Crumrine switches gears to fulfill calling from church

ROARING SPRING — Decade after decade, the quaint, brick-walled First Church of the Brethren served almost as a second home for David Crumrine, and now the longtime congregation member is returning the favor.

After more than 38 years at Central High School, Crumrine is retiring as principal to fulfill what he described as a “calling” from the church in Roaring Spring.

While currently the church’s director of ministry, Crumrine is working on becoming ordained, succeeding his father, the late Rev. Gale D. Crumrine, who served Church of the Brethren congregations in Troy and Pitsburg, Ohio.

For the past two years, the First Church of the Brethren has not had a permanent pastor.

“Circumstances aligned in such a way that it was evident that this is what I needed to do,” Crumrine said. “The (church) search committee wasn’t having any success finding anyone, and like I said, after 38 and a half years in education, it was time for me to do something different.”

Throughout his long history with Central High School, Crumrine said he will miss the “tremendous students and staff.”

“That made it tough to walk away, especially the kids,” Crumrine said.

“And I still thought I was bringing something positive to them, but this door opened, and I thought, ‘Well, this is a chance to help out in another kind of way,'” Crumrine said.

Betsy Baker, superintendent of the Spring Cove School District, said Crumrine has “consistently demonstrated kindness to students and staff,” adding he will be greatly missed.

“Our loss is definitely a gain for the Church of the Brethren,” Baker said.

Crumrine joined the school district in 1979, teaching social studies, American government and history. He also coached the school’s football, wrestling and track and field teams. After 18 years in the classroom, Crumrine became the assistant principal for four years before working as principal for more than 16 years.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary school studies from Shippensburg University, a master’s degree in education and leadership from Saint Francis University and a doctorate in educational leadership from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

For more than 40 years, Crumrine and his family have attended services at the First Church of the Brethren. It’s where he married his wife, the former Dawn Ray, in 1980.

And, coincidentally, it’s also where Crumrine’s parents met.

“I owe my existence to this church,” Crumrine joked in his sparse, white-walled church office.

While his official retirement date from Central High School is Friday, Crumrine has already started working at the church.

Craig Ormsby, retired Roaring Spring magisterial district judge and a longtime friend, described Crumrine’s job transition to the church as logical and a way for Crumrine to exhibit his faith.

“It was probably time for him to move on,” Ormsby said. “I know he made the right decision. He has been a great role model for his students. He’ll give the church the same attention he gave to public education.”

Although departing the education realm, Crumrine still expects to take on a teaching and mentoring role, just in a different capacity.

Once a licensed minister, Crumrine said he hopes to have a positive impact on community members in guiding them to religious enlightenment.

“I would like to lead people to see the benefits of following Jesus Christ,” he said. “There’s something bigger than just us. Sometimes we need reminded. Sometimes we need led. Sometimes we need to see it working.”

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.