Leaving behind a legacy that has forever changed the face of the Baltimore City Public School System (BCPS), former superintendent Dr. John Crew passed away Nov. 19 at FutureCare Lochearn after a hard fought battle with dementia.

Setting in place measures that permanently shaped policies and procedures in inner city schools, Dr. Crew served as Superintendent of Baltimore City Public Schools for seven years.

A native of Westminster, S.C., Dr. Crew came from humble beginnings as the son of a carpenter and a homemaker.

Years before serving those in need of a sound education, he served his country in the Navy. As a Seabee in the construction brigades (CBs) of the Pacific Theatre during WWII, Dr. Crew helped keep civilian construction workers out of war zones by assisting in the building of key military bases overseas.

Continuing his service at Morgan State College, now Morgan State University, where he graduated in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Dr. Crew was an active member of the Army ROTC and reached the rank of colonel while serving in the Reserve.

Earning a masters degree from New York University in 1955, the same year Dr. Crew began a decade long career as an educational psychologist within the public city school system, a job that would help him become key in advocating for student rights throughout his time as a top administrator.

During his tenure within the education system Dr. Crew worked as a teacher not only at Morgan State, but the University of Maryland, College Park and what is now Loyola University of Maryland. Aside from teaching Dr. Crew also played a crucial role in the desegregating of city schools in the early 70s after becoming deputy head for planning, research and evaluation.

Focusing on reading, writing, and arithmetic, Dr. Crew effectively brought up test scores by creating new proficiency tests for grade schools and concentrating energies on middle school students who were being passed through the education system with little to no reading skills.

Under the direction of Dr. Crew, City College received the funds to renovate and become the leading liberal arts magnet high school in Baltimore that it is today. The Crew administration also improved and further developed services for special needs students and oversaw the establishment of Baltimore City’s famed School for the Arts.

A strong willed man with a love for changing lives with the invaluable tool of education, Dr. Crew will be missed by the hundreds of lives he touched and made a difference in.

Dr. Crew is survived by his wife of 63 years, Brooksie Wilks, his son John L. Crew Jr., and daughter Kimberly Crew- Smith.

Arrangements for Dr. Crew:
Viewing is scheduled 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 25 at March Funeral Home West, 4300 Wabash Ave. Family members will be there from 4 to 6 p.m. At 10:30 a.m., Nov. 26, family members and friends will gather for the wake at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2604 Banister Rd. The service will follow at 11 a.m.

Click here to read “A changing year to make education everybody’s business” in the Jan. 1, 1977 edition of the Baltimore Afro-American


Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer