The Rev. George Milton Crum, Jr., a professor emeritus of homiletics at Virginia Theological Seminary and a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, died June 27 at Aspen Gardens Assisted Living community in Helena, Montana. He was 93.
A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Crum was born into a family of Methodists. He was a graduate of the University of Nebraska and the University of the South, was ordained deacon in 1951 and priest in 1952, and served as parishes in South Carolina before joining the faculty of VTS.
He was the author of Manual on Preaching (Judson Press, 1977), Evil, Anger and God: A Biblical Pastoral Study (WingSpan Press, 2008), and many essays on aging.
He is survived by stepdaughters Heather Nicholson, Suzanne Wilcox, and Cynthia Wilcox, and their families.
Dorothy Linthicum, program coordinator and instructor at Virginia Theological Seminary, paid tribute to Crum and his insights on aging:
I came across his monograph, I’m Old, when I first began studying the field of aging about five years ago. Although I never met Milton face to face, the correspondence we began has informed my understanding of my own aging and others’. He was my mentor from afar, challenging my ideas about the realities of growing old, forcing me to move beyond platitudes and easy answers.
A good description of the way Milton saw himself can be found in an article in which he quotes Viktor Frankl, a survivor of the Nazi death camps. “Frankl said in the camp, he learned that the ‘meaning of life,’ i.e. its dignity and purpose, lies not in some grand philosophy but in attending to the concrete tasks that life lays before us day by day. Both the image and the dictum influence my behavior.”