Courtroom clock honors Crew

Courtroom clock honors Crew The Crew family of Vermillion and Sioux Falls recently donated a large courtroom clock for the Clay County Courthouse in memory of Phil Crew.

Before his death in 1998, Crew had practiced law in Vermillion for nearly 60 years.

Crew began to practice law here in 1939 upon his graduation from The University of South Dakota Law School and continued until his death, except during World War II when he served as a company commander with the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific Theatre.

Throughout his years in Vermillion, Crew was an active participant in many community organizations and activities and ran a real estate and insurance agency, and abstract company in addition to practicing law.

One of the most noteworthy events Crew was involved with while in Vermillion was the murder of Attorney John Olson in October of 1941. After a disgruntled litigant murdered Olson and shot at attorney John Payne, Crew grappled with him and struggled for possession of a shotgun while they tumbled down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk on Main Street.

Circuit Judge Arthur Rusch said that the clock is a wonderful addition to the Clay County courtroom. He said that the Vermillion courtroom is one of the most beautiful courtrooms in this part of the state with its coffered ceiling and 12 chandeliers. Rusch also pointed out that although the Clay County Courthouse was built in 1912-13 at a cost of $95,000, the county commissioners have done an excellent job of maintaining it and making necessary improvements.

While the clock donated by the Crew family is a new Howard Miller quartz clock, it is finished in a style that exactly fits the antique oak paneling and furniture in the courtroom.

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