John Crouch is being remembered in the community as a consummate gentleman, respected businessman and affable public servant who ably represented his hometown of Farmington both in politics and through his public persona until his death Wednesday at the age of 71.
The founder 44 years ago of the CPA firm Crouch, Farley & Heuring, he grew the business to include five offices spread throughout southeast Missouri. In addition to his work as a CPA, Crouch was also accredited in business valuations and frequently provided testimony regarding business and financial values as an expert witness.
His business partner, Terry Heuring, remembered Crouch as a man of substance and purpose who loved the community in which he was born, raised and lived his entire life.
“John was a true Farmington man,” Heuring said. “He grew up here and he loved the downtown area. He liked to see businesses prosper downtown. One of the buildings here he restored to its original architecture to keep it looking like it did 50 years ago when it was built.
“John has always wanted to see Farmington grow — and it certainly has. There’s been a lot of people responsible for that, but John was part of it. We’re certainly going to miss him. He was a great businessman. He helped a lot of people. He was friends to a lot of people.
“His dad was a doctor who delivered a lot of babies in their own homes here. John grew up here and a lot of people knew him. He always had a lot of interest in the medical field, too. His daughter works out of Parkland [Health Center] now as a doctor.
“John was really active in his church, and I think that as time went on he became more active and more caring. He helped more people. If you asked him to do something for you, he’d do it.”
Heuring shared an excerpt of what he communicated Thursday morning with the staff members at the firm's various accounting offices:
"Even though John had been fighting this illness for two years we were confident he would overcome it, because that is what John does, he perseveres. Now it seems as if almost out of nowhere he is gone.
"When John got to work in the mornings, no matter how bad he felt, he would walk down every hall in the Farmington office to say hello to each person. He was really telling us goodbye, we just didn’t know it. We will miss him dearly.”
Crouch entered politics for the first time when he ran for an open seat on the Farmington City Council in 2015 and won. At the time he said his reason for running was his desire to maintain tradition and progress in the community.
Mayor Larry Forsythe voiced both his respect for Crouch as a man, as well as his appreciation for what his presence brought to the city council.
“Farmington has lost somebody that was important to our city,” he said. “John was a ‘Farmingtonian’ from the word go. He knew all about the town’s history. He knew what was here and what was there. He cared about Farmington — that’s what you can say about John.
“Like whenever you’d put him as a chairman of something — like public works — he went 100 percent. He wanted to know everything about it. Farmington has really lost somebody. It really has. I’m really sad. Whenever he got sick, I was saddened by his sickness, and then he got worse and worse. We’re going to miss him. We really are.”
City Administrator Greg Beavers expressed his feelings of experiencing a personal loss in Crouch’s passing, saying, “John was one of the first people I met when I moved to Farmington many years ago. I worked with him on Downtown Development Association boards and, of course, on the city council for the last couple of years. We’re sorry to lose his involvement on the community level.
“John was one of my ‘go to’ people when I was looking for some guidance on some issue in town. I could call John and I always trusted the guidance he was giving me and always found value in it.
"He was just a great guy. I hate to say the word ‘great’ guy because it’s overused but John was just kind, gentlemanly, gracious — just everything good that a man ought to be. I have an immense admiration for John. I’m going to miss him."
In addition to having served in the past as a member of the Parkland Health Center board and a current member of the Farmington Regional Chamber of Commerce, Crouch took his Christian faith seriously as an active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Father Rickey Valleroy, a priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church, offered high compliments about Crouch’s spiritual walk.
“John was one who just simply made the world a better place,” Valleroy said. “He was always there for anyone who needed him. His love, devotion and faith in the Holy Catholic Church was so very admirable. I will miss his gentle and joyful presence on this earthly journey. He taught me so much about life simply by his actions. He indeed was a big part of the heart of St. Joseph's parish.”
Crouch was married to his wife, Kathy, for more than 40 years. He is also survived by the couple’s daughter, Jennifer, an MD in Farmington.
Arrangements are pending with Cozean Funeral Home in Farmington. The full obituary will appear in the weekend edition of the Daily Journal.