Joseph Robert “Joe Bob” Croley

Joseph Robert “Joe Bob” Croley, age 93, currently of Kingwood, Texas, and formerly a long-time resident of Cleveland, Texas, passed away on June 1, 2023, at his home after a long battle with heart disease. His loving wife of 67 years, Annie Lee (Carnes) Croley, along with his other family members and friends will greatly miss him.

Joe Bob was born in Houston, Texas, on February 27, 1930, to Anna Lorine (Allen) and Joseph M. Croley. Joe Bob was the oldest of three brothers. His family lived in Houston where he attended school, including Reagan High School. His mother died when he was 14 years old. A year later, Joe Bob went to live with his grandparents, Mae Robert (Mimmie) and Thomas A. (Dae) Allen in Huntsville, Texas, where he attended and graduated from Huntsville High School.

Joe Bob was very outgoing and friendly. He helped others and was always trying to learn as much as he could from people by asking many questions. When he was a junior in high school, Joe Bob caught a calf in the calf scramble at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. After raising this calf for a year and winning Grand Champion steer in the Huntsville show, he sold it and was able to pay a portion of his tuition to Texas A&M. After graduating from A&M with a degree in Animal Husbandry, Joe Bob married Annie Lee (Carnes) Croley. Joe Bob and Annie Lee moved with their two children, Julie and Alan, to Cleveland, Texas, in 1962.

They attended the First Methodist Church in Cleveland and had a very happy life. In 1965, Joe Bob opened a Sears catalog store in Cleveland and retired in 1993 when Sears stopped printing their famous catalog.

Throughout his life, Joe Bob Croley volunteered his time to help others. He lived a life of service. Joe Bob was a church and community leader. He was the president and/or chairman of most of the organizations/boards of which he was a member. Many people were positively affected by his generous spirit. Joe Bob and Annie Lee loved playing games.

They encouraged others to join in the fun by teaching games – including bridge – to willing participants. Joe Bob was the patriarch of both sides of the family. A great void has been left by his passing.

Joe Bob is preceded in death by his grandparents, his parents, his in-laws, Josephine and Alton Carnes, both his brothers, Charles E. Croley and James M. “Jim” Croley. Joe Bob is survived by his wife, Annie Lee; his son, Alan Croley; his daughter, Julie Payne and husband, Richard; his grandchildren, Avery Croley, Aaron Croley, Stephen Payne and Robert Payne and wife, Stephanie; his great-grandchildren, Adam Payne, Serenity Camacho, and Christopher Camacho and fiancée, Karissa Mendoza, and many other family members and friends.

Visitation will be held in the Pace-Stancil Chapel in Cleveland, Texas, on Wednesday, June 7, from 5-6:30 p.m. The funeral service is scheduled for Thursday, June 8, at 11 a.m., in the Pace-Stancil Chapel.

The graveside service will be on Thursday, June 8, at 3 p.m. at Woodlawn Cemetery in Houston, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the First Methodist Church Cleveland.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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