MARION, Ill. - Rosemary Berkel Crisp, 70, died Dec. 1, 2007, surrounded by her loving family, after a 12-year battle with ovarian cancer.
Born in Chicago, to the late Albert and Rose Berkel, she 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. A noted business leader as co-owner of Pepsi MidAmerica Company, women's healthcare activist, philanthropist and mother of six children, she was recently honored by Southern Illinois University at Carbondale) with its Inspiring Women of Achievement Award in October 2007. The honor befitted her lifelong devotion to improving the quality of healthcare services across Southern Illinois and beyond. She served on dozens of boards, foundations and committees during her lifetime.
In 1960, she married Harry L. Crisp II and focused her energies on raising a family, community service and growing the family business, Pepsi MidAmerica Company, which she co-owned with her husband.
From 1970 to 1985, she 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 continued to renew 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. She 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.
She was a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marion. At the time of her death, she was a trustee of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and a director of the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research in Washington, D.C.; the Southeast Missouri State University Foundation in Cape Girardeau, Mo.; the John A. Logan College Foundation in Carterville; the University of Tennessee Women's Philanthropy Alliance; and the Marion Civic Center Foundation in Marion. 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.
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; two sisters, Pat Pulley and Delores McCuan, both of Marion; and 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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. on Thursday.
Entombment will be at Rose Hill Cemetery.
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Memorial contributions may 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, IL 62918