Fred G. Crumpler, Jr., began and ended life on the Germanton farm and home place he loved, in a rustic room of his home overlooking the quaint pastures where his horses, rescued mustangs, donkeys, and sheep quietly grazed. By his side sat his wife of 35 years, Marsha Crumpler, and their rescue dog, Little Bit.
Many people will remember Fred as “The Golden Boy”, cutting a path in the Winston-Salem legal system that had never been seen in the 60’s. He lived his professional life by a single motto: “Use your best judgment, never stop fighting for a client, and always be a man of integrity”.
Fred was an icon. Tireless. Fearless. Relentless. His day began at 4:30 a.m., often walking on his farm or spending time with his favorite male bird dog, Sue, while pondering his cases. His farm was his solitude, a place to acknowledge God’s creation, a place of serenity.
Fred’s professional accomplishments are endless. Some might be familiar with a 1970 case which garnished national attention and upheld even today. Fred represented Henry Alford in North Carolina v. Alford US 25. This was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed that there are no constitutional barriers in place to prevent a judge from accepting a guilty plea from a defendant who wants to plead guilty while still protesting his innocence under duress as a detainee status. This plea prevented the death penalty while preserving the US Constitution.
Fred also defended Madge Roberts, a.k.a. “Mama Rabbit,” who ran a prostitution ring which included prominent Winston-Salem businessmen and athletes. When the trial concluded, Fred’s legal talents allowed “Mama Rabbit’s” charges to be reduced to a $36,000 tax evasion bill. Fred never revealed any names in the “black book” despite constant inquiries, a testament to his integrity and regard for client attorney confidentially.
Fred’s legal accomplishments include but are not limited to:
• Prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers given in 1988. Membership is limited to only those trial lawyers who are unquestionably and eminently qualified, in addition to being regarded as the best in their state/province. Qualifications must include high ethical and moral standards, as well as excellent character.
• The Prestigious Harvey Lupton Award (an award given to the outstanding lawyer of the year voted upon by the bar association) as the Outstanding Criminal Defense Lawyer in Forsyth County. He was the first to receive this award.
• Recipient of The Order of Longleaf Pine by the governor of NC which is awarded as the highest honor given to the public by the governor. Reserved for persons who have made significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments.
• He was invited each year to attend and participate in the annual United States Federal Judge’s Conference in Greenbrier, West Virginia.
• Best Lawyers in personal injury, family law and criminal law for multiple years—a rare accomplishment to be recognized in all three fields.
• Founding Partner of White and Crumpler in 1959, which continues to be regarded as a leading law firm today.
• Certified by the state bar as a Specialist in Family Law in 1989
• Member of the Forsyth County, North Carolina and American Bar Associations
• Member of The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
• Member of Lawyer-Pilot Bar Association
• North Carolina Defense Lawyers Association
• North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Fred always rooted for the underdog; whether his alma mater Wake Forest was struggling in sports or court cases involving those who had little chance of winning; those were Fred’s people. He could relate to their struggles as Fred was indeed the underdog when beginning his career. He was self-made, creating a vision for himself during his early years at Guilford College all the way through law school at Wake Forest, constantly scoring in the top 10% of his class. He understood the importance of an education in order to have the success he envisioned. He was driven, he had passion, he had the heart of a warrior in every area of his life, both professionally and personally.
Many Saturdays you could find Fred on the skeet range. He was a dead eye shot with a shotgun, once betting a fellow shooter $100 that he could hit 100 clays with 100 shells. Fred won. The $100 bill is still displayed in his home.
Fred loved the brisk morning air and any activities that allowed him to hear the birds chirping, the sun on his face, and with those he loved. He spent time cross-country skiing in Montana, saddling up his favorite horse, Lyric, and taking a stroll around the farm with his wife in tow.
In the cold winter months, you could find Fred in Canada, or Scotland, or South Dakota bird hunting. In the summer months he became the captain of his sailboat with first mate and bride, Marsha. He never saw a motorcycle he could not tame, an animal he didn’t love, and a life he could not change.
Perhaps Fred’s greatest passion was the love of flight. The freedom of leaving the anxieties of law below, Fred would fly a multitude of aircraft, from an open cockpit taildragger, to a complex twin-engine turbo prop. He and his beloved black lab, Butch, would share oxygen masks at 21,000 ft while heading to their next duck hunt. The stories of flight were endless. From the time he landed his stunt plane in a grove of pine trees, to knocking the paint off the wings of his Aerostar while descending through bad weather at Smith Reynolds, or navigating traffic while arriving in LaGuardia. In subsequent years, Fred obtained his Airline Transport Rating which would qualify him to fly commercial aircraft although he never exercised that option, he just wanted the challenge.
But his favorite time in the air was when the skies were blue, the air was smooth, the tailwind was strong, and he was spending time with his wife Marsha headed to their next adventure.
But, while Fred’s accomplishments are endless, he possessed much more than a plaque on the wall or an airplane in a hanger. He possessed an innate compassion for people, animals, and the underdog. While riding home on the school bus in middle school, Fred challenged the school bully, and won, thus changing the life of his classmate. This event set the tone for the next 80 years of Fred’s life. Stand up to the bully, prepare for the fight, and don’t stop until you win. He was truly an inspiration to the hopeless, offering comfort and hope in the depths of despair.
Fred was the son of Ola Mae Styers Crumpler and Fred G. Crumpler, Sr., Fred attended R.J. Reynolds High School and Appalachian State University before serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1952. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Guilford College and his law degree from Wake Forest University, where he was in the top 10 percent of his graduating class in 1957. Fred was the assistant director of the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1957 to 1958.
Fred was predeceased in death by his parents: Fred and Ola Mae Crumpler; sisters Lorna and June, and his loving son Fred Guthrie Crumpler III. He is survived by his wife, Marsha, of 35 years; her son Brandon Lowery (Amy) and their two children, Parks and Logan. He is also survived by a daughter, Andrea Cline (Harry) and their children, Noah and Lily Rose Cline.
Special mention is reserved to caretaker Kathy Jones for the care and friendship she showed to Fred in the last 2 years. They often were heard singing Gospel music at home to the likes of Red Foley, (Peace in the Valley) Frank Sinatra (I Did It My Way), and Jim Reeves (Lead Me Home).
Trellis Supportive Care and Hairston Home Care provided emotional, physical, and spiritual care.
There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 25, 2020 in the chapel of Salem Funeral Home, 2951 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, 27106. The family will receive friends following the service in the reception room of Salem Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to honor Fred’s love for animals to Fur-Ever Friends of North Carolina, P.O. Box 15742, Winston-Salem, NC 27113, to Forsyth Humane Society, 4881 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104 or to the charity of one’s choice.
As the words of Fred’s favorite song state:
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me, I did it my way
-I did it my way- Frank Sinatra
Winston Salem, Winston SalemNC 27106
Winston Salem, Winston SalemNC 27106