Bruce Cresson Obituary, Burial, Funeral Plans & Visitation
Dr. Cresson passed away May 12 at the age of 91. Visitation will be held tonight (Monday, May 16) from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home, 6101 Bosque Blvd. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 17, at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church, 1300 Columbus Ave.
Dr. Cresson achieved a distinction in education and ministry. He received a B.A. from Wake Forest University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a B.D. and Th.M. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in religion from Duke University. After serving as minister of the Hillsborough First Baptist Church, he entered the field of higher education, teaching at SEBTS, Duke, University of Miami and at Baylor from 1966-2000, where he was one of the first scholar-teachers hired as Baylor was initiating its Ph.D. program in religion.
While at Baylor, Dr. Cresson spent 25 summers as director or co-director in archaeological excavations in Israel at Aphek-Antipatris, Dalit, Ira, Uza, Radum, and Malhata. In 1984, he was appointed vice provost for international programs, and in 1987 was named dean of Baylor’s University School, a position he held for four years. From 1994-2000, he served as The W.W. Melton Professor of Religion.
He was instrumental in establishing and directing Baylor’s Institute of Archaeology, the Institute of Biblical and Related Languages, and the University Scholars Program. He co-authored a college-level textbook, Introduction to the Bible, which was used in many colleges across the country, and he wrote numerous articles for periodicals and dictionaries, primarily on archaeological subjects. He was honored by his peers in 2000 with the John G. Gammie Award, given annually to outstanding scholars in the field of religious studies in the southwestern region of the U.S.
Dr. Cresson was a member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church for over 52 years, where he shared his knowledge of the Bible in various settings. His most cherished role allowed him to remain a biblical teacher by leading the Sanctuary Class where he both wrote and taught the curriculum.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Joanne; lovingly remembered by his daughter Lynn Presnell and husband, Craig; by his son, Bruce Cresson Jr., and wife, Laura; grandsons Collin Cresson and wife, Mira, Patrick Cresson and wife, Kim; and great-grandchildren, Elizabeth and Mackey Cresson.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Phi Beta Kappa and University Scholars Endowed International Scholarship Fund (also called The Cresson Scholarship) administered by Baylor University or Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco.