Gayle Ruth Crain, born August 19, 1941, passed away Friday, December 23, 2016. Those who had the privilege to know and work with Mrs. Crain throughout her life know that she is a force of nature – a passionate teacher, supporter, and organizer of that about which she feels most passionately. She is survived by her loving husband Richard, The Woodlands, Texas; and sons Scott, Chris, and Steven, of Texas, and their families.
I don’t remember exactly when I first met Gayle and Richard – it seems to me that they were always part of my life and work history with Bands of America from my earliest times in the late 1980s. It was probably while I was working at one of many Texas Band Association conferences; Gayle served on the Board of the Texas Bandmasters Association Spouses for seven years and is a Past President.
My fondest memories of Gayle are from her work as the coordinating assistant for the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival, now the Music for All National Festival. “Coordinating assistant” doesn’t feel to be like the best descriptor for her role in the creation and implementation of the Festival. She and husband Richard were the coordinators of the Festival – putting their hearts, souls, and talents completely into making sure that the Festival, from its launch in 1992 at Northwestern University and beyond, fully realized the vision of Bands of America and the musical icons who were part of its creation. The Festival today remains infused with their high standards, their vision, and the work and care they provided.
For her work on the Festival, as well as her other many contributions to music education, Gayle was inducted, along with Richard, into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2005.
On hearing of her passing, Eric Martin, President and CEO of Music for All, wrote: “My heart and prayers are with Richard Crain and his family. There are people, principles and concepts that have defined Music for All and Bands of America for me. Gayle and Richard Crain are amongst those people. Thank you, Gayle, for your quiet and principled witness by example, and to Richard for your leadership, encouragement, mentorship, witness, and, most importantly, friendship.”
My personal memories will always be of working with Gayle side by side (score organizing, anyone?), the sincere hugs “hello” and hearty laughs, no matter how hectic pre-Festival preparations might become.
Gayle’s many accomplishments, honors, and activities make me wonder when she ever found the time to do it all. I’ve included her biography below at the closing of this piece.
For now, I hope everyone who knew her will continue to be inspired by her example of hands-on servant leadership, and that all who read this will keep her family – especially her husband Richard who is one of the kindest and wonderful people I’ve ever known – in their thoughts as they process their loss during this holy season.
Watch Mr. and Mrs. Crain’s Bands of America Hall of Fame Induction Video:
The viewing for our new heavenly angel Gayle will be Tuesday evening, December 27 at the Forest Park Funeral Home, 18000 Interstate 45 S, The Woodlands, TX from 6-8 pm.
The funeral service will occur on Wednesday, December 28 at Spring Baptist Church, 633 East Louetta Road, Spring, TX at 2:00 pm. There will be additional viewing time prior to the start of the service.
Richard and the family ask that donations go to a scholarship fund that will be created in Gayle’s name at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, TX, her alma mater, and where she served as Director of Alumni and Alumni president.
Gayle Ruth Crain, born August 19, 1941, crossed the Jordan Friday, December 23, 2016. She is survived by her loving husband Richard, The Woodlands, TX; sons, Scott and Chris, Kingwood, TX, and Steven, Houston, TX. Daughters-in-laws, Jennifer and Melissa, Terry Polovina; sisters, JoAnn Thompson, Garrison, TX, and Vicki Franze, Welborn, TX; Grandchildren, Lauren, Emily, Joshua, Jacob, Caroline, and EmmaKate; Cousins, Pat Baggerly and Sue O’Bannon, Belton, TX.
Gayle Crain earned the Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor with a major in Business and a minor in English. She was a member of Alpha Chi Honor Fraternity and Sigma Alpha Business Honor Fraternity and at the commencement was presented with the Outstanding Business Graduate award for having the highest four-year average in Business. She earned the Master of Business Education degree from the University of North Texas with a major in Business and a minor in Education and was a member of the Delta Pi Epsilon business education fraternity there.
Her teaching experience included teaching business subjects as a fulltime instructor at Temple (Junior) College for four years. She was promoted to Director of Financial Aids and Placement shortly before moving to the Houston area. While teaching at TJC, she supervised student teachers at Temple College for the nearby University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and also taught business courses at UMHB in the summer. After graduating from college and teaching only one year, she was asked by the UMHB Education Department to be the sponsoring teacher for a student teacher in her English class during her second year of teaching.
Through the years, Gayle has traveled as a sponsor with band groups to Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Japan. One of the trips was the Texas Baptist All-State Band and Orchestra to the Baptist World Alliance in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Before devoting her life to serving music education organizations with her husband Richard, Gayle Crain taught business, English, and journalism courses at several Texas colleges and secondary schools for 25 years. She was promoted to Chairman of the Business Department of the new Klein Oak High School after teaching at Klein High School for only a few months. She was asked by the principal to assist in interviewing prospective teachers. The department grew from three to eleven teachers during the three years she served as Chairman. She also taught as the Office Administration Cooperative teacher at three high schools in the Belton, Klein, and Spring school districts as she moved with her husband across Texas. For the Office Administration classes, she secured part-time office jobs for her students and visited their supervisors on the job each six weeks for a total of eleven years.
She received the Outstanding Occupational/Technical Teacher award for Spring ISD and was elected to the State Board of the Vocational Office Education Teachers Association of Texas and was elected Secretary of the State Board of the Office Education Teachers Association of Texas. Her administrative experience includes Director of Alumni Affairs at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Director of Financial Aids and Placement at Temple College, and Assistant to the President of two Houston international corporations. In earlier years, she was co-owner of The Apple Tree, an antiques and crafts gift shop with stores in Belton and Salado, Texas, and did all of the accounting for that business.
While serving as the Lambda Theta Chapter Sponsor, Assistant State Advisor, and National Convention Secretary for Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Fraternity for junior colleges, Gayle was named to the Phi Theta Kappa National Hall of Honor. She also was elected President of the Alumni Association of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor for a term of three years, presiding over the Alumni Board meetings and planning and presiding over Homecoming during those years. During her years as a college student, she was elected as an officer of the College Council, the Business Administration Club, and the Luncheon Club, which planned college socials. She also was Elected Miss Temple Junior College. During her two years as a student at Temple Junior College, she was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor fraternity and worked as a report writer for the Retail Merchants Association (credit bureau) on a part-time basis. She served as President of the College and Career Class at her church while in college. She began her college experience with a full scholarship from the Kiwanis Club for her first year. She had not applied for the scholarship but was nominated by the principal of her high school.
Gayle Crain served as the Festival Coordinating Assistant for the National Concert Band Festival from its inception in 1991 until 2008, and she was inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in 2005. Gayle served on the Board of the Texas Bandmasters Association Spouses for seven years and is a Past President. She was Associate Executive Secretary for Region IX UIL Music Contests from 1994 to 2006 and has provided bookkeeping and organizational support to the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity since 1977. She was inducted as an honorary member of Phi Beta Mu at the International meeting at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago in 2006.
Gayle was named to the Who’s Who of Women Executives in the 1989-1990 edition, was included earlier in the Outstanding Young Women of America, received the Spring ISD Achievement award, and received several awards from UMHB, including “The Second Mile Award” for recruiting for the university. She was a speaker at a Charter Day (Homecoming) program, President of the Bell County UMHB Club, a member of the Alumni Board and numerous committees through the years, and Chairman of a major fundraising drive for the university.
She currently serves as the reporter for a monthly newsletter she publishes for the Joyful Age Sunday School Class at Spring Baptist Church. She also is both a reporter for and the editor of the 36-page SALT OF THE EARTH magazine, which is published on a quarterly basis for the Senior Adults departments of the Spring Baptist Church. The spiritual magazine includes both classes’ news and individual reporters’ devotionals. In past years, she taught children, youth, and adult Sunday School classes, assisted in Vacation Bible School, and was the Bible teacher for a children’s choir.
Gayle grew up in a Christian family that included a grandfather who was a minister, a grandmother who was one of the strongest Christians she has ever known, an aunt who was a missionary to Korea, and parents who went with her to Sunday School and church every Sunday and took her to youth meetings. Though she can’t remember when she did not believe and she walked the aisle when she was a child, she still went through a time of questioning-not of her God but of her own faith-when she was a young adult. That questioning led her to deeper study and a confirmation of her faith in God the Father, Who created us; God the Son, Who gave His life for us; and God the Holy Spirit, Who lives in us as our conscience and guide. Through the years as a teacher, she witnessed to her students in public schools from the first year she taught in the 1960’s through the last year she taught in the 1990’s. She believes that God led her to marry her husband of 55 years, Richard Crain, and together they have prayed and sought God’s leadership in all walks of their lives. The oldest son is a deacon in the church, the sons’ wives are workers in their churches, and the grandchildren who are eleven and nine years old have already prayed to accept Christ and have been baptized. Their five-year-old grandson began quoting scripture and praying out loud when he was four. Though Richard and Gayle lost their home and two cars to Tropical Storm Allyson in 2001 and two of their grandchildren have endured numerous surgeries by ages five and three, God has always been there to see through whatever life holds. The Crain family has indeed been blessed. God is good….all the time.