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Commander A. Russell Croft, Jr., USN (Ret), died at Cape Canaveral Hospital, Cocoa Beach, FL on December 2, 2012. He was born in Montpelier, Idaho on 21 November 1921, but grew up in Ogden, Utah.
He graduated from the US Naval Academy on 9 June 1943 with the war time accelerated class of 1944. Immediately after graduation in Annapolis, Russell traveled to Wilmington, Delaware where later that day he married the former Nancy Nason at her parents home. (A busy day).
After serving on the heavy cruiser, Chester, in the Pacific during WWII, he completed flight training in Pensacola, FL, earning his wings in April, 1946. Over the next 19 years he was a naval aviator serving in aircraft carrier fighter squadrons and in various staff positions including at the Pentagon and the JSTPS at SAC headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base. He commanded the Tallahatchee County (AVB-2) in the Mediterranean.
After retiring from the Navy, he began working for the Boeing Corporation in 1966, first in Huntsville, Alabama as an aeronautical engineer, and then in Seattle, Washington in 1974 to work on the 747E-48 Airborne Command Post. In 1981, he began work on Boeing's upper stage booster for the space shuttle in Cape Canaveral, Florida. He retired from Boeing in 1985 and has lived in Cocoa Beach since then.
He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Nancy Nason Croft; as well as four children, Alfred R. Croft III (Pamela) of Hartsville, SC, Candace N. Croft of Indian Harbour Beach, FL, Barbara N. Croft, MD of Atlanta, GA and Martha C. Barber (Mark) also of Atlanta, GA; five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Also surviving is his sister, Lois Croft Storey of Nashville, TN.
Services will be conducted at the USNA Columbarium in Annapolis, MD at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Vitas Hospice Care, Melbourne, FL.
You may sign Russell's guest book at www.beckman-williamson.com.
Beckman Williamson Funeral Home - Viera
5400 Village Drive Viera, FL 32955
Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Dec. 6, 2012