William B. Crooker, 91, resident of Big Spring, Howard County, since 1954, died Feb. 9, 2015, at his home in Big Spring, Texas. He was born in New York, N.Y. July 2, 1923, the son of William B. Crooker and Doris Miller Crooker of White Plains, N.Y. He married Joyce Glenn Aug. 8, 1945 in Big Spring, Texas. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in August of this year.|
Bill was a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, and had more than 35 years of personnel, purchasing and business management experience. He owned his own business, Mr. G's Garden Center and Christmas Store, for more than 10 years.
He was a veteran of World War II, serving in the European Theater with the 464th Bomb Group, 778th Squadron, 15th Air Force. On Dec. 6, 1944, on a bombing mission, his B24 plane was shot down by German fighters and he was taken as a prisoner of war of the Germans and held in Barth, Germany Stalag Luft I. He was honorably discharged in 1945 and received a Prisoner of War metal in 1988.
He was the first Republican to be elected to a political office in Howard County. He became Howard County Commissioner, Prec. 3, Jan. 1, 1969, and retired Dec. 31, 2008, after 10 four-year terms (40 years). He served with seven county judges.
His conservative values guided the way Howard County was managed and the taxpayers were well served.
He chaired the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee and provided preliminary data for the Highway 87 Truck Reliever Route; he was a board member of the Ports-to-Plains Trade Corridor Coalition from its inception in 1977, retiring in 2011.
Being a visionary, always intent on finding ways to improve economic conditions for Howard County, he relentlessly fought for his $45 million truck reliever route. For other transportation projects, in 2003 he was a recipient of the Texas Department of Transportation Road Hand Award.
Bill was member of the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services Advisory Panel that worked to keep the Veterans Administration Hospital located in Big Spring. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Directors of the West Texas Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation in 1994 and 1995 and was instrumental in the development of the 23-County Mental Health and Mental Retardation.
After retirement, he continued to work for the benefit of Howard County by serving as a board member of the Howard County Community Health Center, a division of South Plains Rural Health Services, Inc. The health center provided medical, eye and mental health care, but lacked a dental clinic. Through a generous private donor, money was provided for the dental clinic, with emphasis that it be named the William B. Crooker Dental Clinic, for his outstanding commitment to the community and lifelong public service.
Bill had requested in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Howard County Health Center, Attention Administration, 1000 FM 300, Levelland, Texas 79336.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Jane Crooker; and an infant son, James Crooker.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce; two daughters, Karen and husband, Dan Patterson of Big Spring and Dori and husband, Ronnie Wegner of San Angelo; a son, William B. Crooker III and wife, Debbie of Temple; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and many cousins.
Pallbearers will be Rick Proffitt, Jay Proffitt, Seth Proffitt, Jeb Willingham, Grayson Honeycutt and William Crooker.
Visitation will be Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, at 10 a.m. Interment with military honors will follow at Trinity Memorial Park.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home. Online condolences can be made at www.npwelch.com
Published in Big Spring Herald on Feb. 12, 2015