Cover photo for Joyce C Crabiel's Obituary
1939 Joyce 2023

Joyce C Crabiel

March 27, 1939 — July 19, 2023


Joyce (Creighton) Crabiel, of Milltown, passed away peacefully in the Penthouse, with her family by her side, on Wednesday, July 19, 2023.  She was 84.

Born in New Brunswick, she lived in Milltown for the first year of her life.  The youngest of six, her family then moved to a farm in Monmouth Junction where she grew up.  Farm life was always adventurous.  She recalled not having any indoor plumbing and owning a horse.  Most amazing was every morning she would walk down the long driveway to catch the school bus.  The farm animals that she considered pets, the rabbit, lamb and dog, would accompany her to the bus stop.  When she came home, the same animals would be there waiting for her at the bus stop.

Family was very important to mom and she was always there for them.  She never forgot the struggles of her younger life on the farm.  During WWII, her three older brothers joined the armed forces.  Mom was the only one of her siblings to graduate high school (Jamesburg HS) and she felt tremendous gratitude to her sister Claire, who had to quit school at 14 to help raise her.

She met her future husband, David B. Crabiel, when he handled her father’s funeral.  They were married in the Penthouse (above the funeral home) and she lived there for 12 years, until moving to Durst Drive.  Beginning with living in the Penthouse and continuing through the rest of her life, Mom loved to entertain, have dinner parties and always had room at the holiday table for friends.

She had a 30 year companionship with Stephen Bumball and they enjoyed traveling the world together, going on Indian arrowhead excavations and historical auctions.

Joyce was a longtime employee of Lutz Shafranski Gorman & Mahoney Law Firm in New Brunswick, which she really enjoyed.  Joyce’s first job was in high school, at Parker Nursing Home in New Brunswick.  She became a telephone operator for NJ Bell and worked there until she married.  Previously she had worked for Busch Campus food services in the cafeteria for a short time.

Mom was raised Catholic, but joined the Methodist Church when she married our father.  She was a very active member of the United Methodist Church in Milltown.  She served on the Parish Staff Relations board and was a member of the United Methodist Women.

She was a hard worker who gave tirelessly to any organization she belonged to.  She was well known for having her “Holiday Tea” fundraisers, for both the Milltown Historical Society, where she was past President, and the United Methodist Women.  She belonged to the Tara Society and the Milltown Garden Club.  She also was the “host” of many get togethers at her home.  She was still meeting her high school friends for lunch, once a month.

She was a huge Yankee Fan, who only got cable so she could watch the Yankees.  She became a fan after taking David to Yankee games when he was younger.  She collected antique dolls and dollhouses.  She was most proud of her brother Bob’s dollhouse that he built for Paulette (modeled after the funeral home) and his largest dollhouse, an English Tudor that he made for her. She enjoyed gardening, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, writing whimsical poems and reading her Amish books.

Our mother was the strongest, most independent, cheerleader for her kids, that you could know.  She taught us how to entertain and have fun.  Although a little quiet and shy, she could be quite funny.  Always ready to break out in a song or dance the jitterbug with Paulette, or teaching David Joseph how to fish.  She was always there for us and was our biggest defender.   She loved her grandchildren and her home was a second home to them.  She was the designated “class trip” mom.  She was a tremendous baker and cook of all comfort foods.  She gave the most thoughtful gifts, whether it be Barbie ornaments for Paulette or family heirlooms.

Joyce is predeceased by her former husband David B. Crabiel (d. 2008) and her longtime companion Stephen Bumball (d. 2005); her parents Eldred and Marion (Gebhard) Creighton; her brothers Eldred, George, Earl and Robert Creighton, and her sister Claire Lewless.

Surviving are her loving children, her daughter and son-in-law Paulette Joy and Mayor Brian C. Wahler of Piscataway, her son and daughter-in-law David J. and Joan Crabiel of Belfast, ME; her beloved grandchildren Olivia Wahler (fiancé Christian Davis), Brian C. (BC) Wahler Jr., David A. Crabiel, Michael C. Wahler and James D. Crabiel; her sister-in-law Irene Creighton of Santee, SC; several nieces and nephews and many dedicated friends throughout her life.  

Friends and relatives may call on Friday, July 21st, from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at The Crabiel Home for Funerals, 170 N Main St.-at Riva Avenue, Milltown.  A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, 10:00 am, at The United Methodist Church, 47 North Main Street, Milltown.  Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Piscataway.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to either the Milltown Rescue Squad, POB 308, Milltown NJ 08850, United Methodist Women, 47 N Main St, Milltown NJ 08850 or the Milltown Historical Society, POB 96, Milltown NJ 08850.

You may sign the online condolence “guestbook” at

We wish to thank the VNA Hospice for their dedicated nurses, mom’s caregivers Mira and Amy, and all of her family and friends.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joyce C Crabiel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, July 21, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, July 22, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

United Methodist Church

47 N Main St, Milltown, NJ 08850

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Saturday, July 22, 2023

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Resurrection Cemetery

Hoes Ln, Piscataway, NJ 08854

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