Joyce Crawford grew up on a Minnesota dairy farm and dreamed of being a farmer’s wife.
Her dad ran a dairy farm, while her mom was a teacher.
“There was lots of work but lots of fun,” Ms. Crawford recalled of farm life. “I always thought I would be a farmer’s wife. My mom wanted to be like a pastor’s wife. She had a bad experience on a farm.”
The oldest of six siblings, Ms. Crawford was quite active at Lanesboro High School, where there were only 32 students in her class. (She enjoys pointing out that of the 10 girls in the class, four of them were named Lori.)
Ms. Crawford took part in the 4H Club, cheerleading squad, National Honor Society, homecoming court and honor band, for which she played clarinet.
While in the 4H Club, she showed cattle and sewed dresses.
“My goal was to become one of those home economics people for the county,” she said.
After graduating from high school in 1979, she attended Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, where she studied education with a focus on home economics.
The seeds for a move to Texas were planted decades ago when her father was stationed with the Air Force in Waco during the early 1950s.
He went on to service aircraft during the Korean War.
Wanting to move to Texas, he sold the dairy farm in 1981 and moved the family to College Station, where he operated a rock-crushing plant.
Ms. Crawford moved, too, and briefly worked for Texas A&M University. She then took a job with Hancock Fabrics, which trained her to be a store manager.
She moved to Tyler a year later to manage the Hancock Fabrics store here and held that position for a decade. She then spent 14 years as district manager.
After that she worked for Express Employment Professionals before joining Ron Mabry Architects.
“I promote and manage expos and events, one of those being the East Texas Wedding Extravaganza,” she said.
Another is the Home Business Fall Showcase coming up Sept. 15.
Next on the calendar is the Career Network Connections jobs conference Sept. 27.
Career Network Connection was put together by business leaders, media, employers, church leaders and elected officials in Tyler to provide networking opportunities for the area’s unemployed and underemployed.
Ms. Crawford met her husband, Dale, while she was working for Hancock Fabrics. Their first date was a lunch outing to Chili’s.
“He was the first man I met in Tyler, Texas, and we married three years later,” she said.
In her spare time, she plays keyboards for Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and is involved in South Tyler Rotary, for which she oversees the Youth Leadership Academy.
She also serves as a Junior Achievement instructor and a Champions for Children of Smith County board member. In addition, she is involved in the Christian Women’s Job Corps and is helping to put together this year’s Texas Equestrian Gala benefiting Azleway Boys Ranch.
Ms. Crawford and her husband have two children: Connor, 20, who is in the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Chelsea, 17, who will be a Whitehouse High School senior this year.
The Crawfords also have a farm, where they raise cattle.
“So I did actually get to marry my farmer,” she says.
Most items for this column come from business cards randomly drawn from a briefcase. Send cards to Managing Editor Brian Pearson, 410 W. Erwin St., Tyler, Texas, 75710.