Cover photo for Elayne Dougan Freeman Crittenden's Obituary
Elayne Dougan Freeman Crittenden Profile Photo
1923 Elayne 2020

Elayne Dougan Freeman Crittenden

October 29, 1923 — May 7, 2020

Elayne Crittenden, age 96 of Charleston, passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 7, 2020, at Grace Healthcare of Decatur.  She was a native of Michigan who moved to Cleveland to work as a cook in the Tomlinson Home for Children.  While working there she attended Wildwood Avenue Church of God of Prophecy.  It was at church that she met her first husband, Wayne Freeman.  Wayne was a farmer and worked for the state highway department.  The two married in 1953, and settled on a small farm outside of Cleveland, TN.  The couple was blessed with a daughter, Linda, in 1955 and a son, Dennis, in 1958.  The small family continued to be active in the church on Wildwood Avenue.  Elayne was a typical homemaker of the 1950s and 1960s.  She worked hard sewing; cooking; cleaning; canning vegetables from the family garden; freezing chicken, pork and beef; and canning honey Wayne harvested from his bee hives.  Since the family worked a farm, vacations were fun but simple; typically a picnic at Fields of the Woods or Parksville Lake, picking blueberries in the mountains, or a trip to Lake Winnepesaukah amusement park in Chattanooga.

Tragedy, however, intervened in 1968 when Wayne died unexpectedly.  Being left with two small children, Elayne chose to remain on the family farm and work at various places to make ends meet.  She was an experienced cook and work hired to cook for the head start school program.  She obtained her GED in 1972 having quit school early in life to help her family in Michigan make ends meet during the great depression.  Also being an experienced seamstress, Elayne eventually changed jobs to work for Faye Swafford Originals, a company in Cleveland that made purses and handbags.

In 1970 Elayne met Stanton Crittenden, a widower, who attended East Cleveland Church of God.  The two were both very active in their respective churches.  The two were active in their churches while dating, but once they married they both felt a strong call to work together at the newly established Union Grove Church of God of Prophecy in the Tasso area.  Elayne’s passion for and dedication to attending and working in the Union Grove church would last for nearly 50 years.

The Union Grove church building was the site of the second General Assembly of the Church of God in 1907.  Elayne and Stanton Crittenden were married in the Union Grove church in 1971.  The church building was destroyed by a series of tornadoes that struck the southeast in April of 1974.  Looking at the total destruction of the church and the fact that the congregation was very small, some may have thought the church would have to be disbanded;  but under the supervision of the pastor of the church Henry Callis the members were able to build an entire new building that was bigger and better than what had been destroyed.  Instead of a one room church with outhouses there was a new church with a sanctuary, bathrooms, and two Sunday School rooms (later expanded to five).

Sadly, Elayne’s married life was again cut short when Stanton passed away in 1980.  Nontheless, Elayne’s desire to live on the farm close to her beloved local church remained.  She continued to work until her retirement in 1985.  Over the next 35 years under various pastors Elayne served in many capacities at Union Grove:  Sunday School teacher, women’s missionary leader, Vacation Bible school worker, treasurer, cemetery director and “person who turned on the heat or AC a couple of hours before Sunday morning worship”.  In 2015 Elayne was named a deaconess in the Church of God of Prophecy at the age of 91.  She continued to serve faithfully.

For nearly 50 years the Union Grove church fluctuated in congregation size.  The regular attendance varied from as few as 6 to as much as 60.  All thru those nearly 50 years there was one constant at Union Grove – Elayne Crittenden.  In her later years Elayne’s strength began to wane and she could not do as much as she would have liked at the church but she was always there if at all possible.  Gene and Edwina Dasher and other church members would pick up Elayne and take her to church during her last three years as she no longer felt safe driving.  Elayne last attended church at Union Grove on Sunday March 1, 2020.  The following week she was diagnosed with liver cancer.  She was released from the hospital and remained in her home that she loved so much for three more weeks before entering Grace Healthcare of Decatur, TN on March 27, 2020.

Elayne’s Uncle Glen lived to the age of 97 years.  During her last few years Elayne said she wanted to beat Uncle Glen’s longevity record.  Elayne passed into heaven at the age of 96 ½ years, not quite accomplishing this last goal.  Elayne was reunited in heaven with all her brothers and sisters as her last remaining sibling, Donna Huber, passed away, 3 days later on May 10, 2020.

Elayne was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Hazel Dougan, and seven siblings:  Arvin Dougan, Elwood Dougan, Arlene Hamlin, Arnold Dougan, Gaylord Dougan, Noris Dougan, and Doris Mack.  Elayne preceded her youngest sister, Donna Huber, in death by three days.

Elayne was also preceded in death by two husbands, Wayne Freeman (1968) and Stanton Crittenden (1980), one step-son, Leonard Crittenden, two step-daughters Barbara Haney and Louise (Jack) Bandy; and one step-son, Alan Haney.

She is survived by a daughter, Linda Randolph and husband Mike; grandson, Chris Randolph; a son, Dennis Freeman and wife Debbie; grandson, David Freeman; step-grandsons, Dean Bandy and wife Dorthe, Steve Bandy and wife Shaina, Sam Bandy and wife Lisa; step-granddaughter, Sarah Gentry; step-grandson; Dewayne Haney; step-granddaughters, Luann Haney, Joy Haney, Rhonda Haney Howard; and several nieces, nephews and step-great grandchildren.

Due to COVID-19 a memorial service will be announced later.

You are encouraged to share a memory of Elayne and/or your personal condolences with her family by visiting her memorial webpage and guestbook at www.serenityofcleveland.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elayne Dougan Freeman Crittenden, please visit our flower store.

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