Known throughout her life as Wendy, a nickname given by school mates, she came into this life on Sunday morning, May 10th, 1931 in Society Hill, South Carolina. Arriving on not just any Sunday but on Mother’s Day to Ada Jones Crowley and Hyrum Smith Crowley Sr. as their first born. She was named by two of her dads’ sisters. The name LaVerne from a missionary, special to the family, and a French name Nonpareil meaning “none parallel-no equal”. For those who knew Wendy the name is befitting.
Wendy loved books and was accomplished in journalism, editorials, articles and school plays. She was the first one to actually start, print, and distribute her high school newspaper in South Carolina. After high school Wendy moved to Utah in order to study at Brigham Young University. While attending BYU, she served as editor for the yearbook, reporter for the Daily Universe and broadcasted a radio program known as Carolina Calling. Wendy also reported for the Deseret News for a time.
During the Korean Conflict she spent two years in Japan and Korea. During this adventure she met and became friends with Edward R. Murrow, and was offered a job with Armed Forces Radio Network. She was the first female disc jockey for a program called “Mail from Home”. Handling this show for UN troops writing to their families and having them write to her with requests for songs and messages for the men.
Wendy met Richard James Williams when he was on leave from the Navy and they married in Salt Lake City, Utah. The marriage produced four children, Richard (Shane), Lance, Darren and Wendy (Ceci) Williams.
Wendy led a very complex life full of many adventures. Some interesting events she found herself in included being a winning contestant on a television game show “Name That Tune”. This opportunity came from her experience in Korea. Her winnings went toward purchasing amusement rides that she operated with her husband and children. Always one to challenge herself, she became a board-certified real estate agent having a successful career for a time. Another time she was one of the first women to work underground in a coal mine. It was her job to push rocks off of the conveyer belt that was hauling coal to the surface. One of those rocks happened to be a fossilized dinosaur footprint which she smuggled out and gave to one of her boys.
Along with Wendy’s zest for life came her passion to travel. The mode didn’t matter; planes, trains, automobiles, or boats, if she had the opportunity, she took it. Aside from cruising through many ports with her son, her travels took her to places like Australia and Russia. This travel lust eventually led to a career as a tour bus hostess for a time.
Always having a thirst for knowledge, Wendy went back to college attending the University of Utah and graduated at the age of 51 with a B.A. degree in Gerontology as she was fascinated with the effects of human ageing. Another fascination of Wendy’s was the Utah Jazz. She was an avid fan who never missed a game.
Truly someone that had “no parallel” Wendy closed her life story in the family book “The Descendants of Duncan C. Crowley/Crolley”, from one of her favorite poets, “I have a promise to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” Her sleep came to pass on September 5, 2022 at the age of 91. As she wrote in her Fathers Obituary, and as the family says to her now, “Vaya Con Dios”.
Wendy is survived by her siblings, Jackie Crowley Curt, Mattie Crowley Payton, Nick (Shirley) Crowley, sister-in-law, Carol Kay (Strom) Crowley, children Richard Shane Williams, Lance Williams, Darren (Tina) Williams, Wendy Cecilia (Chris) Anderson, six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Wendy was preceded in death by her parents Ada Jones Crowley and Hyrum Smith Crowley Sr., brothers James Clenny Crowley and Hyrum Smith Crowley Jr., sister Utahna Colleen Crowley, brothers-in-law Ray Curt and Art Payton, grandchildren John Adam Smith and Tonya Lynn Smith.
Wendy’s wishes were to be cremated and laid to rest along side her mother. Therefore, a celebration of life will be held near to what would have been her 92nd birthday, May 13th, 2023, in Salt Lake City.