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Pfeiffer Mourns the Death of Longtime Pfeiffer Trustee J. Keith Crisco ‘64

J. Keith Crisco ’64, who has served for more than 30 years as a Pfeiffer University trustee, including board chair, died suddenly on May 12 at his home in Asheboro, North Carolina.

With a long history of public service, Crisco, who was appointed North Carolina Secretary of Commerce in 2008 by then-Governor Bev Purdue, most recently was a candidate for U.S. House District 2, facing former “American Idol” finalist Clay Aiken in the Democratic primary on May 6. The candidates had been waiting for a final vote in a race that indicated a difference of less than 400 votes before deciding whether or not a recount would be called.

An extraordinarily committed alumnus, Crisco was present at Pfeiffer most years for Homecoming and frequently for Falcons basketball games. In fall 2013, he and his wife, Jane Sidbury Crisco ’63, served as honorary chairs for Met My Mate, an annual Homecoming event for couples who met at Pfeiffer. Recently, he was instrumental in the success of an event at the North Carolina Museum of Art that brought together friends and alumni of the university and, in 2013, was a featured speaker at Pfeiffer’s first-ever reunion of MBA graduates.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Pfeiffer are with the Crisco family,” said Michael C. Miller, president, Pfeiffer University, Crisco’s friend and Asheboro neighbor. “Keith was an outstanding individual in every respect and will be missed beyond measure.” 

Born in Aquadale, North Carolina in 1943, Crisco graduated from Pfeiffer University in 1964 with a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics, after which he earned an MBA from Harvard University. From 1970-71, he served as a White House Fellow, with the position of assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

In 1978, he returned to North Carolina, specifically to Asheboro, where he eventually lived for more than 35 years, to become president of Stedman Elastics. In 1986, he and his partners founded Asheboro Elastics, which today employs nearly 200 people in the Randolph County community. Asheboro Elastics/AEC Narrow Fabrics is a consistent sponsor of Pfeiffer University’s annual golf tournament.

Deeply involved in his community, Crisco had served in elected positions on the Asheboro City Schools Board of Education and Asheboro City Council. He was also a member of the University of North Carolina School of Public Health Advisory Council and board chair for Bennett College, Greensboro.

The Criscos, who were married for 49 years, are members of the First United Methodist Church, Asheboro, where Keith taught Sunday school and served as a lay leader. In addition to Jane, Keith is survived by their children, who all are Pfeiffer alumni, and their spouses, John ’89 (Bramley), Greensboro; Jeffrey ’91 (Donna), Asheboro; and Julia (Gifford) Del Grande ‘94, Asheboro; and six grandchildren. 

Funeral services will be held on Friday at 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 224 North Fayetteville Street, Asheboro.

The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6 - 8 p.m. at Pugh Funeral Home, 437 Sunset Avenue, Asheboro,

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