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Walter Gray Crump III

1932-2024

 

Walter Gray Crump III of Belvedere, CA, and Shandaken, NY, passed away on January 7, 2024. Walter’s wife of 39 years, Ann Hintz Crump, and his sisters Constance (Hume) and Cynthia (Crimmins) predeceased him. Walter’s daughter Sarah Collins (John) of Darien, CT, son Walter IV (Richard) of Savannah, GA, and his three grandchildren, Claire, Owen and Freya Collins survive him.

 

Walter was born in New York City on July 10, 1932, to Dr. Walter G. Crump Jr. and Claire Conroy Crump. As a young boy, Walter moved with his family from New York City to Darien, CT, where he attended nearby New Canaan Country School. Walter later enrolled in the Harvey School and Canterbury School before attending Middlebury College. At Middlebury, Walter majored in geology and was a member of the sailing team and the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity. After graduating in 1955, Walter served in the US Army as part of a unit operating the Nike Ajax missile system.

 

Walter was a passionate sailor and an accomplished racer. In his youth, Walter sailed for the Noroton Yacht Club and won numerous regattas, including the 1954 Connecticut Lightning Class Championship. In 1961, Walter placed first in the Tigercat National Championship (Tigercats were the first one-design catamaran class organized in the United States). In the early 1960s, Walter moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he raced Star Boats and Etchells 22s for the St. Francis and San Francisco yacht clubs. In 1967, Walter placed third in the Star Class North American Championship in Toronto, Canada. Following a long hiatus, Walter was coaxed out of “racing retirement” by his friend Edward Morey and sailed his last Star Boat regatta in 2017’s Lake Sunapee Open.

 

Sailing also formed the basis for Walter’s career. After leaving the Army, he worked for Hard Sails and then became a manufacturer’s representative for numerous marine-product companies. Walter prided himself in selling only products that he would buy himself. In the mid-1980s, Walter and his business partners Craig Dorsey, Sid Hendricks and James Norman developed, and subsequently managed, Schoonmaker Point Marina in Sausalito, CA.

 

Following their marriage in 1968, Walter and Ann moved to Belvedere, CA, and purchased the house where they would remain for the rest of their lives. Walter was active in the Belvedere-Tiburon community, coaching soccer and serving for many years on the Belvedere Volunteer Fire Department and as the town’s fire commissioner.

 

For the last 30 years of his life, Walter dedicated his summers to restoring his grandfather’s farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains. Walter loved the Catskills and became just as much a part of the community there as he was in California. At his farm, Walter enjoyed giving his “50 cent” tours and sharing stories about the property’s history.

 

Walter was a paradox. He was famously frugal. He always declined ice because “why pay for ice when the beverage you ordered could fill your glass?” At the same time, Walter was unfailingly generous to family, friends and charities. Before donating his old Volvo to a family in need of a car, Walter insisted on paying for new brakes, tires and other repairs. Walter loved to boast (or exaggerate) about rubbing shoulders with the famous or well-connected. Yet, he would be equally in awe of ordinary people with an interesting idea, skill or story to share. He loved to talk to people at a variety of places, including the San Francisco Yacht Club and the American Legion, where he would obtain the latest gossip or insight on where to find the best deals.

 

In the eyes of his children, Walter’s finest moments involved caring for his wife Ann as she battled cancer. Walter referred to marrying Ann as the “best decision” he ever made and was proud of her success as an artist. Walter was intensely loyal to his family. He was supportive and proud of his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Recently, he audited a college class of his granddaughter Claire because he took an interest in her studies and wanted to spend time with her.

 

Walter led a long, colorful life. He traveled the world, including to Africa where, with Ann’s encouragement, he discovered a new appreciation for wildlife, especially elephants. During his final years, Walter spent quality time with his immediate and extended family. He will be missed by his family and friends. A private celebration of Walter’s life will be held at the St. Francis Yacht Club on March 23, 2024.

 

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in Walter’s memory to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.

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