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How the Crabtree Family Kept Cancer from Having the Last Word
/ July 13, 2015
 Dr. Bill and Mrs. Bonita Crabtree

Bonita Crabtree speaks warmly of her late husband, Dr. William “Bill” Crabtree. They met on a blind date, married one year later and celebrated nearly 60 years together. But their storybook—albeit humble—life together was not without its struggles. Their personal triumphs are ultimately what stirred a desire to help others.

After working a few years as PE instructor and basketball coach in Pleasant Plains and Cave City, Ark., Bill decided to follow his dream and moved his young family to Memphis to study dentistry. A congenital kidney disease almost kept him from graduating and passing his state exams, but a fiery determination kept him on track. Dr. Crabtree was a beloved dentist and community leader in Paragould for nearly 50 years, coaching little league baseball and refereeing basketball games. 

Bill battled cancer twice and ultimately lost his life to lymphoma. When he was too ill to travel commercially, the nonprofit organization Pilots for Christ flew him to and from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The couple often discussed philanthropy and a desire to give back to the organizations that helped them. Bill quoted one of his dental school professors, saying “with privileges, come responsibilities.” Bonita states her belief simply: “Leave things better than when you came.” 

With the counsel of trusted friend Bill Fisher, Bonita created two endowments at Arkansas Community Foundation of Greene County. The Dr. William Lee and Bonita R. Crabtree Dental Scholarship Endowment honors her husband’s memory and “eases the financial pressure for dental students so that they can focus on their studies.” The Bonita R. and William L. Crabtree Endowment will also leave a permanent legacy to other organizations that were close to their hearts, including Pilots for Christ.

Your charitable giving is an expression of your values and life experiences. You can provide long-term support for organizations that have supported you during times of struggle in your own life; Arkansas Community Foundation can help. 

Contact us to find out how you can begin your charitable legacy today: Call us, 501-372-1116, or reach out to Ashley Coldiron to set up a meeting. 

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