Clara Lois Creech passed peacefully Thursday, 26 August 2021. She was born the third child of Reverend R. Ronald and Mary Belle Smith Creech, on 31 May 1956 in Florence, South Carolina. Ruth and Elizabeth, her two older sisters, remember her days at our home in Durham. Her younger siblings, Rebecca and Paul, do not. However, we all have fond memories of the weekly Sunday afternoon visits to Murdoch – a time in the week our parents prioritized.
When Lois was seven years old, she came to reside at Murdoch Developmental Center where she lived her remaining 58 years. The loving care she received from the Murdoch staff has been phenomenal. Notwithstanding her profound intellectual challenges, deciding to place Lois in an institutional setting was one of the hardest decisions our parents ever had to make. However, Lois’ happy disposition and her readiness to return to her cottage after our family outings made them realize it was best for her.
Observing the care Lois received in this structured environment, with professionals and other qualified staff, heartened us as a family over the years. Certainly, a minister’s home was far from structured. At Murdoch, she came to learn many self-care, and rudimentary educational and vocational skills. Lois enjoyed community outings of all sorts with her cottage mates and going to the lake with her family. She loved bananas, ice cream, tea, and chocolate milk. Lois was full of personality and a bit mischievous. Throughout her life she laughed a lot and had a ready smile for those around her.
Over the nearly six decades spent at her Murdoch Home, there have been many staff who cared for and interacted acted with Lois. It would not be possible to name them all here. However, we would be remiss not to recognize Carla Braun, Social Worker (and one of Lois’ former Division Directors). Carla always had Lois’ best interests at heart. As Lois’ long-time guardian, I, Rebecca, observed time and again Carla’s insight into her personality. This was evident in numerous ways but especially advocating for her in our annual person-centered plan meetings. Carla has also been a special blessing to we sisters. Others playing key roles over the years include Carol Huntsman, retired Division Director; Greg Duncan, retired Social Worker; Ganesh Saxena, MD, Anthony Chavis, PA and Camile Henry, MD. These are only a very few of the many we would like to be able to name specifically. Our sincerest gratitude goes to all staff, past and present, who made our sister’s long life a happy and fulfilled one.
Lois was preceded in death by her parents, Ronald and Mary Belle Creech, and her brother, R. Paul Creech. She is survived by Ruth Creech Mullen (Jim), Elizabeth Creech Hodges (Eddie), Rebecca Creech Tart (Mark), Rhoda Snow Creech, five nieces, and five nephews. Additional survivors include Uncles LD Creech, Jake Creech, and Leo Smith, Aunt Tressie Smith Carter, as well as 26 cousins.
A private family burial occurred 30 August 2021 where Lois was interred beside her parents at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville Tennessee. A Celebration of her Life was held at Murdoch for her peers and current staff in November. For all who regularly inquired about her, we thank you – for like us, you never forgot her. Lois brought us much joy.