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Lucille L. Criswell Earley

March 16, 1914 March 5, 2021
Lucille L.  Criswell Earley
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Obituary for Lucille L. Criswell Earley

Surrounded by family at her home, Mrs. Lucille Criswell Earley, 106, of St Louis, Missouri, peacefully departed this life for eternal rest on March 5, 2021, eleven days before her 107th birthday. She was born in Springfield, Arkansas on March 16, 1914 to James Allen Criswell and Lillie Brewer Criswell, the first of twelve children. Her parents and ten siblings proceeded her in death.

Lucille accepted Jesus Christ at an early age at Greater Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Plumerville, Arkansas under the leadership of Reverend Joe Thomas, Sr. Through the years, she was a member the Usher Board, as Church Clerk, sang in the Choir/Singing Union, taught Junior Sunday School, and served wherever her talents were needed. She attended Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church and later West Side Missionary Baptist Church in St Louis, Missouri. Lucille reunited with Greater Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in the late 1990s and remained a faithful member until her death. She received the “Oldest Member Appreciation Award” at Greater Mt. Olive in 2015 and 2019.

Lucille was educated in the public school system of Arkansas. She moved to St Louis, Missouri in the Spring of 1940, to make her mark in the booming St. Louis Fashion & Clothing Manufacturing District as a Professional Seamstress and Power Machine Operator. She joined the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Unio, and worked for many of the major St Louis clothing, shoe, and home décor manufacturers. When she left the manufacturing workforce, she continued her careers as a professional seamstress for family members, friends, church groups, and other organizations. She also provided in-home daycare services for the children of family members and friends for over twenty-years. She ended her professional sewing career in December 2012, when the pain of carpal tunnel and arthritis in her hands made sewing difficult. She continued, when able, to do alternations for herself and around her home until December 2016.

Lucille married Corey Smith in 1943. She later married Villa Earley in 1951. God blessed this union with two children: Shirley and Andrew. Both of her husbands, son and son in-law proceeded her in death.

Lucille was truly a woman of great faith, wisdom, integrity, and resolve. She enjoyed people, conversation, family gatherings, reading, history and current events, politics, watching the news, and was a frequent caller to call-in talk-radio shows. She was passionately opinionated and an avid “fact checker”. She actively participated in her community and various civic endeavors. From 1940 until November 3, 2020, she proudly voted in every local, state, and national election. Lucille was the embodiment of unconditional love for family, friends, and strangers. She inspired and enriched the lives of children and adults by sharing her love of God, selflessness, wisdom, life lessons, championing education and excellence. She demonstrated and encouraged moral values, a never give-up attitude, critical thinking, dedication to hard work and service to others.

Lucille leaves to celebrate her memories her devoted and loving daughter, Shirley Earley-White of St. Louis, Missouri; sister, Blanche Criswell Fowler of Springfield, Arkansas; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, two best friend and four Godchildren.

Missouri arrangements:
Visitation 9:30 am - 10:55 am, Friday, March 19, 2021 at Wade Funeral Home Twin Chapel, 4800 Natural Bridge Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63115 followed by funeral service at 11:00 am.

Arkansas arrangements:
Graveside services will be held 2:00 pm, Friday, March 26, 2021 at Mt. Olive Cemetery, 728 Mt. Olive Road, Plumerville, AR. Visitation 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Thursday, March 25, 2021 at the funeral home. Interment Mt. Olive Cemetery.

Local arrangements entrusted to Larry G. Acklin Funeral Home, 910 Walnut Street, Conway, AR. "IN YOUR TIME OF NEED...WE CARE."

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