Mildred Maurine Minter Caswell was born on March 24, 1926 to James Herbert and Ida Elizabeth Minter. She was the fourth child of eight.
Her family moved around a lot, looking for work during the depression years. In one of those moves, they ended up at Meadow, Texas. It was at Meadow, hoeing in the cotton fields, that she met Cletus Caswell. Cletus always said she was the one “who makes my heart go round and round and makes my socks roll up and down.” They met at the end of the rows, with her hoeing in one field, and he in another. Pretty soon they would just hoe long rounds together.
Cletus could not summon the courage to ask this pretty young thing out on a date, so he traded his best rooster to his little brother Neal, so Neal would ask her. Maurine said no. She would not go out with him until he could ask her himself. Rather than risk going out of the chicken business, Cletus finally did ask her out.
They decided they were going to get married when they were both 17. They went to several places to try to find one that would marry them at that age. Finally, one man told them to tell the next judge they were 18. Cletus, not wanting to lie about it, when asked how old they were replied, “We were told to tell you we were 18.” So the judge married them and Cletus didn’t have to lie. They married on October 16, 1943.
It wasn’t long afterward that duty called, and Cletus had to leave to serve his country. Maurine used to talk about hearing that train whistle taking him away. She said every time she heard a train; her heart would break all over again. He finally came home and they began to farm at Meadow. Two little girls were born into their lives. Debbie first in 1953 and Gina in 1955.
It was around this time that they both began to feel God’s call on their lives. Maurine had been saved at the little old church in Meadow. They rededicated their hearts and lives to Jesus in their bedroom, kneeling together on the floor. Soon afterward, Cletus surrendered to the ministry. They lived in Plainview while he went to Wayland.
Before long they moved to Union where Cletus served as pastor of the Union Baptist Church and Maurine served faithfully in her role as the pastor’s wife. She worked so hard at the church, doing whatever was needed, even to the point of being the janitor at the church for a time. She taught so many classes and loved all the kids. They later served at the Woodrow Baptist Church, before moving back to Union.
Maurine loved sports of all types. She loved to watch the old Saturday night black and white wrestling matches on TV and loved watching the Cowboys back in the heyday when the Cowboys were America’s Team. She was a subscriber to the Dallas Cowboy Weekly. Cletus would remind her when she would be yelling at the television, “Mother! They can’t hear you.” She made sure he always knew when the Cowboys had the noon game on Sunday, so he would be through preaching in time.
She loved watching her girls play basketball, tennis, or whatever they were doing. She minced no words if she thought her own daughters were not playing their best. They remember hearing her yelling at them from the stands, or rather, yelling at the coach. “If she isn’t going to play any better than that, then take her out!” But she never missed a game if she could help it.
Later in life, she became mother to another little girl, Josie. This little girl was 15 and needed a home and she found one with the Caswell family, for sure. She was always just like their own daughter. Maurine also enjoyed watching Josie play sports also, and yelled at her just like she did Debbie and Gina! She was serious about doing your best!
Maurine also worked at Anthony’s Department Store for many years and had so much fun laughing with the people with whom she worked.
Cletus went home to be with Jesus in 2015. Maurine said she knew that God would come get her when He had her house finished. As time went on, Maurine was heard to say, “Well, I know my house is going to be a lot nicer than Cletus’s. God has been working on mine a whole lot longer.” Finally, she did get to see her home in heaven and we are grateful for that promise fulfilled.
Maurine was preceded in death by her husband Cletus, her son-in-law Mike Kelly, a granddaughter, as well as her parents, and brothers Ralph and Jack, and sisters Era Lea, Gertie, and Linda.
She leaves behind her daughters - Debbie Caswell, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Gina Kelly, of Brownfield, and Josie Alvarez and husband Bobby, of Midland. She also leaves grandchildren - Kristy and Jesse Garcia, Kyle and Carol Kelly, Caleb Caswell-Levy and Madison Allen Caswell-Levy, Noah Caswell-Levy and Stephanie Busby, Sarah Alvarez and Macy Alvarez. And great-grandchildren Tabitha Garcia, Ariana Garcia, Ein Martinez, Kenneth Martus, and Braylon Bruno.
She also leaves brothers Rick Minter and wife Wendy, and Dickie Minter and wife Delores, as well as sisters-in-law Ladoyce Caswell, Rowena Caswell, and Norma Carol Caswell. And many, many nieces and nephews.
The family wants to thank Patty Ward and the wonderful staff at Cottage Village for their care these last few years. She could not have had a better final home or better care. Also, thanks to Legacy of Love Hospice for their awesome care. And certainly, Tomasa Longoria who cared for Maurine at home until she had to move to Cottage Village.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to First Baptist Church, Brownfield.
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