By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COLLEGE HILL - Miriam Agnes Croucher spent her life teaching about the Christian faith, first as the daughter of missionaries and later as principal of Eden Grove Academy.
Years after they left her classroom, former students would come back and visit.
"She took great joy in inspiring people," said her son, Jerry Croucher of College Hill, now general manager of WAKW-FM (93.3) Christian radio station.
Mrs. Croucher died Sunday after being diagnosed this summer with Lou Gehrig's disease. She was 80 years old.
Mrs. Croucher was perhaps best known for her 37 years as principal of Eden Grove, a College Hill non-denominational school for Christian students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. She retired in 1996 but continued living in a house on the 32-acre campus.
Her late husband, the Rev. Russell Croucher, had attended the school, which opened in 1921 as a boarding school for unwed mothers but grew into a grade school. The Crouchers married in 1950 in Colorado, when both were 27.
Mrs. Croucher and her husband, then parents of four young children, began working at the school in 1959, and over the years helped build Eden Grove's reputation for strong academics with a Christian philosophy. The Rev. Croucher was superintendent and operations manager of the school, and he was WAKW general manager.
"She was almost dedicated to a fault," her son said. "She always put others first and was just passionate about education."
Even before her days at Eden Grove, she was active in the Christian faith.
She was born in Pittsburgh in 1923 to domestic missionaries for Pillar of Fire, an international ministry based on the fundamental doctrines of Christian Protestant denominations. The family traveled around the country.
Besides education, Mrs. Croucher also was passionate about music, and gave piano lessons to students and grandchildren.
She was a member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Besides her son Jerry, Mrs. Croucher is survived by another son, Russell Jr. of Virginia; two daughters, Mildred Phillips of Michigan and Marilynn Oliver of College Hill; 14 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and four siblings.
Funeral services were Wednesday. A memorial and burial will be held in Denver, where her husband and family are buried.
Memorials: Eden Grove Academy, 6273 Collegevue Place, Cincinnati 45224.
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