Cover photo for Arthur Lee Crume, Sr.'s Obituary
Arthur Lee Crume, Sr. Profile Photo
1929 Arthur 2023

Arthur Lee Crume, Sr.

July 6, 1929 — December 12, 2023

Reidsville

 

 

On Tuesday, December 12, 2023, the gospel music industry lost another gospel legend Mr. Arthur Lee Crume, Sr. He passed away at the age of 94 peacefully at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia after a brief illness and was surrounded by his daughters and other family members. 

 

Born in Swift, Missouri, on July 6, 1929, Arthur Lee Crume, Sr. was the sixth child of a family born to Rev. Dillard Crume, Sr., and Lonia Courtland Crume. The family ultimately grew to a total of eleven children—three girls and eight boys (some sources cite only two girls, possibly omitting Bernice, who died from injuries suffered in a fire the year Arthur was born). 

 

Arthur started singing at an early age and at thirteen joined his brothers in a group called the “Crume Brothers”. The Crume Brothers, by now living in Chicago, Illinois consisted of six of the eight male siblings (Amos, Arthur, Dillard, Peter, Rayfield, Leroy Crume and a brother-in-law Rufus Meeks). Although the group initially sang unaccompanied, they became famous for incorporating electric guitar in their music in the early 1950s when LeRoy and Arthur taught themselves to play the guitar. It is said that the Crume Brothers were the first quartet in Chicago to incorporate the electric guitar in its accompaniment. Soon other professional quartet gospel singing groups around the country began hearing about those guitar- playing Crume Brothers and started recruiting them one by one. 

 

Not only did the Crume Brothers sing and record gospel music, for their own label, Crumco Records, but they also cut recordings for R&B discs Vee-Jay Records in 1958, Peacock in 1962, Atco in 1965, and Chess/Checker Records in 1968. 

 

In addition to working with his brothers, Arthur began playing guitar for and singing with other major gospel groups around Chicago and elsewhere. Among these groups were the Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Pilgrim Jubilees of Chicago, the Sensational 

 

Nightingales of Philadelphia, and many years with the Highway QCs (his brother Ray Crume preceded him in the QCs). Starting in 1965, Arthur joined the Legendary Soul Stirrers of Chicago, where his brother Leroy Crume had held court since 1955 with the group, when the Soul Stirrers were on the top of the quartet world with dynamic lead vocalists such as the late Sam Cooke, the late Paul Foster, and the late Johnnie Taylor. Arthur’s first recording session with the Soul Stirrers was in November 1965, when the group released a holiday hit single called “Christmas Joy.” 

 

Eventually, when his brothers Rufus and Dillard Jr. joined the Legendary Soul Stirrers; it was as if the Crume Brothers morphed into the Soul Stirrers. With lead vocalists such as Willie Rogers, James Davis, Eddie Huffman, Luther Gamble, Martin Jacox, and his brother Dillard. Other lead vocalists down through the year have been Frankie Davis, Justin Morris, Jackie Heard, Richard Miles, James Phelps, and many others. The Soul Stirrers didn’t call on Arthur for solos, but he more than held his own in the background harmonies and kept the rhythm going with his famous guitar music. He was not only a musician and background singer, but also a song writer who wrote many of the songs the group sung down through the years. In 1974, former manager J.J. Farley passed the torch down to Arthur Crume who became the newest manager of the Soul Stirrers. Arthur along with Willie Rogers were the longest living members of the group. However, the legacy of the Legendary Soul Stirrers will still live on in the hearts and minds for generations to come with their hit songs, such as “Jesus Gave Me Water, Be with Me Jesus, Nearer My God to Thee, Resting Easy, Touch the Hem of His Garment, Wade in The Water”, and many, many more. 

 

The group — and all of its members — was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 as one of rock's “Early Influences”, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2022 their 1950 recording "Jesus Gave Me Water" was selected by the US Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry. 

 

Arthur was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, all 10 siblings and four sons Stanley, Wallace, Keith and Arthur Crume, Jr. 

 

Left to forever cherish his memories are his children - 4 Daughters: Debra (Norleslie) Crume Lofton, Rebecca Crume, Tracie Crume, and Carretta James. 3 Sons; Andre (Cassandra) Crume, Eric (Tonia) Harlan and Stacy Brooke. 33 grandchildren, 53 Great grandchildren, 12 great, great grandchildren and 1 Goddaughter Renea Thornton. Two sisters-in-law: Carolyn Crume Blackshear of Reidsville, Georgia and Bettye Crume of Pompano, Florida and a great host of nieces, nephews, other family members and friends. 

 

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, December 22, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Low Country Cremation & Burial– 124 Jordan Street – Reidsville, ga. 30453. 

 

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 23, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the Springfield missionary Baptist Church – 151 Oak street – Reidsville, Georgia 30453.

 

Interment will follow in the family plot at Robert’s Chapel Cemetery.

 

Low Country Cremation & Burial is honored to serve the Crume family during their time of bereavement.

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Arthur Lee Crume, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, December 22, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Low Country Cremation & Burial

124 Jordan Street, Reidsville, GA 30453

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, December 23, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Springfield Missionary Baptist Church, Reidsville

151 Oak Street, Reidsville, GA 30453

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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