James Ronald Crenshaw

My husband, James Ronald Crenshaw, age 76, of Bryan, has had many adventures in this life, but none bigger than the one he embarked upon on May 13, 2020, with one last kiss from me.  
He shared a loving relationship with and is survived by me, his wife, Janelle; his daughter, Angelique Marie, her son, Ronnie and his wife Megan, and great-granddaughter Kiera Grace, and Angie’s son Matthew; his sister, Ann and her husband Bob, nephew Jason and wife Rachel, and niece Lindsay and husband T. J., and all of their beautiful children; sister-in-law Patsy and her children; sister- and brother-in-law Sharla and John, their daughter and grandson; brother-in-law Lloyd and dear friend Eileen.
He is also survived by two other great-grandchildren and six additional grandchildren and lots of cousins.
I hardly know how to begin to tell Jim’s life story because it’s too amazing for anyone to think it is anything more than just fantasy.  He is the ultimate Renaissance Man, striving to try all the things that he ran across and found interesting.  He was an omnivorous reader even before he started school.  And when I say omnivorous, I mean he read everything he could get his hands on, including the entire dictionary and even technical books that were in his father’s library.  And everything stuck to that beautiful brain.  He was my own personal Google.  Our morning talks ranged from politics to spirituality and everything in between.  I could listen to him for hours.
He graduated from Stephen F. Austin High School, Bryan, TX, in 1961, where he was known by his nickname Ronnie.  After high school, he enrolled at Texas A&M.  He was a very special Aggie, Class of ’65, a proud member of the Corps of Cadets Fish Drill Team.  But he never got to graduate from Texas A&M.  He always regretted not being able to wear the ring.  He was so proud of all the traditions and patiently taught me all of them.  Being in the Corps, of course, he knew all the campusology and could pretty much repeat all the answers that were required when he whipped out to upperclassmen back in the day.  He always told me he had a lot of incentive to give the correct answers.
Among other career pursuits, he was a law enforcement officer in many different roles for the City of Bryan,TX, and for the State of Texas and the federal government.  He was an entrepreneur, owning and managing a gourmet kitchen store in New Hampshire.  He was a researcher of old records and started a business called Ghostwriter in order to computerize all the old deed records for several towns in New England, where we lived at the time, painstakingly entering every word of the handwritten deeds and other documents into the computer so that the originals were kept safe from overuse by the public.  He was the head of security for a gambling casino in Mississippi and later the manager of two hotels for that casino and then in charge of the casino’s video surveillance cameras.  He was such a good manager that even a lady who cleaned rooms in the hotel and several other employees who worked under his direction wrote him beautiful letters when we moved home to Texas.  When he retired, he was writing regulations for the Texas legislature and conducting and overseeing investigations for the Texas Education Agency Driver’s Education division, making sure that the private driver’s ed schools abided by the guidelines and provided a safe place for those learning to drive.
After he retired, we did what lots of good Aggies do.  We retired in Aggieland.  He always told me that one of his fears upon retiring was that he might get bored because he had basically been working since he was nine years old.  We laughed about that notion often because the adventures we have shared since that time could fill a book and to an extent have.  We kept our friends and relatives up to date on all our trips with diaries and pictures.  We have taken our pickup truck and trains and busses to experience this great country from coast to coast and border to border and beyond to Canada and Mexico.  Jim had traveled to many other countries in his career, and before this evil virus descended upon the world, he planned to take me to some of those countries.  
He particularly loved Mexico and the Mexican people and culture, and he spoke beautiful Spanish, often being asked by native speakers what part of Mexico he was from.  He introduced me to the real Mexico, not the border.  He could have written a book about his philosophy of Mexico and its people and culture.  I wish he had.  In the last months before he began this new journey, he was taking a college course in Spanish to refresh and put a fine point on his Spanish.  He was asked by the Spanish professor to give a presentation, complete with some of his photographs, about the true nature of the Mexican culture.  It was the last college classroom lecture for this class before the covid-19 virus shut down classroom teaching in favor of online.
Jim was an excellent cook, and he always put his own personal spin on dishes.  Photography was another of his interests, in particular that of nature.  He loved spending time outdoors, whether it was going for long walks or dropping a hook in the water.  He learned to weave by watching me at the loom from across the room.  He became a very creative weaver, using his own original designs to make beautiful handwoven garments and table linens and sharing them with loved ones.  He also taught himself to paint, a natural talent.
I told him often that if I only had one casual lunch date with him when we first met, it would have been more than I could have ever dreamed possible with such a special man.  Instead I had the privilege and joy of spending 39 years one month and two days as his wife.  I am so lucky.
He was an elegant and charming man who walked gracefully through his life, even when he was fighting the bad guys and, worse, a horrible disease.  
He was truly a Renaissance Man, and he is my soulmate.  
Hasta más tarde, mi amor.

Condolences

  1. My big brother was all of these things and so much more. I will miss hearing his sweet voice saying I love you, Sis.
    Fly high, Jim. You have won the battle. You will be in my heart for eternity.
    Ann

  2. What an interesting man, a beautiful human, a loving husband and an amazing brother to my mom. I wish I got to see you more Unc. Love you Janelle. ❤️

  3. Ken & I will truly miss our neighbor. He had such a kind spirit and made us feel very welcome in the Eastside neighborhood. I regret he didn’t see our latest project in person but we know he is resting in a much more beautiful space..

    Our deepest sympathy,
    The Roberts

  4. Jim was simply the best brother-in-law any human being could have. We will miss hearing his stories and his opinions on any topic in the world. He was an unassuming, beautiful man whose ideas and interests were truly grand. And oh how he loved our sweet sister Janelle. Rest in peace and wonder, dear Jim. Until we meet again.
    Sharla & Jonathan

  5. My condolences to you, Janelle, and the family. I remember Ronnie from junior high through high school and am so sad to hear of his passing.

  6. Besides the obvious that Jim adored Janelle, and he was smart…he was oh so witty. My fave story is when we worked together in San Antonio, and somehow the subject came up that I liked the smell of moth balls. His replay….”but, isn’t it hard to pull their little legs apart” ? I think it took me a quick minute to get it. That was Jim!

  7. The addition of Jim to our family, as little sister Janelle’s husband, brought all of us much happiness. Not only was their marriage blissful, but Jim was welcomed by his mother-in-law and the entire family immediately and without reservation. I will miss our driving trips together and sharing his excitement of discovery. He had insatiable curiosity about all things. Janelle, we share in your loss.
    Patsy

  8. I don’t even know if there are words to show the love I have for my Uncle Jim. But I’ll try. He has always been the most interesting man in the world to me. I could sit for hours and just listen to his stories and his outlook on life. His thoughts were his own and they were genuinely from the heart and almost always unique. We have had a ton of similarities in life and I am most proud of that. Some are the not so pleasant similarities…not finishing at A&M has also been my biggest regret, and of course the “starter wife” thing; we won’t go into that. The happy similarities far outweigh the negative ones. Similar jobs, living in similar parts of the country, and most importantly; finding “the One” after the practice marriage. My wife (Rachel) and I have always strived to have the same relationship that we saw with Jim and Janelle. One very simple yet strong descriptor of that relationship is this: Pure Love. They were always together, always smiling and always in tune with each other. One day we will all come together again and can all witness that love as a whole. Uncle Jim, I know you know this already but you can rest in peace knowing that all of your friends and family will surround Aunt Janelle through this tough time and flood her with love so that one day that bubbly smile will return. And it will. Until we meet again Uncle Jim…I love you.

  9. Dear Janelle,

    What a beautiful recount of Jim’s life I did not know such wonderful and interesting things about him, but I knew that he was a remarkable human being and student. I had the privilege of being his Span 2311 teacher at Blinn College, and I can tell you that I will never forget him. He was one of the most amazing students I have ever had. He made our class very special with his stories about Mexico. He was such a hard worker and yes, his Spanish proficiency was amazing. I loved to hear him talk; I frequently would comment on his beautiful accent from Spain. Every piece of work he turned in was crafted so carefully and I was so proud of all his work. It is students like him that make teaching a joy for all they contribute to our lives. I am so fortunate for having him in my class and for getting to know such a remarkable and extraordinary person. Hugs to you and your family. He will always have a special place in my heart. I’m sorry for his passing but so glad that you got to spend your life with him. Your words speak volumes of the kind of love you had for him.

    Sincerely

    Nilsa

  10. Jim Crenshaw is someone you know you are going to like as soon you meet him … a genuinely good, kind person always willing to help a newcomer and with a gift for sharing fascinating stories of the many places he and his beautiful wife Janelle have lived and visited. We have known him only the few years we have been in Bryan, but in that time he shared many of his adventures and experiences … great memories all. Farewell, friend … you will always be with us.

    Judy & Tom

  11. Such a beautiful tribute to a truly beautiful life well lived. Jim exemplified living each day to its fullest, and the love he and Janelle shared was tangible to everyone around them. I will always remember Uncle Jim for his kindness towards others, gentle manner of speaking, calm demeanor, and quick sense of humor. I loved to listen to him talk of his adventures when I was a child, and he always made me feel like he was interested in my adventures too. He will be missed. Rest In Peace Uncle Jim.

  12. Janelle, what a beautiful tribute you wrote for your husband. I never met him, but being your RRC neighbor for many years, I know how special you are. So sorry for the separation, but you’ll be together again. Prayers for comfort and peace

  13. With the creation of DEA in 1973, Jim and I worked as partners. To put it mildly, Jim didn’t really enjoy working undercover, but that was fine with me because he was an excellent surveillance agent. I always knew that if things got dicey, Jim would be there to have my back. Calm, steady, dependable and an outstanding writer are just a few of the words that describe Jim. To me the one word that describes him best is FRIEND, and I will miss him.

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