2015 Archives

SMU alumna, benefactor and former trustee Ann Lacy Crain ’41 dies

May 29, 2015

Businesswoman, philanthropist and SMU alumna Ann Lacy Crain ’41, who for more than 70 years served the University as a supporter and benefactor, passed away Thursday, May 28, 2015 in Longview, Texas. She was 95.

Ann Lacy Crain
Ann Lacy Crain

"For more than seven decades, Ann Lacy Crain was a proud and supportive alumna of SMU," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "She was a remarkable woman who consistently and quietly demonstrated her love of beauty, business expertise and compassionate heart through her leadership roles and generous philanthropy.

"SMU was the grateful beneficiary of her leadership as a member of our Board of Trustees and her contributions in support of the beautification of the campus she loved and for the well-being and advocacy of students. We will miss her as a cherished member of the SMU family."

The Ann Lacy Crain Fountain, which greets SMU families and visitors on the east plaza of the University's Blanton Student Services Building, was a gift from Mrs. Crain and her family through The Crain Foundation. The fountain was dedicated in 2003.

In 2012, the Crain family donated funds to create the Crain Family Centennial Promenade, a brick pedestrian walkway that will connect SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center in the north with its new Residential Commons in the south campus. The promenade will open in 2016.

Other gifts to SMU from Mrs. Crain and her family have supported Meadows School of the Arts, the Cox School of Business, the Hamon Arts Library Building Fund, the SMU Annual Fund, and Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Mrs. Crain served as an SMU trustee from 1984 to 1987 and was a member of the Dedman College Executive Board in 1982. She was president of R. Lacy Inc., an oil and gas production corporation founded by her father, Rogers Lacy. She also served as president of The Crain Foundation and as director of Crain Oil & Gas LLC, manager of R. Lacy Services Group LLC, and director of Eagle Operations, Inc., among other companies.

Ann Lacy was born January 8, 1920 in Stumptoe, Texas, a small community near Longview. In 1937 she graduated from Longview High School and in 1941 earned her B.A. degree in English from SMU, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She married Bluford Walter Crain Jr., also of Longview, in 1946. They were married for 48 years until his death in 1995.

Mrs. Crain was a founder and longtime board member of the Gregg County (Texas) Historical Museum and served on the National Advisory Council of The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. In addition, she was a charter member and past president of The Junior League of Longview. She actively supported charitable organizations that focused on children’s causes.

Ann Lacy Crain and SMU President R. Gerald Turner
Ann Lacy Crain with SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

Mrs. Crain and her family constitute three generations of SMU alumni. Son Bluford Walter Crain III '80 received his B.B.A. degree from SMU and is married to Mary McMahon Crain '80, who received her M.F.A. degree in music education from the University. Grandson Bluford Walter Crain IV '05 earned his B.A. degree in psychology from SMU. Grandson Lawson McKay Crain received his B.B.A. degree in finance from the University in 2011.

Her sister, Patsy Lacy Griffith, graduated from SMU in 1943 with a B.S. degree in journalism and married John William Griffith '43. They are the parents of Gail Griffith Benefiel '82, who graduated with a B.B.A. degree; and Gwen Griffith '82 (d. 2009), who graduated with a B.F.A. degree in studio art. In addition, Mrs. Crain's niece Ann Cook Cole earned a B.A. degree in French from SMU in 1962.

Mrs. Crain was preceded in death by her parents, Rogers Lacy and Lawson Keener Lacy; her husband, Bluford Walter Crain Jr.; and her sister, Patsy Lacy Griffith. She is survived by her children, Ann Lacy Crain II and her husband, Joseph Lee Galloway; Bluford Walter Crain III and his wife, Mary McMahon Crain; and Rogers Lacy Crain and his wife, Kelty Ewing Crain.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, James Walter Whitehead III and his wife, Elizabeth Munson Whitehead; Jane Lynch Crain; Bluford Walter Crain IV and his fiancée, Sarah Allison Neubach; John McMahon Crain and his fiancée, Katherine Elizabeth Goldbaum; Peter Lacy Crain; Rogers Lacy Crain Jr.; Alexander Calder Crain; and Lawson McKay Crain; as well as by her great-grandchildren, Claire Dervaes Whitehead and Graham Horn Whitehead.

In addition, Mrs. Crain is survived by her cousin and lifelong best friend, Claire Smith Foster.

The family asks that memorial gifts be directed to the First Presbyterian Church of Longview, 301 North Center Street, Longview, Texas 75606, or to the charity of one’s choice.