In November of 1970, the world became a little brighter when in Russellville, Arkansas, Larry and Glenda (Daniel) Crutchfield welcomed their first born son, Vance Edward, into it. Shortly after, a sister, Karen, would complete their little family. Around eight years later the Crutchfields left Arkansas for Burlington, Kansas, where Vance ended up building his life.
After graduating from Burlington High School in 1989, Vance tried a semester at K-State. The timing wasn’t right, so he decided to join the Navy. He spent five years there, mostly as a submariner with the USS Cavalla, stationed at Pearl Harbor.
After his time in the Navy, he returned home to Burlington, where he noticed that Kelsy Saueressig had grown up while he was gone. He wooed her with his good looks and Arkansas charms and five years later, on August 6, 1999, they ran off to St Lucia and got married. Their almost 20 years together resulted in the pride of his life: his children, Eli Daniel, Abigail Grace (rightly named “Her Father’s Joy”), Ezra Lee and Asa James.
Second only to Jesus, Vance loved his family with unmatched fierceness and loyalty. Spend an hour with him and you would know their names and just how proud he was of each of them. He taught his kids this family motto; “Two are stronger than one and a three-fold cord cannot easily be broken.”
Vance spent over a dozen years as a member of Lamont Wesleyan Church, where he served in many ways. When LWC decided to plant a church in Coffey County, Vance was a big part of helping Radiant Life Church become a reality. But faith wasn’t something just for Sundays. Vance lived it out, each and every day, through his kindness, patience, hard work and the respect he showed for everyone he came into contact with. He was the guy who picked up hitchhikers and let them spend the night. He opened doors for old ladies and young ones and called everyone “Sir.” He was humble and hated being the center of attention. He was often heard saying to his children, “people over things.”
Over the past 25 or so years, Vance coached just about half the kids in Coffey County. Every sport, every age, boys and girls. He was passionate and dedicated and always, always, so very positive. Win or lose, he was proud and encouraging and taught kids to love the game and to have confidence in themselves. After a mistake, he would often tell them, “Do the next right thing.” That’s how he lived his life.
He did other stuff, like work as an electrician and get degrees from Allen County and Emporia State, but those didn’t really matter much compared to his faith, his family, and his love for people.
On July 3, 2019 the world became just a little less bright as Vance Crutchfield, only 48, was suddenly taken from it. There is no doubt that he will be missed. But God is still good. All the time, God is good.
“The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7