LaRue Christie died in Fruita, Colo., on July 31, 2008, at age 69 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. She had been living in the Alzheimer’s residential care unit of Family Health Care West since April 4, 2007. She died peacefully with daughters Cappie, Dane, Raelyn, and husband Lance at her side.
LaRue was born in Fort Worth, Tex., in 1939 to Jerome and Captolias Crocker. She was the original “Betty Crocker;” General Mills didn’t invent her name for their cake mix line until 1956.
LaRue is survived by her husband of 33 years, Richard Lance Christie, of the home in Moab; father, Jerry Crocker, and half-brother, Don (Nonda), of Huntington, Ind.; half-sisters, Delores “Dodie” (Dick) Tallmadge, of Portland, Ore., and Wanda (Pete) Liebig, of Lakeside, Calif.; youngest half-brother, Jerry Jr., of LeGrande, Ore.; daughters, Cappie (Sid) Hausman, of Tesuque, N.M., Annadane (Scott) Spencer, of Santa Fe, N.M., Raelyn Largura, of Santa Barbara, Calif., and step-daughter, Anna Michele Maurin, of Dallas, Tex.; and eight grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her mother, Captolias, and first husband, Johnny Lucas.
After dropping out of high school to parent Cappie, LaRue tested into admission at Texas State University at Arlington. She lived in Europe for several years before completing her undergraduate degree in psychology at Northridge State University in California. As an undergraduate she had research published in the “Journal of the American Psychological Association” and was admitted to the University of California at Los Angeles graduate psychology program on a regent’s scholarship – as a single mother with three daughters. She earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from UCLA in 1976, having met Lance at UCLA, where he was a graduate student in social psychology.
Lance and LaRue moved to Santa Fe, N.M., in 1974 when Lance was hired to help create a N.M. Health and Environment Department. After completing her doctoral research in Los Alamos, N.M., LaRue held various positions as director of research and evaluation for first offender, drug abuse, and mental health programs, did educational diagnoses for special education placement, and consulted as a statistician to the office of the governor in reapportionment litigation.
In 1984 Lance and LaRue became self-employed partners in a real estate restoration and management business. From 1980 on, Lance and LaRue were involved as volunteer board members in various environmental non-profit organizations – LaRue always seemed to get elected board treasurer. From 1974 until separation due to illness, Lance and LaRue worked together day and night as colleagues and partners. They camped, hiked and ran rivers in their beloved slickrock country together every week for over 20 years when they weren’t dancing.
As she wished, LaRue’s body was donated for medical research.
Lance will organize a wake and celebration of LaRue’s life for family and friends in Moab this fall.