Courthouse Fixture Dies; Funeral Set, But Uncertain

By: Cayle Thompson Email
By: Cayle Thompson Email

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Clarence "Buddy" Crumble, the man who shined shoes inside the Sedgwick County Courthouse for much of his life, has died.

Crumble was featured as one of Hatteberg's People in 2005. Courthouse officials had moved Crumble's shoeshine stall to the basement so they could make room for security upgrades following the 9/11 attacks. The move caused Crumble's business to begin crumbling itself.

After the story aired, and with the help of an attorney, Crumble gained tremendous public support. He was eventually allowed to move back to the main lobby where he made most of his money. He was known for his love of jazz music and easygoing conversations with clients.

Crumble died Friday, Dec. 19th, of complications from pneumonia. He was 78 years old.

"He loved people," said Craig Black, Crumble's great-nephew. "When you love people, people love you back."

Black says his uncle shined thousands of shoes over his 30+ years in the courthouse. Some judges and attorneys were regular customers. Crumble even once shined the shoes of the President's Secret Service.

But as much as Crumble loved shoe shining, Black says it wasn't enough to buy insurance or put much away in savings. It's left very little money to pay for Crumble's funeral.

Black says his family is not asking for a hand-out, but that donations to help bury his uncle would be greatly appreciated.

"If you talked to him or listened to his jazz, he always had a story to tell," Black said. "He was a conversationalist. He had a story to tell anybody."

Black says the family has already had to delay the funeral once because of short funds. They're hoping to raise enough over the weekend to give Crumble a proper burial on Monday morning.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11:00 on Monday, Dec. 29th at Jackson Mortuary, 1125 East 13th St. The mortuary has set up a fund to help pay for Crumble's services. Those wishing to help may send donations to the address above, or call the mortuary directly at 262-5431.

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