Van Jackson Crotts, 56, of Winston-Salem, N.C., died Sunday evening, January 25, 2015. He was the son of Marcus Bowman Crotts and Margo Jackson Crotts. 

He received a BS degree in Engineering Operations from North Carolina State University in May 1980, graduating with honors. After receiving a Masters of Business Administration from Wake Forest University in 1982, he began employment as a sales engineer with Crotts and Saunders Engineering, Inc., a business his father started in 1956. His lengthy career in the machine tool industry, from 1982 to 2013, allowed him to gain great knowledge of manufacturing processes and the metal working industry in the Carolinas and Virginia. He became a Certified Manufacturing Technology Sales Engineer (CMTSE) in 1993. In 2010, he was elected chairman of the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association. He retired as president of Crotts and Saunders Engineering in August 2013. 

Van Crotts was highly regarded in the machine tool industry. Association members remember him fondly: 

On Sunday January 25 our industry lost one of its best and brightest in Van Crotts. The impact Van had on the industry and in our lives was evident by the number of people that traveled to Winston-Salem on Thursday January 29 to be a part of his wonderful Celebration of Life service. Van achieved everything imaginable related to machine tool sales in his 33 years with Crotts & Saunders Engineering, but those privileged enough to have known Van outside of work know the thing he valued most was his family and the Lord. Van’s unwavering faith and strength in difficult times was an inspiration to all and he will be missed by many. RIP
Willie Eichele
Crotts and Saunders, LLC

We lost a true friend, a great father, husband and man of faith when we lost Van Crotts. He remained dedicated to those most important values as he fought his cancer with bravery and full confidence of his final destination. It was an honor to serve with him on the board and to know and love him as a friend. 
Thank you, Jerry Rex, CMTSE 

It’s always sad when someone in our industry passes on, but especially so, when that person is still in the prime of their life and their career. Van Crotts was a leader in our industry and his passing has been felt throughout the machine tool and manufacturing industries. I have known Van for 30 years. He, his family, and their business all have a stellar reputation, both for their expertise in machine tool technology and design, as well as for their high standards and integrity. I had the good fortune to visit my friend, and his wife Sally, last June. They both displayed the courage to face Van’s cancer together and with grace and dignity (and even with a bit of humor). I came away stronger after my visit, and I trust that Van’s legacy, in our industry and beyond, will be to make us all better at how we choose to live, to work and to meet even our small daily challenges. May grace and dignity fill all our lives, just as they have with Van.
Clark Smith, CMTSE
Smith Machine Tool Company, Inc.