Frank B. Crookham
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June 12, 1909 - July 12, 2012
Frank B. Crookham was born June 12, 1909 in Georgetown, Nebraska, the youngest child of George
L. Crookham Sr. and Jennie Grace Steunenberg Crookham. The family of six arrived in Caldwell, Idaho by train July 16, 1909 when Frank was six weeks old.
Frank attended Van Buren Grade School and Lincoln Grade School and graduated from Caldwell High School in 1927. His athletic specialties were track, swimming and diving.
He loved to hunt and fish and it was not uncommon for Frank to get up before daybreak and have his duck limit, with classmate Paul Ernst, by the time the school bell rang.
Frank worked for a time on an ocean freighter and then the W.H. Woolworth Company in Caldwell, Salt Lake City and helped the company open a new store in Nampa. But, "essentially", he said, "I worked for Crookham Company all my life. I started by shelling popcorn during World War I to earn 10 cents to buy a milk shake on the corner of Main and 9th and that was when they really shook the shakes."
Frank along with his brother, George and sister, Edith and Don Baldridge, got the company on its feet at the little warehouse that still stands at 811 Dearborn. Their company developed many seed crop specialties over the years from parsnips to rutabaga, to onions, to popcorn, to turnip, to lettuce, but the main item was hybrid sweet corn, the first production being in 1932 with a variety called Golden Cross Bantam.
Frank married Jeanne Elizabeth Myers in Caldwell, Idaho on June 18, 1935. They had three children: Linda Crookham (Bob) Eggiman of Portland, Oregon; Carl Crookham (Jill) of Denver and Wade Crookham of Seattle. Jeanne died April 19, 1992. He also leaves two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Frank has been a member of the Caldwell Rotary Club, the Masonic Lodge and the Elks Lodge, for over 60 years, joining them at about the same time in 1937. He also served 5 years as chairman of the Caldwell Recreation Board and was responsible for such developments as Luby Park, the Memorial Park bandshell, the current recreational department office and initiated the little league football program. Frank and Jeanne were honorary life members of the Canyon County Historical Society and he served 28 years as caretaker of the Ward Massacre Memorial. He received the Caldwell High School Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001, The Rotarian of the Decade 1987 to 1997, an appreciation plaque from the Canyon County Historical Society, Rotarian of the year 2001-2002, and his favorite, a plaque honoring his service to the "Young Readers of Caldwell" which he was presented for helping the students at his elementary alma matre, Van Buren Elementary School. He actively participated in the Caldwell Rotary reading program by distributing dictionaries and books to students at area grade schools.
Frank was always pleased that Caldwell has its own first-class hospital. In lieu of flowers, he wanted you to consider supporting the West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell. Contributions may be mailed to the hospital at 1717 Arlington, Caldwell, ID 83605.
Frank, passed away July 12, 2012 at the age of 103. A private memorial service will be held. Memories and condolences may be shared with Frank's family in his online tribute at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com
Published in Idaho Press Tribune on July 18, 2012