Southeast museum namesake Crisp dies

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Rosemary Crisp

Rosemary Berkel Crisp, for whom Southeast Missouri State University's nursing hall and regional museum are named, died Saturday. Crisp, 70, had battled ovarian cancer for 12 years.

"She was a very caring individual, always concerned about others and wanting to give back through contributions or through her own personal involvement," said John Rains, the senior vice president of Pepsi MidAmerica, which Crisp co-owned with her husband, Harry L. Crisp II.

The Crisps' financial contributions led to the opening of Southeast's Bootheel Education Center in Malden and the Southeast Missouri Regional Museum, which opened on the River Campus this fall.

"She believed in what we do, which is to provide access to higher education to many people that would otherwise not be able to go to college," said Dr. Ken Dobbins, Southeast's president and friend of the Crisps.

Both Rosemary and Harry L. Crisp, of Marion, Ill., were members of the Foundation's board of directors and Southeast's President's Council, an organization to recognize major donors.

Although Crisp attended St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Evansville, Ind., three of her six children attended Southeast.

"She certainly had a love for education as well as the nursing field," Rains said.

Besides Southeast, the Crisps have supported other institutions, including the University of Tennessee and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where Rosemary was recently honored with the Inspiring Women of Achievement Award.

Dobbins said Rosemary remained optimistic throughout her fight against cancer, never complaining.

"I don't think I ever saw Rosemary without a smile. She was very positive, always looking at the positive side of issues and people," he said.

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