Obituary: Barbara Jean Crayton
Former longtime Claremont resident Barbara Jean Crayton died unexpectedly on August 2, 2016. She was 84.
She was born in Joplin, Missouri on October 18, 1931 to George Yancey and Lillian Lindsay. At the age of 7, her parents divorced and she moved to Los Angeles with her mother and sister, Yvonne.
Barbara came of age during World War ll and the post-war era, which had a lasting influence in her life. An enduring memory she often recounted to her children was the experience of the sudden loss of her Japanese-American playmates, who were abruptly sent to an internment camp with their families during the war. Another way the war made a personal impact on her was that, partly because of the shortage of male workers due to their conscription into military service, her mother was among the very first women hired by the United States Post Office.
In her teen years, she converted to Roman Catholicism and, after graduating from Los Angeles Polytechnical High School, she attended Los Angeles City College where she earned her Associate of Arts degree. She went on to work for the Los Angeles Board of Education as a clerk typist. Tall, willowy and beautiful, Barbara met Marvin Crayton, a brash World War II Navy vet. The two fell in love and married in 1958 and she became a devoted and fiercely loyal wife to Marvin until his death in 2012, and a cherished and loving mother to his two young daughters from a previous marriage, Jackie and Cathy. Marv and Barb and the girls lived in Los Angeles before moving to Pomona where, in 1962, she joyfully gave birth to their son, Marvin, Jr.
In 1960, Mrs. Crayton began her career with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) where she served in various capacities, from clerical worker to providing personal transportation to children entrusted in her care to various foster and group homes. The majority of her career with the county, however, was as supervisor. She served at DPSS until her retirement in the early ‘90s. As in her personal life, in her professional life she responded to those in need with immense generosity and kindness and compassion.
Among her many achievements, Mrs. Crayton was a founding member in 1961 of Toujour Les Femmes, a service and charitable organization—the first of its kind in the Pomona Valley—for African-American women. Among other activities, the organization raised money and sponsored scholarships for students in need as well as a host of other charities. Along with her husband, she was involved in many other service and community activities, which continued when the family moved to Claremont in 1971, including as a volunteer for a food distribution center for the hungry in the Pomona Valley and as a volunteer with the March of Dimes. She was a member of Our Lady of the Assumption church.
Barbara was a gifted painter, an avid reader and an accomplished cook. Along with Marvin, Sr., she loved hosting parties and barbeques for family and friends. She was crazy about football and, in her younger days, played tennis.
She was a loving, strong, beautiful woman who will be dearly missed by her children, son Marvin, Jr. and daughters Jacqueline and Cathleen. She also leaves her grandchildren Camille, Flynn and Hillary; great-grandchildren Nevaeh, Xavier, Kyla and Brielle; her cousins, Sarah and Patricia, and her nephew Craig, as well as several other nieces and nephews and numerous friends.
She is interred alongside her husband at Riverside National Cemetery. A memorial service is pending. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Pax Christi USA, PO Box 29030, Washington, DC 20017-9030.