Robert Crum

Robert "Bob" Crum Febrruary 25, 1927 – March 19, 2013 Bob Crum, longtime fruit salesman in Palisade and the Grand Valley area, and resident of Brandon, FL, passed peacefully on March 19, 2013, surrounded by those dearest to him. Robert Warren "Bob" Crum was born February 25, 1927, in Homeland, Florida. A fourth generation native Floridian on both sides of his family, Bob was very proud of his "Cracker" heritage. Bob served in the Army during World War II and later graduated from his treasured University of Florida in 1952. He was a lifelong avid "Gator" who always generously supported the university and lived "a life of orange and blue". A man of many and varied interests, Bob savored life to the fullest and most enjoyed his time as a pilot, having logged several thousand hours in his Beechcraft Bonanzas. Bob made frequent trips to Canada, from Florida to Colorado and vice versa, as well as to many "away" Gator football games. In addition, Bob was a proud member of the Ancient Order of Quiet Birdmen (QB's) and the Confederate Air Force, attached to the Rocky Mountain Wing. Bob's first experience selling peaches came in 1953, shortly after his college graduation, as a salesman at United Fruit Growers in Palisade. At that time, the peach harvest was very different from today's harvest, with only two main varieties of peaches. Twenty four hour activity during the harvest was the norm, as was the use of railroad cars to ship a far greater volume of peaches than is shipped from the Palisade area today. The main office of Bob's produce sales has been in Florida for over 50 years but every summer Bob would pack up belongings from his Tampa area office and home and relocate to this area where he would represent numerous entities. In his long local tenure, 1953- 2012, Bob was a salesman/broker for UFGA, Schmieding Bothers, Mountain Lion and, beginning in 1980, his own company, The Bob Crum Company. When UFGA closed its doors, Bob, along with Sowell Orchards, seized the opportunity to purchase the renowned "Mountain Lion" label. With his partner, Hugh Coachman, Lakeland, Bob continued marketing fruit for Sowell Orchards using this label. All those privileged to know and work with Bob would describe him as a man of unquestionable character, honor and integrity; he was the consummate Southern gentleman. Bob's generosity, soft spoken manner, quiet and caring ways will be missed by all who knew who knew him. Bob leaves behind his beloved companion of 28 years, Kaia Elam; daughters, Gayle Stamler, Jill Crum and Teri Susak; Karen Elam Solomon and Stephanie Elam, and Cynthia (Sissy) Waldron. He is also survived by sons-in-law, Michael Stamler, Howard Solomon and Thomas Yanish; eight grandchildren and three nephews. A memorial celebration of Bob's life was held at the Methodist Church in Homeland (FL) Historical State Park on Saturday, March 23, 2013, with a private internment to be held at a later date. Donations in Bob's honor may be made to Homeland Cemetery Association, Inc., P.O. Box 79, Homeland, FL 33847. Cards and other remembrances will also be welcomed to Kaia Elam, c/o Bob Crum Co., P.O. Box 809, Valrico, FL 33509.

Published in The Daily Sentinel on Mar. 31, 2013