Leader in concrete concept dies


Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 12:36 a.m.

Theodore R. "Ted" Crom Sr., co-founder of Crom Corp. and a national leader in prestressed concrete, died Thursday night at age 87.

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Crom

Crom was one of the first in the nation to work with prestressed concrete and helped set the standards for use of the product nationwide. He got his start with the concept while working with his father, J.M. Crom, to build the first prestressed beams in Florida. They were used in the construction of a church on NW 5th Avenue in Gainesville in 1952. The church has since been demolished.

Following his retirement from the corporation in 1992, Crom moved from Gainesville to a lake home in Melrose.

A native of Illinois, Crom wound up in Gainesville after being drafted during World War II and being sent to the Army Specialized Training Corps at the University of Florida. While assigned to UF, Crom met his future wife, UF secretary Wynona "Nonie" Nitz, at the Glen Springs swimming pool. The couple married months later and had four boys, Theodore P., Frank Gary, Brady and Duff, who preceded his father in death.

Crom's academic career was intertwined with his interest in athletics and included stints at the University of Maryland, where he lettered in wrestling and participated in gymnastics, and Columbia University and the University of Florida, where he was a member of the diving team.

Among his many pursuits, Crom once served as Gainesville's chief building inspector, was identified as a Galloneer for donating 35 gallons of blood to the Civitan Blood Center, and was an avid collector of 18th century watches, clocks and the tools used to produce them. The Smithsonian Institute will be accepting many of his unique and rare pieces.

A celebration of Crom's life has been planned for Saturday at 1 p.m. in the fellowship hall of First United Methodist Church in Gainesville. In lieu of flowers, the Crom family suggests donations be made to Haven Hospice, 6400 St. Johns Ave., Palatka, FL 32177.

Karen Voyles can be reached at 352-359-5656 or kvoyles@gmail.com.

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