James Frederick "Fred" Crews, age 89, of Huntsville, Alabama, formerly of Arbovale, West Virginia, died May 14, 2018, following a long illness.
Born December 29, 1928 in Stotesbury, West Virginia, he was the son of the late Fred Henry Crews and Lola Clarice Mann Crews.
Trusting the Lord Jesus as his Savior, Fred was a member, lay leader, and Sunday school teacher at the Arbovale United Methodist Church, where he most enjoyed singing in the choir and cantatas.
Fred was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley, and the United Television Laboratories, Louisville, Kentucky. As a young adult he was active in the Crab Orchard West Virginia Baptist Church, and the Raleigh County 4-H Penner¹s Club, Beckley. He began his electronics career working for the WJLS radio station.
Called to active duty, Fred completed the US Army radio courses of the Signal School, Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, and then served as instructor, company A, from 1951-1953.
Returning to his home town of Crab Orchard, Fred worked at Wright's television and radio repair shop, and had some great stories of his experiences there of his boss, his co-workers, and customers.
In 1958, Fred became one of the first radio telescope operators at the Green Bank, West Virginia's National Radio Astronomy Observatory, of the National Science Foundation cooperatively with Associated Universities Incorporated. Starting with the small 12-ft. telescope, and in sequence, the 85-ft. telescope, the 140-ft. telescope, and the 300-ft telescope, the observatory grew, and so did Fred's responsibility. Fred served as the Supervisor of Telescope Operations, and later, in addition, supervised the machine shop. Working side-by-side with many early world-renowned radio astronomers, Fred became the Assistant Site Director, culminating his 40 years of service.
In his retirement years, Fred was consultant to the construction and development of the Robert C. Byrd Telescope (GBT), the world's largest fully-steerable telescope.
Fred served his community as an EMT and ambulance driver for a brief time, taught youngsters basic electronics, and served at the Pocahontas Methodist Cooperative Parrish youth camp. A lover of the outdoors, many Sunday afternoons were spent with his family hiking and looking for good fishing holes. Fred became a well-known authority on antique gas engines and antique radios, winning many ribbons at regional radio meets. He was a member of The Museum of Radio and Technology, Huntington, West Virginia; the Durbin West Virginia Lions Club; and the American Legion.
Fred is lovingly survived by his wife of 65 years, Marguerite Zanella Crews; brother, Ray Crews, wife, Cookie, and children of North Carolina; son, Richard F. Crews of Harrisonburg, VA; daughter, Susan Scott and husband, Arthur, of Huntsville; granddaughters, Laura Elaine Noonan and husband, Tim, of Santa Monica, CA; and Leslie Annette Scott and Leia Melissa Scott of Brooklyn, NY.
He was preceded in death by his brother, John L. Crews.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 17, at 1 p.m., with services at 2 p.m. at Laughlin Service Funeral Home Chapel, 2320 Bob Wallace Ave, Huntsville, with Pastor Randy Evers officiating. Burial will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery. (www.laughlinservice.com)
Memorials may be made to Arbovale United Methodist Church, Arbovale, WV, 24915. Special thanks to the staff of Redstone Village skilled care and assisted living. We will always carry your memory in our hearts and may you dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Published on May 15, 2018