William Cromer Jr., Southern prof
Louisville— William R. Cromer Jr., a retired faculty member with the longest-serving tenure as a Christian education professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, died on March 25 in his Louisville home at the age of 91.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1923, Cromer was committed to Christian education and the training of Southern Baptist teachers and ministers. During Cromer’s 41-year tenure, more than 10,000 students came through the seminary and more 4,000 sat in his classroom, estimated Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, during Cromer’s private funeral service on March 28 in the school’s Alumni Memorial Chapel.
“The multiplied, countless half-lives of Dr. William Cromer’s influence are now being transmitted to generations of people who may never know his name in this life, but will know a minister who was taught by him in seminary,” Mohler said. “When we get to heaven we’re going to find out that Dr. Bill Cromer didn’t just teach 4,000 students, but those beyond number and limit, and he taught them faithfully.”
Cromer was buried in the seminary plot at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, an honor given to professors who retire from the seminary. His family also requested that expressions of sympathy be made to the seminary’s William R. Cromer Jr. Scholarship Fund.
He earned his master of divinity and doctor of education degrees from Southern Seminary, and was among the first graduates of the School of Religious Education, later made part of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry. He was installed as the Gaines S. Dobbins Professor of Christian Education in 1993.
After he retired from teaching in 1995, Cromer served as senior professor of Christian education and leadership for 10 years, and as retired professor until his death.
He was the business manager of the Review and Expositor, a former academic journal of Southern Seminary, intermittently for 17 years until 1989. He wrote three books on church leadership and published numerous articles and curriculum materials. The scholarship fund was established by the 1994 December graduating class. He taught for many years at the annual Rec Lab program at Lake Yale Baptist Assembly in Florida.
Cromer was a longtime member of St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, and often served as the minister of music or the minister of education in various churches over 30 years, including Third Avenue Baptist Church, Bethany Baptist Church and Shawnee Baptist Church. He also served in U.S. Naval Intelligence during World War II.
He was predeceased by his wife of more than 50 years, Lois Spencer Cromer, and is survived by his three children, Bill, Dan and Brian; eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. (SBTS)
Mary Lou Crutcher, WMU leader
Louisville—Long-time Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union leader Mary Lou Crutcher died March 28 at The Forum at Brookside. She was 82.
A former member of the Kentucky WMU Mission Board, Crutcher was an active member of Friendship International, an outreach ministry to internationals in the Louisville area. She also led mission trips to China for the national WMU organization.
Crutcher grew up in Frankfort and was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Donald Crutcher, who was an Elizabethtown native and served as minister of education at Severns Valley Baptist Church.
She was a graduate of Bridgeport High School in Frankfort, Georgetown College, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Pineville and First Baptist Church in Newport, Tenn.
Later, she spent 25 years in social work in various agencies. She was director of social services for the school system in Birmingham, Ala., for 12 years. She also was employed by Dehoney Travel as a travel coordinator.
In retirement, she served in numerous volunteer roles through the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Kentucky WMU and her church, Hurstbourne Baptist in Louisville. She has requested that expressions of sympathy be made through the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund.
Mildred Fann, NAMB missionary
Shelbyville—Former missionary and Sunday School teacher Mildred Frances McAllister Fann died March 23. She was 84.
Fann, a native of Shelbyville, graduated from Waddy High School and attended Georgetown College, where she met her husband Delbert. The two were married in 1950. He attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Fanns served as a language missionary couple with the North American Mission Board, working directly with the Navajos in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. She taught English and Bible to Native Americans in the cities and on the reservations.
Later, they oversaw a Southern Baptist ministry to multiple ethnic groups, training and encouraging pastors. They finished their career working for Golden Gate.
The two retired in Shelbyville. They were members of Waddy Baptist Church, and Fann taught a Sunday School class.
She was preceded in death by her husband and is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Expressions of sympathy may be made to Sunrise Children’s Services.