Herbert A. Creef, Pioneer Theatre owner, dies

By on July 7, 2012

Herbert Augustus “H.A.” Creef Jr, died Friday in Norfolk, Va.

H.A. was a “Native Son,” born in Manteo, and was owner/operator of The Pioneer Theatre and The Duke of Dare Motor Lodge in Manteo. He was a member of Mount Olivet United Methodist Church.

H.A. was a former commissioner of the Town of Manteo and an avid supporter of the revitalizing, promoting and preserving downtown Manteo.

He was a former member of the Roanoke Island Volunteer Fire Dept, Manteo Masonic Lodge #521 AF&AM, a Scottish Rite Mason and a graduate of East Carolina University where he was a Letterman and a proud member of the Pirates Club.

He also showed interest in Dare County’s youth. He was a former volunteer coach for the Manteo High School Redskins and a member of the Tidewater Council Soap Box Derby. H.A. taught multiple youth in Dare County “theatre etiquette” and was labeled by some to be the “cheapest babysitter in town.” H.A. served his country honorably in the Korean War with the U.S. Air Force.

He was the son of the late Herbert A. Creef Sr. and Ann Burrrus Creef and husband of Elizabeth Hill Creef.

Besides his wife, surviving are his daughter, Liz Ann Meekins and husband Lish of Manteo; two sons, Tim Creef and wife Denise of Winston-Salem and Buddy Creef and wife Kate of Manteo; one sister, Ruby Eves of Newport News, Va; five grandchildren, Will Creef, Davis Creef, Sara Creef, Elyssa Creef and Alex Creef. Besides his parents, he is predeceased by his sisters, Carita Parker and Margaret Ann Gray and his brother George Creef.

A celebration of life will be in Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, Tuesday July 10, 2012, at 11 a.m. by the Rev. Jerry Cribb and the Rev. Dr. Jerome Smith. Burial will be in Manteo Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the home of his daughter and son-in-law, at 135 Meekins Drive in Manteo, Monday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Memorials may be made to the ECU Educational Foundation, Ward Sports Medicine Building Suite 304, Greenville, NC

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July 10, 2012 9:01 am

I am so sorry to hear of his passing. He was a great man. Many prayers for his family and friends.

eddie and kerri

July 10, 2012 7:34 am

wow its tuesday morning and what a sad day and to see this
mr H A what a nice guy
he was one of the first guys i seen in manteo and wow he knows some history. me and my wife is sadden to hear hes gone and he will be saddly missed and by many
bye mr creef

Norm Scalise

July 9, 2012 4:47 pm

H. A always treated me in his joking friendly manor. Even though we were on the came side we would talk politics until we both became frustrated and mad! He was a good man. He was Mr. Manteo to me with his many stories that I tried to get him to write down…I wish that he had. I can still see him running around in the Duke of Dare parking lot. 2 weeks ago I was standing in the doorway to his office talking to him. I told him he’d better stop smoking or it would stunt his growth, he would say it’s too late for that because he stopped growing a long time ago. He took pride in his theater, showing me the projector workings, the plans that he had for the motel. He was a walking fountain of knowledge. I just talked to him a few days ago. H.A. thank you for being my friend and for the many hours of conversation that we had over the past 20+ years. You were a pleasure to know. Rest in peace. Norm Scalise


July 9, 2012 11:24 am

He waved at me from the red truck coming out of the Motel last week…didn’t know that would be the last I’d see him…what a mentor he was to me and so many others…love ya H.A.


July 8, 2012 10:21 am

HA was a Manteo servant; for many years as a Commissioner and as a businessman. At the Pioneer, he kept me and my friends in line when I was a kid, and my son and his friends in recent years. He was always warm and friendly, ready to share a story or a joke. We’ll all miss seeing him.


July 7, 2012 6:08 pm

It truly will not be the same. I looked forward to going to the theatre just to talk to him. What an amazing man! God has certainly received an angel.

Jimmy C

July 7, 2012 5:03 pm

My mom would drop us off at the Pioneer and know Mr H.A. would make sure we stayed out of trouble & harms way(almost 40 years ago).He will be missed.RIP to a great Outer Banker

Jim Mills

July 7, 2012 1:09 pm

One of the first people I met when I moved here in 1985. I liked him from the start. He always had a good story to tell. I respected him for his principals in not running R rated films at the Pioneer and for keeping prices low. He will be greatly missed. God bless the family during this time.

Kevin Gray Conner

July 7, 2012 12:59 pm

It’s sad that with the passage of time, we lose those that helped make our community so unique.


July 7, 2012 12:47 pm

Oh My!I loved Mr Creef!If there was one person in all of Roanoke Island who truly cared and loved children,it was indeed Mr Creef.RIP my friend.


July 7, 2012 11:27 am

Manteo will not be the same without Mr. Creef. Over the past several years, I have spent many times with him in front of the Pioneer Theater, always learning about the history of Manteo, the Creef family, and the Pioneer Theater. H A Creef will be missed by many.


July 7, 2012 11:11 am

It just will not be the same without seeing Mr. HA Creef standing at the entrance of the Pioneer and listening to his many stories. He will be missed.

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