Glen Ray Crist and Inez Lockhart Crist, along with many grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. She is having a grand reunion in heaven with her family.
Viewing and visitation will be at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home, 2800 Paramount Blvd., in Amarillo on Thursday, September 23, 2021. The family will be there from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. that afternoon. Services will be held on Friday, September 24, 2021, at 10:00 am MT at the First United Methodist Church, 200 N 5th Ave in Clayton, New Mexico. Graveside services will be held at the Clayton Cemetery immediately following. Reverend Carol Crist Hartsfield will be officiating. Lunch will be served at the church afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, 2901 N Soncy Rd, Amarillo, TX 79124. Along with her daughters, she was one of the founding members of the Amarillo Animal Rights Association. She loved animals and enjoyed feeding the birds and squirrels in her yard. She had many pets that she loved through the years.
The family wishes to extend their thanks to BSA Hospital for their excellent care and kindness. They also wish to give a special thank you to Lane Crist, Karen Clay and Carol Crist Hartsfield for their care, love and support during this time.
Family will be at 15 Cypress Point in Amarillo.
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