IWPA Says Goodbye to Pearl Serbus Craft
By Marlene Cook, Historian
Pearl Serbus Craft, nee Dieck, died
September 27, 2010, at the age of 95.
Pearl maintained membership in three
NFPW affiliate: Illinois, since 1944, Indiana,
and Arkansas. Serbus served in
many capacities including president of
IWPA from 1957 to 1960. She was Illinois
Woman of Achievement in 1968
and national first runner-up Communicator
of Achievement in 2002 when nominated by Arkansas Press
Women. A founding member of POPPS (Parley of Past Presidents
Past) in 1972, she served as its president until 1989. POPPS honored her in 2000 at the Nashville, TN conference with a lifetime membership.
Pearl’s career began as a food writer at the encouragement
of NFPW founding member Leona Malek, who wrote for the
Chicago Herald Examiner. Pearl assisted Malek with the popular
column under the penname ‘Prudence Penny.” During World
War II, she wrote Victory Meals, a cookbook. Her many media
hats included reporter, feature writer, radio broadcaster, columnist,
book author, freelancer, consultant and editor.
Starting as a correspondent for the Calumet Index, Pearl
rose to Editor-in-Chief of Index Publications, a chain of 10 newspapers.
After her retirement, she pursued travel writing and
Pearl contributed greatly to her community and was
honored by many local organizations including the Chicago
South Chamber of Commerce, the Calumet Valley Division of
Illinois Education Association and was listed in the International
Biography of Women.
She is survived by three sons, Allan, Bruce and Curt, their
wives, eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and one
brother, Elmer Dieck, who is 97 years old. She was preceded
in death by husbands Gerald Serbus and James Craft. Pearl is
interred in the Serbus plot at Oakland Memory Lanes in Dolton, IL.
Her son Allan said, “When my brother went back to the
nursing home on the day she died, he found her fresh morning
paper delivered onto her bed. Despite all, she looked at a paper
every morning and it had to be unread when she started. That
day, the paper was there and she wasn’t. Mom really didn’t
understand the stories at the end, but somehow she understood it
was important and it gave her comfort to have it. Truly, she had
a lifetime involvement with the press and she would have been
happy to know that the paper was there. On her behalf, please tell
the press women (and men) to “Rock On.”.