Rosemary Crisp

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rosemary Berkel Crisp, 70, a noted business leader as co-owner of Pepsi MidAmerica Co., women's health-care activist, philanthropist and mother of six children, died Saturday, Dec. 1, 2007, surrounded by her loving family, after a 12-year battle with ovarian cancer.

Mrs. Crisp was recently honored by Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) with its prestigious Inspiring Women of Achievement Award in October. The honor befitted Mrs. Crisp's lifelong devotion to improving the quality of health-care services across Southern Illinois and beyond. She served on dozens of boards, foundations and committees during her lifetime. At the time of her death, she was a trustee of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois and a director of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research in Washington, D.C.; the Southeast Missouri State University Foundation in Cape Girardeau; the John A. Logan College Foundation in Carterville, Ill; the University of Tennessee Women's Philanthropy Alliance; and the Marion Civic Center Foundation in Marion, Ill. Past board of director positions include: director of the National League for Nursing in New York, and the Society for Advancement of Women's Health Research, Washington, D.C.

Born in Chicago, Mrs. Crisp graduated in 1958 from St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Evansville, Ind. She worked as a nurse from 1958 to 1960 at Marion Memorial Hospital in Marion.

She married Harry L. Crisp II in 1960 and focused her energies on raising a family, community service and growing the family business, Pepsi MidAmerica Co., which she co-owned with her husband.

From 1970 to 1985, Mrs. Crisp was a volunteer nurse for the American Red Cross, Lions Club and Girl Scouts. Even though she ceased practicing as a nurse in the mid-1980s, she renewed her nursing license every two years.

She was co-founder of the Southern Illinois Women's Health Conference and also served on the board of directors for the Hands of Hope clinic, which offers free health care to needy families.

Her charitable work has been recognized with dozens of awards. Mrs. Crisp has been previously honored as "Citizen of the Year" by the Greater Marion Area Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Missouri State University has named their nursing facility the Rosemary Berkel Crisp Hall of Nursing in recognition of her many accomplishments.

Mrs. Crisp was a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marion.

Survivors include her husband of 47 years, Harry L. Crisp II of Marion; one son, H. Lee Crisp III of Marion; five daughters, Cynthia Crisp Dickens and Cara Crisp Sims, both of Paducah, Ky.; Catherine Crisp Newbold and Carole Crisp Schwarm, both of Marion; and Cheryl Crisp Rabbitt of Annapolis, Md.; a brother, Jim Berkel of Dahinda, Ill.; two sisters, Pat Pulley and Delores McCuan, both of Marion; 17 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her parents, Albert and Rose Berkel, both of Marion.

There will be a prayer service at 3 p.m. today, with visitation immediately following until 9 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 900 North Russell St., in Marion. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007. Entombment will be at Rose Hill Cemetery.

For those who have a preference, remembrances can be made in the name of Rosemary Berkel Crisp to Women for Health and Wellness Inc., in care of John A. Logan College, 700 Logan College Road, Carterville, Ill. 62918.