Emily Marchi Crinklaw, 88, spent 21 years living on a home-grown California avocado grove

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Emily Marchi Crinklaw
Emily Marchi Crinklaw

Emily Marchi Crinklaw, of Williamsburg, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, died July 16, 2015, at Brookdale Memory Unit after a long fight against dementia and related illness. She was 88.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York on Dec. 27, 1926, to Carlo and Rosa Marchi. She attended Queen of All Saints School until her family moved to Connecticut where she graduated from Newington High School, class of 1944.

She applied for and was accepted into the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps, attending New Britain General Hospital School of Nursing where she received her registered nurse diploma, class of 1947. WWII had ended and since the military no longer needed nurses she worked at McCook General Hospital until marrying in 1949. Her husband was a first class petty officer stationed at the New London Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut.

When her husband was selected to attend Officers Candidate School in 1953, she took all of the lessons of Welcome Aboard, a service manual for the naval officer’s wife, to heart and became the model hostess making all, whether enlisted or admiral, feel welcomed in her home.

Emily made many moves as her husband’s duty stations changed. Their adventures took them to Princeton, New Jersey; Key West, Florida; Hawaii; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Carmel, California to name a few.

The move to Hawaii in 1959 was most notable when the submarine her husband was assigned to was unexpectedly rotated from Norfolk to Pearl Harbor. She was given airplane tickets to San Francisco and a voucher for herself and two young children for passage on an Army Troop Transport Ship to Hawaii. Having never flown or traveled west she was the intrepid Navy wife and managed to arrive in Pearl Harbor about six hours after her husband, as directed by the command.

Following one month at this new duty station her husband was deployed, leaving her to settle in Navy housing just in time for her children to start the new school year. She was always there to assist and support her children in their transitions to new schools and environments.

Emily became interested in art when her husband attended the Naval Post Graduate School at Monterey. The final duty station was at NAS Pt. Mugu, Califronia where she took classes in oil painting. She continued with art lessons after her husband’s retirement from the Navy and they had settled in Malibu, California. She eventually focused her talents on calligraphy.

Emily and her husband retired to Fallbrook, California where they built a home and planted an avocado grove. She continued with her art work, edited the church paper for Christ the King Lutheran Church and was active in the Newcomers and Encore clubs, the North County San Diego Calligraphy Guild and the Antique Club. She also stayed busy with bridge, golf and dinner parties with close friends.

Summers were spent with the grandchildren who visited from Virginia and New York State. She kept the youngsters busy with day trips to the beach, Disneyland, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park along with activities on the avocado grove. She and her husband had 21 wonderful years on their grove and enriched the experience with travels to Italy to visit her relatives and to the British Isles and other countries on the European continent.

Emily is survived by her husband, Cmdr. Douglas Crinklaw; son, Douglas Jr., of Durango, Colorado and his children, Cmdr. J.D. Crinklaw, wife, Junko and their son and Kathleen Hughes, husband, Mark and four children; and daughter, Donna Crinklaw, husband, Dennis Kiser and children, Emily Crinklaw-Bunch and husband Brian, of Washington, D.C. and Matthew Crinklaw-Vogt, of Washington, D.C.

In accordance with her desire, a child of humble immigrants, she wanted to depart with no fanfare. There will be no visiting hours. A family service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made to the Respite Care Center of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, 500 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.

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