Her maiden name is emblazoned atop one of McKinney’s signature buildings along East Louisiana Street. She is a life-long McKinney resident whose caretaker still drivers her around the square at least once every single day of the week…after all, Beatty likes to be in the thick of things. In celebration of her 93rd birthday, McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller proclaimed Oct 17, 2013 as Violet Joyce Crouch Beatty Day.
McKinney resident Linda Spina had the opportunity to interview Beatty in front of a group of fellow members of The Owl Club, a women’s organization which is the oldest operating women’s club in Texas, of which Beatty has been a member since 1998.
Beatty shared with the group how the McKinney square was home to four pharmacies, banks, grocery stores and even a small department store. Everything seemed simpler back then. That is until Beatty shared a story about nearly getting swallowed up by a well in her yard. She said her father couldn’t stand making his coffee with the city water pumped through the tap. (Some things never change.)
Beatty survived the near-miss at the well. She survived the devastating tornado of May 3, 1948 that took three lives. She also survived being a school teacher. She gave it her best but decided she needed to pursue other career options after having to teach in a cramped back room next to the school’s theater. Following her short-lived teaching career, Beatty worked at Texas Power & Light, taking the InterUrban Trolley to and from Dallas. Beatty received her higher education from the Texas State College for Women and North Texas College in Denton, where she majored in business.
Eventually, Beatty decided to to work for the family’s funeral business. Her great-grandfather, Isaac Crouch, was a pioneer in furniture and coffin making and passed along the craft to his son, Beatty’s father. The “Crouch” name is still visible on the building at 110 E. Louisiana Street, where it all began. The building burned in the 1920s, but the family rebuilt the structure while they maintained operations in the building where Doug and Lynda’s Ski Shop is today. Ultimately, the Crouch family decided to lease out 110 E. Louisiana and build a new funeral home that is still in operation today as the Charles W. Smith & Sons Funeral Home (601 S. Tennessee St.), although the families are not related.
Beatty worked at Crouch Funeral Home from the mid 1940s until the family sold in 1970.
It is difficult for many of us to imagine the McKinney of yesterday. A majority of us aren’t natives so it gives us perspective to hear and learn about McKinney’s history from someone like Violet Crouch Beatty, a woman who has seen and experienced many changes in her 93 years. Happy Birthday, Violet!