HAMPTON - Mercedes Smith Crum, a lifelong resident of Hampton and a member of the Wythe Presbyterian Church, died on Saturday April 11, at the age of 88, at the Riverside Convalescent Center.
Born in 1921 to Lawrence and Alma Smith of Hollywood Avenue, she was one of five children. Her brothers and sisters, who all preceded her in death were, Louis Smith, William Kent Smith, Alberta Smith Adams and Lawrence Smith.
Mercedes graduated from Hampton High School in 1938. Soon after, she married Blaine Crum Jr., a founding partner of Crum's Bakeries, who would be a loving partner for 69 years. They reared four children and supervised the care of a youngest child with Down's syndrome. In 1958, 20 years after leaving high school, Mrs. Crum entered the Norfolk College of William and Mary; in 1962, she graduated with a bachelor of science in elementary education and with the highest ranking in her class. Following graduation, Mrs. Crum began her career as an elementary school teacher with Hampton City Schools. She was soon promoted to the position of the first Director of Special Education, a newly created program. She served with distinction for 12 years before returning to the classroom. She was both highly respected by her colleagues and devoted to her students, emphasizing to them the importance of making the most of their individual talents. She worked tirelessly to educate and support those with special needs.
Mrs. Crum was a member and past president of the PEO educational organization. She was a founding member of the Wythe Presbyterian Church and the first woman to be selected as an elder in the church. Whether in her profession, at home or at church, Mrs. Crum set an enduring example for personal responsibility and attention to the needs of others that forged unshakeable friendships and the lasting devotion of her family, friends and colleagues. Her strong faith, eternal optimism and easy laughter lifted many a heavy heart.
The family extends its heartfelt appreciation to the Riverside Convalescent Center, on Algonquin Road, friends and family for caring for Mrs. Crum the past 6 years.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Blaine Cecil Crum Jr.; daughter, Alma Crum Piggins; and son, David Stewart Crum.
She is survived by her sons, Blaine Cecil Crum III and wife, Lynda of Mobile, Ala., Lawrence Edward Crum and wife, Kathy of Chesapeake, Va., and Christopher Paul Crum and wife, Tucker of Brookline, Mass.; seven grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; 14 nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, at R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home. The funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, by the Rev. Susan H. Cothran, at the R. Hayden Smith Funeral Home, with interment to follow in Peninsula Memorial Park.
The family requests that donations in Mrs. Crum's name be directed to the Wythe Presbyterian Church, 151 Robinson Road, Hampton VA 23661. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at dailypress.com/guestbooks.