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Robert Cellis Alfred Crum, 83, passed away Monday, April 5, 2010, at his home in Vienna.
Answering a divine call to the ministry at the age of 17, he served the Lord faithfully, pastoring churches for nearly 67 years, until his death. Known as Cellis or "Preacher," he was born on July 16, 1926, the son of Henry Ellis and Dolla Mae (Wagner) Crum of Vienna. He graduated from Vienna High School in 1945, and attended Southwest Baptist College in Bolvar, for one semester, during which time he met his future wife, Edith Rosanne Frederickson. They were married on December 22, 1945. Both Cellis and Edith felt led by God to serve in bi-vocational ministry, making it possible for them to minister to smaller churches. To support their family Cellis worked as a laborer, lineman and electrician for Union Electric Company while Edith worked as an elementary school educator. In ministry, Cellis preached and pastored, while Edith played the piano, taught Sunday school, and assisted administratively. Cellis retired from Union Electric Company in 1983 after 30 years of service with the company. Part of a dying breed of country preachers, Preacher Crum was known for his wit, wisdom, humor, which he used to great effect in ministry. A man of great compassion and sincerity, he was tireless in sharing the gospel and reaching out to others in need. Although diligent in preparation, Preacher Crum rarely used notes or outlines for his sermons, preferring to engage listeners directly fro the hear. Whether sharing God's word with one person or fifty, Preacher Cum was a personal "soul winner," and throughout his ministry hundreds responded by making a profession of faith in Christ. Preacher Crum was pastor of Spring Valley Baptist Church in Henley, for a total of 35 years. Other pastorates included Little Flock Baptist Church in Vienna, and Green Ridge Baptist Church in Eldon. He was licensed to preach at the Terry Baptist Church (now First Baptist Church, Vienna), and ordained at Little Flock. Preacher Crum was an Ancient Free and Accepted Mason, Royal Arch and Scottish Rite Mason, Shriner and member of Eastern Star. He was active in the Blue Lodge and Eastern Star, and had received his 50 year pins for both organizations. He was a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge and a 50 year, founding member of the Vienna Lions Club. On December 7, 1995, the Missouri House of Representative passed a resolution honoring Cellis and Edith for 50 years of marriage, ministry and service to the community. Preacher Crum was preceded in death by his brother: Columbus Crum; sisters: Nora Crum and Juanita Davis; granddaughter: Amy Kidwell. He is survived by his wife and true love: Edith; children: Yvonne Meyer and husband Lyman "Sonny" Meyers, Jana Crum and fiancÈ Joe Gray, Robert Crum and wife Martha; brother: Ellis Crum (Junior) and wife Shirley; and numerous nieces and nephews. Cellis and Edith are proud to boast 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Cellis was an outstanding husband, father, grandfather and uncle. Raised on a farm, he maintained a lifelong interest in horses and livestock; and a partnership with his nephew Joe Clay Crum, he continued his agricultural pursuits until just a few months before his death. During his many years in ministry he "adopted" countless men, women and children as part of an extended family. He was most often found with a beard over the last few decades, which to his family and most acquaintances seemed naturally suited to his patriarchal manner an sensibility. Public visitation will be held at Spring Valley Baptist Church from 6-9 p.m. today and at First Baptist Church in Vienna Thursday, April 8, from 6-9 p.m. A Masonic service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at the church. A final visitation will begin 10 a.m. Friday, April 9, at First Baptist Church in Vienna, followed by a public funeral service at 2 p.m. Interment will be at Little Flock Cemetery in Vienna following the service. All arrangements are under the direction of the Vienna Chapel of the Birmingham-Martin Funeral Homes. Memorials are suggested to the Memorial Bible Program of Gideons International, with envelops available at the Vienna office of the Birmingham-Martin Funeral Homes.
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