Crew always said that, “When I am gone, it may be said of me, I never found beauty every day of my life, but, do not let it be said, I did not look for it every day of my life.”
Mr. Melvin Crew Pitts, Sr., age 91, of Valley, Alabama passed away on Monday, August 7th, 2017 at the Bethany House in Auburn, Alabama.
Mr. Pitts was born in Fairfax, Alabama on April 9th, 1926.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen Pitts; sons, Timmy Pitts and Crew Pitts, Jr.
He is survived by his son, Byron Lee (Dee) Pitts, Sharpsburg, Georgia; grandchildren, Michael Pitts, Carol Pitts, Tiffany Cudmore, and Tessa Childs.
He was of the Baptist faith and attended Midway Baptist Church for over fifty years. His church named him “Father of the Year” in 2008. In 2013, he was appointed Chaplain of the Board of Directors of Valley Haven School.
Mr. Pitts attended Riverview and Valley High Schools. He went on to receive his technical training through the National Radio Institute. He was associated with the Al-Dun Amusement Company for many years in the operation of motion picture theaters and radio stations. His supervision led to the construction of the company’s local cable television system in 1958, where he was named manager. In addition, he was responsible for the construction of the company’s cable television systems in Ocala, Florida and Live Oak, Florida, where he served as the local system manager until his retirement on December 31st, 1991.
Mr. Pitts also served as the Southeastern District Manager for Sammons Communications, Inc. for many years.
He was instrumental in organizing the Georgia Cable Television Association and served as its first Vice-President. He also held the office of President in 1969 and 1970. He was the past President of the Alabama Cable Television Association, upon his retirement from the industry. He served two terms as a director of The Southeastern Cable Association and was a charter member of the Southern Association Tower Club.
Mr. Pitts was active in many civic and charitable organizations. He served as the past President of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and as a director for 30 years from 1962 to 1992. He chaired several committees and served as Master of Ceremonies for the placing of the first concrete ceremonies at the West Point Dam and the dedication of the R. Shaefer Heard Park on West Point Lake. He was also chairman of the Chambers County Parks and Recreation Board. The Chamber of Commerce members voted him the “Citizen of the Year” in 1971. Mr. Pitts served many years as the director of Valley Haven School and as a charter member of the Valley Haven School Foundation. Later serving as its chairman. He was a member of the Alabama Society For Crippled Children and Adults from 1973 to 1974. He served on the advisory council for “Sing Out Valley” and “The American Way” youth organizations.
He also served as the Past President of the West Point Rotary Club, where he was made a “Paul Harris Fellow” by his fellow Rotarians. He was a recipient of the Buck Hill Service Award and in 2005 received Rotary’s “Service Above Self” Award.
Mr. Pitts served as the President of the George H. Lanier Council Boy Scouts of America, served as a Vice President of the Chattahoochee Council BSA, and a member of its Executive Board since the merger of George H. Lanier Council and The Chattahoochee Council. He has received the Council’s District Award of Merit and is a holder of the Silver Beaver Award.
He received the Alabama Baptist Convention Communications Award in 1984. He was a lifetime board member of Goodwill Industries. He served as Communications Chairman for East Liberty Baptist Association.
Mr. Pitts had a love for his community and has been involved in many projects to improve the quality of life for he fellow citizens. He served as county chairman for the drive to pass the first 2 mil tax earmarked for the H. Grady Bradshaw Library and worked in the campaign for its continuation ten years later. He helped in producing many videotaped interviews with people of interest in the community and was instrumental in the project to preserve audio and videotaped interviews with United States Veterans since World War II for the Cobb Memorial Archives and The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
He had a love for the political process and worked in many campaigns to elect the kind of people he believed in. He said he developed this love under Fob James, Sr. by helping to pass out literature, especially at the mill gates, for him many years ago. He served as Chambers County Chairman for Albert Brewer in his run for Governor of Alabama. He served as Chambers County Chairman four times for Fob James, Jr., twice successful, and twice unsuccessfully and Chambers County Chairman for Tim James in his run for Governor. He served with his friend Conrad (Bully) Fowler as co-chairman twice for the election to the United States Senate for Howell Heflin.
Crew never had a desire to hold public office. However, he always had a simple piece of advice for his friends that did hold public office. “Just always do what is right. You may have to compromise on issues at times, but never on your principles.” Senator Heflin read a tribute to Crew into the Congressional Record.
Since retirement, he served as a member of Area 4 - local board for the Selective Service System and received a citation for service upon retirement after 20 years.
He also served as the Director of First Bankshares and on the Board at First National Bank. Serving also as a board member of First National Bank and First Bankshares for over 25 years.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, August 10th, 2017 at 11:00A.M. EDT at the Johnson Brown-Service Funeral Home in Valley with interment following in Johnson Memorial Gardens. The Reverend Randall Hamer and the Reverend Frank Lyons officiating. His family will be receiving friends at the funeral home Wednesday evening from 5:00P.M. EDT until 7:00P.M. EDT.
Please visit Crew’s Memorial Tribute page at www.johnsonbrownservicefh.com to leave a condolence for his family, share a memory of Crew, or to light a Remembrance Candle in his memory.