John ‘Jack’ Whitworth Crenshaw

Published 3:05 pm Friday, February 23, 2024

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John ‘Jack’ Whitworth CrenshawJohn “Jack” Whitworth Crenshaw, 87 of Chesterfield County, passed away on Feb. 20, at home after nine years of ill health. He was surrounded by his wife and two children in his last days on this earth.

Jack (best known as “Coach” to many) was born at home in Darvills, Dinwiddie County to James Devon Crenshaw Sr. and Eunice Erskine Stigall, both originally of Halifax County. 

As a young child, Jack and his family moved to Victoria, where he attended school and graduated from Victoria High School in 1954. While at Victoria, he was co-captain of the football and baseball teams.

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Jack was a two-year starter in both football and baseball at Chowan Junior College from 1954-56. In 1955, he was selected for the All-State team as halfback helping to lead the Braves to a record of 8-1. Off the field, he was Vice-President of his freshman class and “May King” in 1956. Continuing his athletic and academic career at Guilford College, he was a two- way starter for the Quakers. In 1957, he was co-captain of the football team and the starting left fielder for the baseball team.

In 1959, Jack graduated from college and began his coaching career. He served as the head football and head baseball coach at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, North Carolina. He led the Aberdeen football team to a number one ranking in the state for 1963 and 1964. He was selected to coach the South Team in the North/South game of 1964 in Greenville, North Carolina. He also had four years of coaching stints at Union Pines High School in Carthage, North Carolina and Colonial Heights High School in Colonial Heights.

“Coach” received his Master’s degree in Physical Education and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963. In 1968, he left athletics and education to become a salesman with Holt, Rinehart and Winston Publishing Company (subsidiary of CBS), where he held that position for 20 years until the company was sold. Jack was named National Salesman of the Year on several occasions.

In 1998, Jack was inducted into the Chowan College Braves Hall of Fame.

After leaving the book business, he became the freight salesman for Abilene Motor Express, located in Virginia, until he retired in 2004.

Coach was also a prolific golfer, where he won many local tournaments and amazingly had three hole-in-ones to his credit.

Prior to 2015, Jack possessed an unrivaled sense of humor and wit. The things he could dryly quip in less than an instant would make even the most serious of people laugh. His memory was like an absorbent, unwrung sponge as he never forgot a single thing he learned, yet he was very quick to instruct his children to “go look it up in the dictionary/encyclopedia” when they asked a question. Jack’s character and moral compass were of utmost importance to him and he drilled these traits into his athletes, students and children and would accept no less than best personal attempts, always.

He leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Nancy M. Hardman; his son, Kenneth G. Crenshaw (Kristen) of Charlotte, North Carolina; daughter, Karen LC Eager (Josh) of Hanover and grandson, Austin T. Pearce.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, James D., George T., William F. and G.

Deane Crenshaw and sisters, E. Marguerite Royster and Elizabeth A. Stephens.

A memorial service will be held at Swift Creek Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 11 a.m. in Moseley, with visitation at 10 a.m. A private burial will take place at Oak Level Presbyterian Church in Halifax County next to his parents, brother and other relatives. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Chowan Brave Hawks Club in Murfreesboro,

North Carolina or to Swift Creek Presbyterian Church.

Online condolences may be directed to

Arrangements have been entrusted to Powell Funeral Home, 1603 Wilborn Ave., South Boston, VA 24592.