POMEROY — The Pomeroy area and business community lost one of its longest active members last week with the passing of Crow’s family restaurant/KFC matriarch Vera Crow.
For more than 70 years Crow was one of the driving forces behind the family’s restaurant that became KFC in Pomeroy. She remained active in the business to her final days.
In the fall of 2016 Crow was recognized by the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce with the Lifetime Business Achievement Award.
In presenting the award at the Gala, Crow’s granddaughter Lindy Gilkey told the story of her grandmother’s journey that led to her receiving the award. Gilkey said Crow’s work ethic began on the family’s ranch in Texas during her childhood. She went to college at 17, earning a degree in business administration in three years and meeting Tom Crow. It was then that she came to Pomeroy, raising three children.
In the mid-1950s, the Crow family opened the restaurant in Pomeroy which was known for its home-cooked food. In 1960, the restaurant joined with KFC and for the next 44 years was KFC and Crow’s.
During the years, Vera worked in many aspects of the business from grilling to cleaning, and loved her daily banter with the regular customers, said Gilkey.
In 2003, the Crow family had no choice but to build the new KFC-Long John Silvers, said Gilkey.
While the family was concerned what the change would mean for Vera, Gilkey said, “even at 91 she is the heart and soul of the restaurant.”
The Daily Sentinel sat down with Vera in 2017, as part of the annual Community Pride and Progress edition, talking about her life in the family’s business.
The article by Michael Hart from 2017 appears below:
“I’ve been here from the beginning,” Vera said.
As a driving force behind the Pomeroy Crow’s family restaurant, KFC and Crow’s, and eventually KFC-Long John Silvers, her beginning was 1953.
The newly married Tom and Vera Crow converted a gas station into a steakhouse, which Vera helped run “pretty much all my life.”
After seven years of success, they partnered with KFC for another four decades as a beloved downtown eatery.
“After all the years, we’re still here,” she said of the restaurant.
For the most part, things have moved too quickly for her to consider anything else.
“Never gave another thought (to another lifestyle) when I was so occupied with this,” Vera said.
She worked all aspects of the business, from grilling, to cleaning, to managing the books, but says the customers were always the best part.
“I love talking to customers, getting to know them.”
She completed a degree in Business Administration from Southwestern University in her home state of Texas, to which she attributes a great deal of her success as a restaurateur.
“The business grows over time, but the industry itself hasn’t changed. You have to have a work ethic, and deal with the public in a nice way. If you didn’t, well, they wouldn’t come back.”
She met husband Tom Crow while he was stationed in Texas as part of the U.S. Navy following World War II.
“I came from Texas, and Tom was stationed there,” Vera said. “He brought me back here, into his family.”
The couple would later have three children.
A whopping 70 years later, Vera remains an active member of the business community, working seven days a week at what is now KFC-Long John Silvers in Pomeroy.
At 91, Vera only hints at slowing down. Though her husband has passed, and family spread across the country, she still opens the restaurant every morning.
“Do I work full-time? Well, you know.” She smiled. “I’m in here every day, but I live next door. I would rather be busy than not. I attend my sorority (Beta Sigma Phi) a little less, and don’t travel like I used to.”
“Even at 91 she is the heart and soul of the restaurant,” Vera’s granddaughter Lindy Gilkey said last fall as Crow was presented with the Lifetime Business Achievement Award at the Meigs County Chamber Commerce Gala.
The nature of food service has not changed, and Vera points out much of the local flavor has not either.
She references the recent rock slide on State Route 124, and laughs “Antiquity was always bad.”
But personally, she enjoys growth.
“I like change, to improve with time… to never change?” She shook her head, slightly vexed. “Nope. Not for me.”
Services for Crow are to be held on Tuesday afternoon at Anderson McDaniel Funeral Home in Pomeroy. Her complete obituary appears on Page 2 of Tuesday’s The Daily Sentinel.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.