Joseph "Whitey" Kroll, 93, passed away on Oct. 31, 2013, in Charlotte, N.C.
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Mr. Kroll was born on March 14, 1920, to Kathleen and George Kroll. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, Jean Drost.
Whitey, as he is best known to his friends and family, was born in the South Side section of Scranton. He was a member of the "Willow Indians," a neighborhood club that played other clubs in all sports. He later gained a reputation playing baseball for the YMS of R. He entered the Army in 1942 as a member of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 82nd Airborne Division. He saw action in four major campaigns in Europe, including D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and the Invasion of Germany. For his service, his was awarded three Purple Hearts; two Bronze Stars and the Presidential Unit Citation; the French Croix de Guerre with Palm; and the French Legion of Honor. While in Europe, he played halfback for the Regimental football team and was named All-Europe in both football and baseball.
Upon returning to Scranton, Whitey resumed his athletic career playing for the Scranton Miners of the American Football Conference and was once named "all league." He was honored upon his retirement from football by the Southside Bachelors Club, proclaiming Joe "Whitey" Kroll Day on Nov. 17, 1946, in the City of Scranton.
Whitey was also a well-known fixture on the playing fields throughout Northeastern Pa. as a baseball umpire for 42 years. He officiated everything from Little League to college baseball and softball at all levels. In honor of his distinguished athletic career, he is a member of the Scranton Sports Hall of Fame and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Oct. 1, 2011, was once again proclaimed Joe "Whitey" Kroll day in the City of Scranton, as he was invited to Washington, D.C., by the government of France to receive the French Legion of Honor for his service in France during World War II.
He is survived by his two sons, Tom Kroll and his wife, Wendy, of Charlotte, N.C.; and Chuck Kroll and his wife, Darleen, of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; his four grandchildren, Austen, Samantha, Haley and Katie.
In addition to his wife, he was also preceded in death by his granddaughter, Kyle; his sisters, Jean and Cecil; and a brother, Walter, who was killed in Italy during World War II.
A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at Holy Rosary Church, 316 Williams St., Scranton, on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of Jean and Joseph Kroll to Little Sisters of the Poor at Holy Family Residence, 2500 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509.
Published in Scranton Times on Dec. 4, 2013