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Carolyn West, former VPW President

            The Rev. Carolyn H. West of Greenville, S.C., who served as president of VPW several years ago prior to leaving journalism when the Episcopal Church began ordaining women, died October 2, 2011 after suffering a stroke. She was 74.

            Rev. West is survived by her husband, Joe, to whom she was married for 34 years.

            In addition, she lovingly leaves behind a daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Erin, of Virginia Beach; a son, John Campbell Hines, and his wife, Lilana, and two granddaughters, Sydney and Vivien, of Winston-Salem; and a brother, Paul Kern, and his wife, Julie, of Florida, and their sons, Christopher and Colin.

            Rev. West was born in San Antonio and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 18 years in Newport News, Va., before attending Virginia Theological Seminary.

            After ordination to the priesthood in 1993, she served Episcopal churches in New Bern, N.C., Murray, Ky., Greenville, S.C., and Dallas. In addition to preaching, the main focus of her ministry was always on pastoral care and outreach to the needy.

            Rev. West was an avid gardener, enjoyed reading and the arts, and collected mountain crafts from western Carolina. She loved the Appalachian region and spent much of her retirement time at Lake Junaluska, a beloved place she had visited since her childhood.

            Any expressions of sympathy can be made through contributions to Episcopal Relief and Development.

            Her funeral was held Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 11:00 am at Christ Church in Greenville, S.C.

George Crutchfield, one of first men to join VPW, died Tuesday, March 15, 2011.


George Crutchfield taught generations of journalism students how to be good editors and guided young men in the merits of Scouting. Despite an ailing heart, he served as Powhatan's Christmas Father this winter.

The longtime director of Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Mass Communications, Mr. Crutchfield, who died Tuesday at 77, was known for the passion he put into his profession and his avocations.

"I don't know anyone who's done any more for Scouting than George," said Stuart Dunn, a member of the executive board of the Boy Scouts' Heart of Virginia Council.

"He has always volunteered his time to make sure the industry benefited from his wisdom," said Ginger Stanley, executive director of the Virginia Press Association.

Mr. Crutchfield led VCU's communications program from 1970 to 1989 during a time when it grew from a print-oriented journalism department to a school that included broadcasting, public relations and advertising. After he stepped down, he remained on as a professor until he retired in 1999.

"He was from an era when newspapers reigned, no question about it. George's passion was the newspaper," Stanley said. As a result, he encouraged students to get a foundation in newspaper work before branching off into related fields.

"Virginia journalism has lost a giant," said Louise Seals, retired managing editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Mr. Crutchfield was the founder of the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame — and would later be inducted as a member. He also earned VPA's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Society of Professional Journalists Virginia Pro Chapter honored him with the George Mason Award in 1982 and the chapter Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

For his work with the Scouts, he earned the Silver Antelope, the Boy Scouts' highest regional award for a volunteer.

His accomplishments are too many to list, Seals noted, "but I know he would be proudest to be called a loyal friend, a sympathetic mentor and a valued colleague."

That was how he was remembered by his Scouting friends as well. "George has just been an institution in Scouting," said Todd Martin, the council's director of field services.

Mr. Crutchfield and his wife, Frances, were contributors of both their time and money to Scouting, he said. They donated the funds for the 30-foot climbing tower at Camp Brady Saunders and helped finance the adjacent Cub Scout camp.

The Crutchfields met while they were volunteering with the Scouts. They were married in 1995 flanked by two Eagle Scouts — her son, Henry Broaddus, and his son, Larry.

Mr. Crutchfield's love of Scouting took him to Philmont, the Scouts' rugged adventure ranch in New Mexico, 18 times, said his daughter, Lisa Crutchfield. He also staffed the National Jamboree.

The Crutchfields served together as Powhatan's Christmas Mother and Father even as he was suffering from congestive heart failure, she said. For that cause, he let his normally tidy beard grow out.

The couple also supported young journalists spiritually and financially, said Brian Eckert, regional director of SPJ and a past president of the Virginia chapter. With the economic downturn, the chapter's scholarship program last year "could not have happened without their support."

Mr. Crutchfield "lived his life in full faith that journalism was one of the most important features of civilized society," Eckert said.

Wilma Wirt, a journalism colleague at VCU, said his true love was editing and mentoring.

"He loved editing," she said. "If you wrote him a memo, it came back edited."

He believed students learned to write better through editing, and that any student could do so if a teacher was there to help rather than criticize, she said. "He truly believed any student could learn," she said. "George would work with them and work with them."

One of Wirt's VCU students, Dionne Waugh, learned that lesson when Mr. Crutchfield was her instructor for a copy editing training program for the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund. Mr. Crutchfield was director for 30 years of the summer program that prepared students for newspaper editing internships.

It was grammar and spelling all day long, Waugh recalled. Waugh, who now works for the public affairs unit of the Richmond Police Department, said nine years later she and other students still laugh about the games Mr. Crutchfield had them play to remember the correct usage of who and whom.

"He just made it fun," she said.

George Thomas Crutchfield was born in West Virginia and worked for his hometown newspaper while still in high school. He graduated from Florida Southern College and worked as a writer for the Associated Press. He taught at Syracuse University and the University of South Carolina before coming to VCU.

Mr. Crutchfield was one of the first men to join the Virginia Press Women, which in 1992 named him Communicator of Achievement, the group's highest award.

Services were incomplete.



Sydney Van Lear Upshaw, VPW past president, died Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010

Sydney Van Lear Upshaw, 87, of Fredericksburg, died Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.

She was a past president of Virginia Press Women

Born in Roanoke, she was a former journalist and editor with the Roanoke Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Alexandria Gazette. 

Survivors include her son, Murray Van Lear, and his wife, Susan, of Atlanta; her brother, John Bradshaw and his wife, Ruby, of Arizona; her sister-in-law Grace Bradshaw of North Carolina, six grandchildren, Martin Van Lear, Torrence Van Lear, Danielle Van Lear, Allison Youngwirth and her husband, Mathew, Kevin Van Lear and his wife, Katy, and Jamie Simons and heer husband, Michael; four great-grandchildren, Isabella Van Lear, Foster Van Lear, Emma Cate Youngwirth and Jackson Youngwirth; and several nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her daughter, Denise Drake, and her brother, Andrew Bradshaw. Burial was at Evergreen Burial Park, Roanoke.  Memorial contributions may be made to El Hogar Ministries, 70 Church St., Winchester, Mass. 01890.  Register book o

nline at storkefuneralhome.com