Celena Margaret Crippens, age 93, passed away on the morning of Thursday, December 8th, 2022. Celena was born in Lebanon, New Hampshire, on July 26th, 1929, to Leonard and Alberta Follensbee. As a teen she worked in the local laundry. She took a bus trip to Cheyenne, Wyoming to visit her sister Betty whose husband was in the military. It was there at Warren Air Force Base that Celena met the love of her life, a Texan named George Crippens. George was the politest man that she had ever met! They were married on March 31, 1953 and were together for 61 years until George left this earth in 2014. George was her greatest treasure and being reunited with him was her greatest desire.
After George was discharged, he and Celena spent some time in New Hampshire. It was there, in early 1960, that they adopted a baby girl, Mary Ann. The young family eventually settled in Cleveland, Texas in 1966. It was then that Celena started an in-home day care center. Hereafter she was known as “Aunt Celena” and then “Nana”, nicknames she was more than happy to be called her entire life. Celena took care of dozens and dozens of children in the Cleveland area. It was common for her to go to the grocery store and be recognized and hugged by one of the daycare children that she had cared for decades before! Children, including her grand and great-grand kids, her daycare children, and children she would see in public brought her great joy. She eventually retired from daycare at age 88 after 50+ years!
Along with the immense amount of patience she possessed, Celena was a quiet soul with a yankee spirit (as well as accent!). She had a sense of humor and taught principles and manners. She enjoyed sewing, embroidery, crocheting, word puzzles and games shows. She really enjoyed the family history work she did. Family was the focus of her life; she loved talking to and visiting with her immediate family and her many siblings and in-laws. She had an intense faith in and love for the Lord and loved to read the scriptures. In 2019, she and her 8-year-old great-grandson Travis were baptized on the same day into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She loved to go to church and was so grateful for all the kindness shown to her there.
Celena is survived by her daughter, Mary Stout and husband Kelly of Giddings, Texas; grandson William Fee of Ashtabula, Ohio; grandson Adam Fee of Taylorsville, Utah; granddaughter Robyn Brand and husband Chris of The Woodlands, Texas; step-grandson Jeremy Stout and wife Charli of Conroe, Texas; step-granddaughter Kelli Threet and husband Stuart of Conroe, Texas; great-grandchildren, Travis and Finley Brand, Zekiel Fee, Hali Stout and Madelyn Threet; sisters, Shirley Haslam of Florida, Carol Bailey and husband Bill of Allen, Texas; brothers Ronald Follensbee and wife Lucille, Raymond Follensbee and wife Diane, all of White River Junction, Vermont; sister-in-law Barbara Stripling of Shepherd, Texas; along with many nieces and nephews, and very, very special children that she cared for throughout her life. She had a special place in her heart for adopted grandson Jaydan Smith. She will no doubt also miss her beloved dog, Dixie.
Celena was proceeded in death by her husband George, her parents and a grandson, Travis Fee and sisters Rosie Tucker, Dede Carey, Betty Elder and Faye Batcher.
A visitation will be held on Monday, December 19, 2022, from 12:00pm – 1:30pm at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Cleveland, Texas. A funeral service will be held later that day at 2:00pm. Funeral services will be live streamed for those who are interested (link will be provided on day of service.) Burial will follow at Cleveland Memorial Park.