Stanly County remembers Ed Crutchfield

Published 4:17 pm Thursday, January 4, 2024

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Ed Crutchfield, one of Stanly County’s “adopted native sons,” died Tuesday at age 82.

Crutchfield grew up in Albemarle and made financial contributions to the community after becoming one of the biggest bank presidents in the country.

“Although First Union had only $400 million in assets and paid him the lowest salary of any of his job offers, he saw promise and opportunity,” a published obituary read.

He was hired as a bond trader in 1965.

“Eight years later [at age 32], he was named the youngest bank president in the country,” the obit continued. “It was the start of a remarkable journey as First Union grew to encompass $253 billion in assets under his leadership until his retirement in 2000.”

Former lawyer David Grigg was two years ahead of Crutchfield at Albemarle High.

Grigg spoke of what he saw as a friend, team member and neighbor.

Former lawyer David Grigg was two years ahead of Crutchfield at Albemarle High. He was also a neighbor.

“Eddie was always a strong personality. A high achiever. He played football for Coach Toby Webb, graduated from Davidson College and received an MBA from The Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania. He rose through the ranks at First Union Bank by his own bootstraps. He earned his way to the top of the financial world at an early age. He was responsible for much of the growth of First Union Bank,” Grigg said.

“Most important to me was that he never forgot his family and Albemarle and Stanly County. He remained close to many of his school days’ friends in Albemarle and elsewhere. The Crutchfield Center of SCC in Locust bears his mother’s name. He was the benefactor. I think that was the result of Coach Webb’s influence. He remained very close to Coach Webb until Coach’s death. I think that was his closest connection. He returned to Albemarle whenever there was a recognition of Coach Webb. He attributed much of his business success to Coach and never forgot it,” Grigg added. “He also remained close to his family. I used to visit his dad in the Lutheran Home and often ran into Eddie who has in town visiting him as well. He was also especially close to his mother, evidenced by the Crutchfield Center.”

Grigg said that Crutchfield also kept up with the happenings at the First Union branches in the county.

“He was interested in helping our local economy and local business folks,” Grigg said. “Any writing about local folks’ business success would have Ed near the top. He was truly a person we can all be proud of.”

Crutchfield’s name will always be linked with Stanly Community College. SCC’s campus in Locust bears his name. He donated $300,000 for the construction of the facility.

“Ed Crutchfield’s dedication to education has left an indelible mark on the community, embodied by our Crutchfield Education Center in Locust, and is a testament to his belief in the power of learning and his enduring commitment to the betterment of his community,” SCC President Dr. John Enamait said.

The Crutchfield Education Center opened in 2003 and houses SCC’s allied health and public services programs as well as continuing education offerings.

“Ed Crutchfield was a great friend of Stanly Community College through dollars for both scholarships and capital for construction,” said Mike Taylor, who was SCC president when the Crutchfield center opened. “He created the Rose scholarships that helped numerous women who were enrolled at SCC. What was unique about the Rose scholarships was that the recipients not only received financial support but were matched with mentors who also made a difference in their lives. Ed made the lead gift for the Locust project and it rightfully bears his name. He created a legacy in higher education in Stanly County.”

B.J. Drye is general manager/editor of The Stanly News & Press. Call 704-982-2123.