Encouraging Stewardship...Together

Baptist Press Article by Katherine Chute, posted Wednesday, March 01, 2017

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) -- William O. Crews, 81, president emeritus of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, passed away March 1 after a brief illness.

"William O. Crews was a Baptist statesman, who profoundly impacted our work in the western United States," said Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary. "He was a friend and mentor to many, who will miss him deeply. His impact at Gateway Seminary lives on through our emphasis on shaping leaders -- Bill's passion and legacy."

Crews became the sixth president of Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary) in December 1986. He transitioned to the role of chancellor in 2003 and retired in 2005. Previously, he served as pastor of the 2,300-member Magnolia Church in Riverside, Calif., for eight years and as a pastor at churches in Washington, Oregon and Texas. He served on the Gateway Seminary board of trustees from 1982-86 and as president of the Northwest Baptist Convention and the California Southern Baptist Convention.

Crews earned a bachelor of arts degree from Hardin-Simmons University, a bachelor of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from Gateway Seminary. He was awarded two honorary degrees in 1987: the doctor of humanities degree from Hardin-Simmons University and the doctor of divinity degree from California Baptist University.

During his tenure as Gateway president, the seminary established new campuses in Phoenix (1995) and Denver (1996). The seminary also achieved accreditation approval to offer full masters degrees at all five of its campuses.

In 2003, the seminary announced several gifts in Crews' honor, including the endowed William O. Crews Chair of Leadership, creation of a special section of the seminary library housing leadership books and materials named in Crews' honor, and established a "Crews Leadership Award."

As president emeritus, Crews taught at Gateway Seminary's Pacific Northwest Campus in Vancouver, Wash., until his death.

He is survived by his wife, the former Jo Ann Cunningham.

Funeral arrangements are pending. 

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