It was winter in Missouri in 1931, during a very bad snow storm when baby Lois McCrary decided it was time to be born. Her father, Spencer A. McCrary and some neighbors had to clear a path through the snow drifts to their farm so that the doctor could get there to deliver the baby. Lois was the youngest of four children.

It was winter in Missouri in 1931, during a very bad snow storm when baby Lois McCrary decided it was time to be born. Her father, Spencer A. McCrary and some neighbors had to clear a path through the snow drifts to their farm so that the doctor could get there to deliver the baby. Lois was the youngest of four children.

Spencer McCrary and his wife Stella Earickson McCrary were farmers. They raised Angus cattle, hogs and grain to feed them. He also raised the biggest and best watermelons in the area. Stella McCrary raised chickens and turkeys. It was during the depression years and times were hard for everyone. Lois said that they would eat the hogs and chickens but the cattle and turkeys were for marketing.

When Lois was sixteen, her father died in a farm accident. He had a new young pair of mules that he had purchased for farming. When hauling hay, he was standing on the back of the wagon when the mules were spooked by a snake. The mules jumped, knocked him off the wagon, and the fall broke his neck. He died the next day.

Lois’s mother sold the farm and moved to Fayette, a nearby town. She took in laundry to help support Lois and herself and to be able to get social security. Lois was in high school in Fayette and during the summers and after school she worked in a restaurant and later in a drug store as a soda jerk.

After graduating from high school, Lois went to Chillicothe Business School in Chillicothe, Missouri, where she took business courses like shorthand and bookkeeping. Her first job was secretary for a State Representative in the Missouri State Legislature. After that she worked in the State Veterinarian’s Office in Jefferson City, Missouri. After that she worked for the State Motor Vehicle Registration Office. In 1942, during WWII, Lois moved to San Diego where she worked for the San Diego Board of Education for two years. She worked in the Child Guidance Department that dealt with troubled children. Then she moved back to Missouri and returned to work at the State Motor Vehicle Department. Her next position was with the State Attorney General’s office as a legal secretary. She took briefs in short hand and when typed they went to the State Supreme Court. The Attorney General was John M. Dalton who ran for Governor of Missouri. When he was elected he took Lois with him and she worked in the Governor’s office for the next four years. That Governor’s term ended, so Lois became secretary to another State Representative.

In about 1944, Lois moved to Lee’s Summit which was a suburb of Kansas City where she worked at Westinghouse Electric Corporation. She was secretary to the Supervisor of Manufacturing Engineering who was retired Colonel A.J. Spurlock. He was very militaristic. Westinghouse had a government contract to build jet engines. The first time the colonel called Lois in to take dictation, he was making a report on parts of the jet engine. Lois said, “He was naming specific parts of the engine, and there were no short hand symbols for those terms. I did my best to write the terms in longhand, but I had no idea what they were or how to spell them. When I typed up the document and took it to his office, I heard him laughing and laughing. He called me in and asked what all that garbage was in the report. Then he pointed to a chart on the wall and told me to memorize the parts of the engine so that would not happen again. I was lucky he didn’t fire me.”

Don M. Thomason, a man who knew Lois when she worked for the Governor of Missouri, was appointed by President Jack Kennedy as the Regional Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, aka “War on Poverty.” He contacted Lois and asked her to come and work for him as his personal secretary. It was a brand new agency that had to hire an all new staff. Lois had to help Thomason learn the federal hiring regulations and purchasing laws for governmental offices. She said that it was complicated and hectic. She worked there until the Republican Party came into power and new heads of offices were appointed.

It was time for a new job. She was hired as a secretary and then promoted to Civil Rights Investigator for the Department of Health Education and Welfare. She investigated elementary and secondary schools for possible incidents of federal civil rights violations and later she investigated hospitals and nursing homes.

By this time, Lois was living in Raytown which was a suburb of Kansas City, where she purchased a house. Her next door neighbor was a retired widower named Jewell (Joe) E. Carter. Lois had a two-car garage with a wide driveway that had to be cleaned off when it snowed so she could get to work. One day Joe felt sorry for her so he came over to help. They started talking and getting acquainted which led to dating. After about eighteen months they were married. The couple continued to live there in Raytown until 1991.

During the years that Lois lived in Raytown, she went from a civil rights investigator to the Regional Manager of the Civil Rights Office of the Department of Health and Human Services. When she retired in May 1991, she had twenty-six and one-half years in Federal Government Service. At her retirement party she was presented with a United States Congressional citation for her years of service that states in part:

“Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of this Congress an exemplary American who has served this Nation with distinction, dedication, and compassion for over 25 years. Simply stated, Ms. Lois Carter, is one of the few women employed by the U.S. government who rose from the lower ranks of the civil service and became the senior official of HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, through sheer hard work, dedication to duty, and a compelling mission to bring about equality of legal and economic opportunities for all Americans in need.“ Etc…. Signed by: Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally, United States House of Representatives, Thirty-first District, California.

Joe and Lois retired to the Ozark’s Methodist Manor, a Methodist retirement community in July, 1991, in Marionville, Missouri which is twenty-five miles from Springfield. Over the next three years they spent winters in Arizona, Florida and south Texas. They then purchased a mobile home in Alamo, South Texas. After their second winter in Texas, Joe developed cancer and passed away in a short time. After his passing, Lois stayed in Texas for three more winters and then sold the mobile home. She continued to live at the Ozark’s Methodist Manor for another twenty-one years.

During those years, Lois traveled with a travel agency out of Springfield taking a big vacation every year. She has been in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. She also has been in many countries; Russia, England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Finland, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Algeria, Scotland, Monaco and Mexico. Lois said, “It has been one of the many blessings in my life to get to travel to all these places and meet so many wonderful people of all races and nationalities.

Because of declining health and the need to be closer to family, Lois moved from Missouri to Shawnee and Primrose Retirement Community in April of 2016. She said that it was very difficult for her to leave Missouri and her many friends there, but the people at Primrose have been very warm and welcoming to her.

Note: Story submitted by Pat Gaines on behalf of Primrose.