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William “Bill” Crum, 93

William “Bill” Crum, 93

William “Bill” Crum, 93, of Asheville died on Monday, October 29, 2018 at his home in Givens Estates. He was born on September 4, 1925 in Hancock County, IL; a son of the late James Edward and Elma Gene Anderson Crum. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by three sisters and four brothers.

He was the seventh of eight siblings who grew up on a farm in Western Illinois near the Mississippi River. He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, played center for the LaHarpe High School football team, won the Latin Prize, and graduated as Valedictorian at sixteen. He enrolled in the University of Illinois’s College of Engineering in 1942, where he studied until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944. Eventually he was assigned to work on The Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. When World War II ended, he went back to Urbana and finished his Mechanical Engineering degree in 1947, graduating with high honors.

He immediately went to work for A.P. Green Refractories, working as a draftsman in Mexico, MO. Once he had worked long enough to afford an engagement ring, he proposed to Eleanor Marie LaForge and they were married in 1948 and had two children. His work transferred him to Philadelphia, PA, Morristown, NJ, Houston, TX, and Bloomfield Hills, MI. He climbed the corporate ladder until he became Vice-President of Construction for Bigelow-Liptak Corp.

Retiring from Green Industries in 1989, he and Eleanor moved to Hendersonville and the mountains of Western North Carolina where he designed their dream home that included a large workshop built around his beloved lathe. He had always loved working with his hands. He became an avid woodworker, a bowl-turner, toy-maker, handyman, and fixer-of-all-things and was never happier than when he was making or fixing something for someone.

In 2005, he and Eleanor (and the lathe) moved to Givens Estates where he continued his work as a member of the Given Estates Woodworkers Interest Group (GEWIG). On September 4, 2018, he turned ninety-three. On October 3, 2018, he and Eleanor celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Eleanor LaForge Crum. He is also survived by one daughter, Jane Ann Crum; one son, Robert Crum and his wife, Gabrielle; one grandson, Thomas; and one granddaughter, Ryan.

His memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm, Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at First United Methodist Church with Reverend Mark Ralls and Reverend Ed Hillman officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Mr. Crum’s memory be made to Givens Estates Woodworking Interest Group, Givens Estates, Attn: Resident Woodshop Fund, 2360 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803 or Carolina Mountain Woodturners, CMW, c/o Penny Carter, 7 Cane Creek Circle, Fairview, NC 28730.

An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of arrangements.