Jan Crews | Obituary

Jan Harkins Crews, teacher, wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away on the afternoon of January 13, 2023 at the age of 86. Her daughters and husband were by her side. Jan was born in Houston, Texas to Cora Mae Haley Harkins and Thurman Isaac (Pops) Harkins. Jan was predeceased by her dear brother Pat Garet Harkins in September of 2021.

Jan could be found anywhere if one just followed the sound of her infectious laugh, and she had a ready smile for everyone she encountered. She was beloved by all who knew her, especially her family. We will miss her for the rest of our days.

Her bighearted spirit made Jan a natural helper. She lived according to these principles: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Through her generosity and many donated hours of work, she was a mainstay in the Federal Way, Washington community where the family lived for years.

Jan graduated high school from St. John’s School in Houston, Texas, in 1954. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1958 from University of Colorado, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. Teaching took her from Denver, Colorado to Bakersfield and Imperial Beach, California and then on to Okinawa, Japan, before bringing her back to California.

On a blind date in Coronado, California, Jan met the love of her life, Thomas Charles Crews. They were married on the twenty-eighth day of June, 1963, in Houston, Texas. They lived in California, Wyoming, Colorado, Oregon and Washington where Tom worked in forestry management. They eventually moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. Jan loved her three daughters and five grandchildren beyond measure, and the feeling was mutual.

Jan was sustained in life by her faith in a loving God, a belief sparked by the woman she considered a second mother, Fannie Mae Royal. Jan is survived by her husband Tom Crews; daughters Katherine Haley Crews, Carol Bennett Crews (Ewan Duncan), and Elizabeth Crews Rusy (Robert); and grandchildren Delaney Grace Belcher, Isabella Spence Rusy, Charles Joseph Rusy, Iona Cora Mae Duncan, and Angus Han Byeol Duncan. Jan’s family would like to thank the nurses and certified nursing assistants at Acacia Health Center of Phoenix who provided loving care to Jan in her last months.

Services will be held in Federal Way, Washington and Scottsdale, Arizona (details forthcoming). For those who wish to donate in Jan’s memory, some of her favorite nonprofits were: Multi-Service Center, Federal Way, WA; Doney Coe Pet Clinic, Seattle, WA; Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Lynnwood, WA; UMOM New Day Centers, Phoenix, AZ; Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, Scottsdale, AZ; and Arizona Humane Society.