Robert L. and Kathleen B. Crudup Family Scholarship Fund
It is fitting that the Crudup family has named this scholarship the Spirit of Portsmouth Award. Several years ago, 90-year-old Robert Crudup was named “Portsmouth’s number one fan,” and the late Kathleen Crudup was named an "Outstanding Portsmouth Citizen" by the Portsmouth Grange in 1990.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Robert was drafted into the Army during his first year in college. Kathleen, a native of Newport, graduated from Rogers High School and Truesdale Hospital School of Nursing in Fall River before joining the Army as a nurse. Both served overseas during World War II before being stationed at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, where they met. The couple dated and soon married. Robert then served one year in Japan before he and Kathleen settled in his native Oklahoma. There, Robert returned to Oklahoma State University and Kathleen enrolled at Phillips University on the GI bill, both earning degrees in education, including a master’s degree for Robert.
During a 1952 visit to Newport, the Crudups – by then having three of their five children – decided to move to Aquidneck Island. Robert was offered a teaching position in Middletown and also in Portsmouth at an annual salary of $4,200, an offer he said he could not refuse, and so began his 33-year career in the Portsmouth School Department.
Kathleen worked nights at Newport Hospital until the youngest of the five Crudup children was in school, then she returned to school herself and began a second career teaching special education. She taught for nearly two decades, in both Newport and Portsmouth. “She was a supportive teacher, a wonderful mother, and a great mentor,” the Crudup children share of their mother who died 20 years ago from cancer.
Noting that their dad has often helped students in need, his family shares, “Our dad wants to continue to support the education of Portsmouth students.”
Mike Monahan, director of student support services at Portsmouth High School, talked with Robert and his family about working through The Rhode Island Foundation, which they say made setting up the scholarship very easy. "The award honors our parents’ legacy as well as each year’s recipient . . . and it will continue to do that for years to come.”