Edward Elliott “Ed” Crutchfield ’63

Edward Elliott Crutchfield, Sr, longtime banker, civic leader, husband, father, and grandfather, died peacefully at his home in Vero Beach, FL on Tuesday, January 2, 2023. He was 82 years old. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, son and daughter-in-law, Elliott and Lynn Crutchfield, daughter and son-in-law, Sally and Robert Davis as well as his grandchildren: Sarah Davis and Eddie, Liza, Grace, and Lucy Crutchfield. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Katherine and Edward Crutchfield and sister, Jane Garrison.

Ed grew up in Albemarle, NC where he developed a love for football that earned him a scholarship to Davidson College. After graduation from Davidson College in 1963, he went on to earn his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Ed joined First Union Bank as a credit analyst in 1965. Although First Union had only $400 million in assets and paid him the lowest salary of any of his job offers, he saw promise and opportunity.

Eight years later, he was named the youngest bank president in the country. It was the start of a remarkable journey as First Union grew to encompass $253 billion in assets under his leadership until his retirement in 2000. First Union merged with Wachovia Corporation in 2001, and then subsequently was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008.

First Union’s growth in the 1980s and 1990s was fueled by the advent of interstate banking and the ability to diversify financial offerings. Ed excelled in both arenas. While other banks hesitated, he forged ahead consolidating the banking landscape. He negotiated more than 80 acquisitions that expanded the company’s footprint along the east coast. At the same time, Crutchfield pushed First Union to offer a full platform of banking, capital markets, investment, and wealth management services throughout the United States.

Ed served on numerous corporate boards, including Bernhardt Industries, VF Corporation, Liberty Corporation, Lurhq Corporation and Southern Bell Corporation. As a leader in a rapidly changing financial services industry, he played an influential role with organizations such as the Financial Services Roundtable, World Business Council, Bankers Roundtable, and the American Bankers Association.

Ed’s impact extended far beyond financial markets and corporate boardrooms. He was a passionate advocate for a wide range of educational and civic causes. In the 1980s, he created the “Excellence In Education” program to allow every First Union employee paid time off to volunteer in schools or work with young people. He promoted literacy programs, and championed the Boy Scouts of America, The Nature Conservancy, Independent College Fund of North Carolina, United Way, Habitat For Humanity, Communities In Schools and chaired the board of trustees of Davidson College. He deeply believed in giving people a chance to succeed in life and achieve their dreams.

Ed also played an instrumental role in leading numerous capital campaigns for organizations to ensure their long-term sustainability and development of vibrant programs. He chaired capital campaigns for the Children & Family Services Center, Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Salvation Army, Johnson C. Smith University and the YMCA. He was also recognized for his vision and leadership with Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Davidson College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University and Pfeiffer University.

Following his retirement in 2000, he established several foundations to support his charitable giving. The Crutchfield Family Foundation has provided hundreds of scholarships to students at Stanly Community College and the Crutchfield-Cunningham Foundation supports students who attend North Carolina colleges and universities.

Ed Crutchfield lived a large, full life. He was well known for his sense of humor, generosity, intellect and wisdom. He will be greatly missed.

Funeral services will be held at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte on Friday, January 12 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to VNA Hospice House. 901 37th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960