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1927 Thelma 2023

Thelma J. Crist

February 7, 1927 — May 27, 2023

El Paso

Thelma J. Crist passed away on Saturday May 27, 2023 at her home in El Paso, Texas at the age of 96. She was born February 7, 1927 in Sproul, Pennsylvania, daughter of the late Charles O. Black and Della V. (Benton) Black. She was preceded in death by her husband of seventy years, Neal S. Crist as well as her sisters, Pearl Fornwalt and Peggy Burk, and brother, William Black.  She is survived by her son Colonel Rodney S. Crist (USAF, Retired), his wife Evelyne, seven nieces and nephews and their children. 

Thelma graduated from Claysburg (Pennsylvania) High School in 1945. She married Neal on March 3, 1948 and began her adventure as an U.S. Air Force wife. Neal and Thelma crisscrossed the country during his career living in Washington, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maine, Texas, and New York. They first lived in El Paso in the early 1960’s and returned to El Paso in 1971 to retire.

Thelma was a loving wife and mother who was extremely proud of her only son. She enjoyed reading, board games and crossword puzzles. During retirement, she and Neal enjoyed river and Caribbean cruises, annual trips to Las Vegas, and frequent trips to attend Neal’s U.S. Air Force unit reunions. They also visited Rod and Evelyne in Paris, Brussels, and wherever they were stationed stateside.

After her husband passed away in 2018 Thelma lived at home for six months before moving to the Royal Estates of El Paso retirement community. In 2021, after a brief hospitalization she returned to her home where she was cared for by the fantastic team at Home Instead.

Committal Service will begin at 10 am in the West Shelter on Monday, June 5, 2023 at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to the American Red Cross (

To send flowers to the family in memory of Thelma J. Crist, please visit our flower store.


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