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Tyrone Crider, ‘pastor’s pastor’ who led Operation PUSH, dies at 58

Tyrone Crider, a well-known South Side pastor who once served as the national executive director of Operation PUSH, died Friday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a long battle with cancer. He was 58. | Family photo

Tyrone Crider, a well-known South Side pastor who once served as the national executive director of Operation PUSH, died Friday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after a long battle with cancer. He was 58.

The politically active Maywood native once rallied youth votes for Mayor Harold Washington, and he led a national voter registration drive for the Rev. Jesse Jackson as the civil rights leader sought the White House. He later faced controversy following his own tenure on the board of the Regional Transportation Authority.

But “everything that he faced, he overcame,” the Rev. Chris Harris said Sunday.

Crider was the lead pastor of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Morgan Park for 14 years. He is survived by his wife, Regina Crider. The couple married in December 1994 and raised five children. Harris, of Bright Star Church of God in Christ, described himself as Crider’s “spiritual son” and said Crider was the spiritual father to many pastors.

Operation PUSH Executive Director Tyrone Crider (center) and the Rev. Willie Barrow attend a press conference regarding investigation in Nike minority hiring-investment after Reebok contributions in 1990. | Sun-Times file photo
Operation PUSH Executive Director Tyrone Crider (center) and the Rev. Willie Barrow attend a press conference regarding investigation in Nike minority hiring-investment after Reebok contributions in 1990. | Sun-Times file photo

In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Crider “a preaching giant, a civil rights trailblazer, and someone who cared deeply about Chicago, our state, and our nation.”

“The world may have lost a dynamic minister, but his legacy of leadership and service that touched so many lives will always stay in our hearts,” Emanuel said.

Crider studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta, the alma mater of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Crider sought to follow in King’s footsteps by focusing on social justice, building bridges between the black and Jewish communities and pushing for more civic engagement, Harris said. He founded New Hope Community Baptist Church of Chicago in 1991.

In politics, Crider’s loyalties appeared not to have partisan boundaries. He did some consulting work for Republican gubernatorial candidates. He also once endorsed a Democratic challenger to then-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

But the state’s top ethics watchdog came down on Crider in 2014 for steering investments as an RTA board member to a South Side bank to which he owed money. Crider stepped down from the board in 2013.

The Rev. Tyrone Crider is surrounded by firefighters and applicants as he addresses the media in February 1996. African-American firefighters gatheredat the New Hope Community Baptist Church to challenge the process and outcome of the latest entrance exam
The Rev. Tyrone Crider is surrounded by firefighters and applicants as he addresses the media in February 1996. African-American firefighters gatheredat the New Hope Community Baptist Church to challenge the process and outcome of the latest entrance exam, create their own union. | Sun-Times file photo

Harris labeled Crider “a man of integrity” in an interview Sunday with the Chicago Sun-Times. He said the late pastor never met a stranger, “made everybody feel extremely important,” and had a “tremendous sense of humor.”

“He was literally a pastor’s pastor,” Harris said. “He was a pastor to pastors.”

A two-hour viewing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, 1259 W. 111th St. Crider’s home-going celebration is set for Saturday. It will begin with a 10 a.m. wake, followed by an 11 a.m. service, at House of Hope, 752 E. 114th St. A repast will follow at Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.