Barbara Hardin Crespino, an inspiring speaker and writer on issues of faith and suffering, died May 21, 2011 after an eight and a half year battle with peritoneal cancer. She was 71.
Born on July 22, 1939 in Macon, she was the firstborn child of Edward Faser Hardin, Jr. and Dorothy Adams Hardin.
She attended Mississippi State College for Women for one year before transferring to the University of Mississippi, where she was a member of Chi Omega Sorority. She graduated in 1961 with a B.A. in English. That same year she married Bobby Crespino, a rookie tight end with the Cleveland Browns, whom she had met in college. Three years later, they moved to New York after her husband was traded to the New York Giants.
After their football days, the couple took up residence in Macon where Mrs. Crespino taught high school English. She later became an owner of a ladies boutique, Mimi’s, but she found her calling when she started a Sunday school class for young couples at the First United Methodist Church. Never dull or saccharine, she spoke honestly about her own struggles in faith and marriage, and each week the classroom overflowed.
She became a favorite speaker before church and women’s groups both in Mississippi and in western North Carolina, where she and her husband spent time each summer. In 2002, she was diagnosed with cancer, and her prognosis was not good. Yet she regularly addressed cancer survivor groups, and was an inspiration to hundreds of people that she encountered in hospitals and churches. She started a blog on CaringBridges.org that became the basis for a book, Living on the Edge: A Journey in Faith, published in 2008.
She is survived by her husband, Bobby, of Jackson; her mother, Dorothy Adams Hardin of Macon, her brother Faser Hardin and sister in law Annie Chadwick of New York, N.Y. ; her daughter Mary Lou Mitchener and son-in-law Keven, of Macon, her son Robert, Jr., of Macon. her son Joe and daughter-in-law Caroline Herring, of Decatur, Ga. and five grandchildren.
Memorials can be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at www.ocrf.org/index.php , or to the Catholic Charities Disaster Relief Fund at www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/NetCommunity/.
Visitation will be Monday, May 23 from 5-7 pm and Tuesday, May 24 from 10-11 am at St. Richard Catholic Church. There will be a vigil prayer service beginning at 7 pm at St. Richard on Monday, May 23. The Mass of Resurrection will begin at 11 am on Tuesday, May 24. A graveside service at Oddfellows Cemetery in Macon will take place at 3:30 p.m. Cockrell Funeral Home of Macon in charge of services in Macon.