February 14, 2022

“The second day I was in Germany, a good Aggie friend of mine suggested we check out a swimming pool where all the girls were,” Jim Crews ’57 reminisced. A young Air Force lieutenant, the new arriver to Germany was unaware that he was about to have the most important meeting of his life.

“We noticed this real pretty girl down the hill from us. My friend convinced me to go down, and I unsuccessfully tried to speak German to her. I got very lucky because she spoke perfect English. And that developed into a wonderful relationship.”

This 1959 chance encounter with Ute “Sue” Neumann led to a marriage spanning nearly six decades filled with love for each other and the Aggie Spirit.

A Life Together

After three and a half years in service, Jim returned to civilian life. The couple moved to the United States, living in Oklahoma, Illinois and Louisiana before settling in West Virginia. Placing great value on family, Sue wrote home to her parents weekly. They started a family of their own, raising their sons Raymond ’88 and Robert ’90.

True to the origins of their international love story, the couple loved to travel. West Virginia became their home base as they frequently toured with the Traveling Aggies, a travel group organized by The Association of Former Students. Over the years, they visited places such as the Panama Canal, California and the Danube River.

Though Sue never attended Texas A&M, the community was a major part of their social network given Jim’s die-hard Aggie associations. Later, she became an Aggie mom when the couple’s sons joined the Corps of Cadets, just as their father had so many years before.

Sue loved traditions—not just those of America and Texas A&M (of which Midnight Yell was her favorite), but also her homeland of Germany. “Sue was an amazing person,” Jim said. “She was active in promoting German traditions in West Virginia since there were quite a few Germans there. DuPont had a big office here, and many guys had married German girls.”

  • Sue's Citizenship

    Jim and Sue celebrated her American citizenship ceremony.

  • Life in the Refugee Camp

    Sue spent several years in a Danish refugee camp during World War II.

In Loving Memory

In April 2018, on the couple’s way home to West Virginia after a long trip visiting family, Sue tragically passed away in a car accident. Remembering his mother, their son Raymond penned in a Facebook post that Sue had always “enjoyed the simple things like sunshine, flowers, fresh air, and the sounds of the birds, but most of all, the sound of children at play.”

To memorialize Sue, Jim chose to honor their shared passion for Texas A&M and the Corps of Cadets with a $50,000 endowed Gen. Rudder Corps Scholarship in Sue’s name that rewards cadets who demonstrate leadership. Since she also loved the fine arts, Jim further created a gift with the Parkersburg Community Foundation for the Mid-Ohio Valley Symphony in her memory.

As for what the Corps gave to him, Jim believes he gained self-confidence and a profound sense of honesty. “I simply enjoyed the Corps,” he said. Hoping to see Corps enrollment numbers climb over the coming decades, he added, “I just hope this scholarship helps someone overcome financial difficulties and excel in their outfit.”

Unlike many Aggie couples who get to tell stories about their Century Tree proposal, Ring Dance memories or falling in love over a textbook, Jim and Sue found each other far from Texas. Jim already felt that the university was part of him by the time he met Sue, and Sue got the chance to discover what it means to embody the Aggie Spirit through the man she married. Whether their scholarship recipient chooses to stay in Texas or ventures abroad, their life will always be impacted by a love story that started with a boy, a girl and a swimming pool.

Is there someone in your life who loves the Corps of Cadets that you’d like to honor? Contact Matt Jennings ’95 at the bottom of this page about how you can create one of four types of scholarships for Aggie cadets.  

You can also explore our complimentary Giving Guide to discover the many unique ways you can give back to support your Aggieland passions.
 

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