Bishop Benjamin Jerome Crouch, a longtime Pacoima resident who founded the community's Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ and father of Grammy award-winning gospel singers Andrae and Sandra Crouch, has died at his home. He was 78.
Crouch died Friday of cancer, a church representative said.
Born in Dallas in 1915, Crouch studied at Wilberforce University in Ohio and the Biola Bible Institute in Los Angeles. In 1939, he married Catherine Hodnett, who worked as administrator of Christ Memorial for many years. Mrs. Crouch died in 1992.
The Crouches began their work at the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Val Verde, preaching at local jails, hospitals and drug rehabilitation programs and on television and radio. In addition, the Crouches were also active in high school and college ministries.
In 1951, Crouch founded Christ Memorial Church in the garage of a small group of San Fernando Valley parishioners. The church now claims a membership in the hundreds and has attracted international attention for its exuberant, spirited services, including the gospel singing of multiple Grammy-winner Andrae Crouch and his Grammy-winning sister, Sandra.