Marabeth's Story

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Marbeth Tyree Craft was born Oct. 1, 1913, and died Jan. 14, 2017, Marbeth is survived by her daughter-in-law, Sarita Hazen; her three grandchildren, David Paul McElroy (Bonnie), Ellen McElroy, and John Craft McElroy (Harriet); her great grandchildren, Amy Elizabeth McElroy, Megan Ann Miller (Dave), Patricia Harkins, and Virginia McCary (John). She is also survived by her nephew ZJ Jones and his family: Charlene, Keith, Lisa (Troy), Tracy (Anthony), and Terry; nephew Max Blue; nephew Norman Tyree (Pat); and niece Susan Tyree.
She was predeceased by her husband of nearly 65 years, Thomas Estill Craft; and her two children, Virginia Louise Craft ("Ginny") McElroy; and Thomas Tyree ("Tom") Craft. She was also predeceased by her parents, Chester Tyree and Stella Eversole Tyree, sisters Chesney Eversole and Louise Blue, brothers Sam Tyree and Frank Tyree. Since 1999, she has happily resided at Laurel Heights Home for the Elderly. She leaves many friends, caring staff, and sitters who have been an important part of her life and who worked hard to enhance each day for her.
Marbeth lived a long, full, and active life. She was born as the Panama Canal was being built, Annie Oakley was performing, Pancho Villa was leading rebel invaders, and just before Chicago declared the Tango immortal.
With this as a backdrop, it is no surprise that an adventurous spirit guided her life. For example, she borrowed a car and drove several girlfriends to Chicago for the 1933 World's Fair. The trip was completed before the interstate system and before many roads were paved. She loved to fly and earned her pilot's license in 1935. She and her husband, Tom, built a kit plane, which they flew throughout the South.
They also explored international destinations, including Europe, Mexico, China, Japan, and Hong Kong. One of her favorite vacation spots was Hawaii, which she visited several times. Marbeth loved getting out and about, and although she stopped driving in her mid-90s, she continued to regularly tour London. She walked daily and even logged 6,500 steps a day with her Fitbit this fall.
In the 1960s, she complained about go-go boots and short skirts -- she said she didn't have the legs for them -- but she loved the inventions of the day, especially food.
She was a specialist with recipes involving new products, including jello, instant pudding, canned onions, and mushroom soup.
Aside from these somewhat questionable recipes, she was actually a very good cook and made great fried chicken, angel food cake, country ham, and fried apples.
She had a green thumb, growing terrific flowers, tasty tomatoes, and beautiful apple trees. In fact, for her 86th birthday, her goal was to climb the largest apple tree in her yard. She had loved climbing trees as a kid and wanted to continue in her later years. She also noted, everyone needs goals, even if the goals get smaller as one gets older.
She delighted showing friends the pictures of herself completing the task, which she jokingly referred to as "the nut in the tree."
Marbeth was a wonderful mother and grandmother who made you feel special with a warm hug, always encouraging you to do what was right and treat others fairly.
A great example of her generosity occurred in October at her 103rd birthday party. Although she was the guest of honor, she insisted on visiting with each of her guests.
She wanted to ensure that everyone was having fun at her party.
Marbeth was a fierce competitor, first as a player on the Sue Bennett College women's basketball team, later as a golfer at the London Country Club, and then later still as the Kentucky Senior Ladies Golfing Champion.
She won the state title as a senior citizen and observed that it is important to continue competing, "the competition narrows with age so if you hang in there long enough, and you will become the winner!"
She was also a competitive bridge player and a generous teacher of card games, board games, and sports. When playing a game with her however, you had to remain alert, just when you thought you had her beat, she would turn the tables and beat your socks off!
As a child, one of her grandchildren exclaimed, "Granny, you are supposed to let children win!" As much as she loved games, she was also a diligent puzzle-worker.
She could stare at a box of puzzle pieces and pick out just the right piece.
It was the same as her skill with finding four-leaf clovers. She regularly looked at a patch of grass and picked out a four-leaf clover.
All of those found clovers surely contributed to her long and successful life.
Marbeth's life will be celebrated Saturday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. at Bowling Funeral Home, 1704 North Main Street, London, KY.
Published on January 17, 2017
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