Cover photo for Keith Cruse's Obituary
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1938 Keith 2024

Keith Cruse

October 25, 1938 — January 18, 2024

Keith Leon Cruse, age 85, of Austin, Texas, passed away on January 18, 2024, in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was born on October 25, 1938, in Fort Wayne, Indiana to Don E. Cruse and Annetta Yaggy Cruse.

Keith is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Donna Goodenough Cruse; sons, Donny Cruse (Yvonne), Howard Cruse (Kathy), and Danny Watkins (Diana); daughters, Michele Martinets (Dale), and Shauna Denese Gola (Chris); brother, Tyler Cruse (Ruby); grandchildren, Amber Evans (Will Moller), D.J. Martinets (Diana), Cobey Cruse, Dalton Cruse, Devin Cruse, Alyssa Cruse, Jackson Gola, Lindsey Gola, Hannah Wostarek (Al), Isabel Watkins, and Maribel Watkins; great grandchildren, Parker Evans, Lillian Moller, Dale Martinets III, Brooklyn Wostarek, Carson Wostarek, and Riley Wostarek and his four-legged children, Lincoln, Dot, and Daisy Bell. Keith was preceded in death by his parents and first wife, Elizabeth Lee Cruse.

After graduating in 1956 as the Valedictorian of his class from Northeast High School in San Antonio, Keith pursued his passion for knowledge. In 1960 he graduated from Trinity University, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts specializing in mathematics, physics and education. In 1964, he received a Master of Science specializing in mathematics and education, also from Trinity University. Keith also pursued graduate studies in curriculum, instruction, and educational planning at the University of Texas at Austin from 1968 to 1972.

From 1959 to 1965, Keith dedicated himself to teaching math, physics and science at various levels, including junior high, high school, and college. In 1965, he joined the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and embarked on a prosperous career. At TEA, Keith served in various roles, including Mathematics Consultant, Program Director for Innovations, Director of Assessment, and Division Director for Educational Assessment.

Keith's career in student assessment began in 1979 when he implemented testing for basic skills as set by 66th Texas legislature. As the Director of Student Assessment Division, Keith was instrumental in developing the student testing program for the State of Texas. He implemented TABS, the initial state assessment, in 1980. From there he oversaw TEAMS (1986) and TAAS (1990). Keith retired as the Director of Student Assessment Division in 2002, before the state began using TAKS in 2003. Keith's leadership was recognized as he served as the President of the Board for the annual Texas Assessment Conference from its inception in 1986 until his death.

Throughout his career, Keith contributed extensively to national publications, authoring articles on planning and assessment. He also served as a consultant to several state departments of education and delivered presentations on testing, measurement, career education, and strategies for improving instruction. Keith had a distinguished career in education and student assessment leaving a lasting impact on the field.

Keith was a long-time Mason and member of the Alamo Lodge No. 44 A.F & A.M in San Antonio for more than 50 years.

Keith enjoyed a variety of hobbies. He had a love for cars from his father that he passed on to all. He enjoyed gardening, fishing, and watching sunsets. All of his four-legged children held a special place in his heart. His enthusiasm and energy helped him to make connections with many through his storytelling and mentoring.

Keith Leon Cruse will be remembered as a dedicated educator, a passionate learner, and a loving individual. His contributions to the field of education and his impact on the lives of students and colleagues will be cherished for generations to come.

A lakeside memorial gathering will take place behind the family home in Rockport to honor Keith's memory. For those wishing, memorial donations can be made to your favorite education fund or animal rescue organization in Keith's name The caring professionals at Charlie Marshall Funeral Home in Rockport, Texas, are assisting the family with cremation arrangements. We will be holding a celebration of life in Keith's honor in Austin at a later date.

If you wish to contact the family, you can email or mail at the below:

c/o The Martinets

802 Baywatch

Rockport, Texas 78382

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


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