Kay Berry Crooker died peacefully, surrounded by her loving family, on the 20th of August 2012 after a two and one-half year battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare neurological illness. Kay was born in Kilgore, Texas on the 15th of December 1933. She lived in Kilgore and Dallas during her childhood years, moving to Houston in the 1950s. Kay spent her early adulthood first as a young working woman and then raising her three daughters with her wonderful husband, John H. Crooker, Jr. Love of family and service to her church, community, and city would be defining themes throughout her life.
Kay spent many of her adult years pursuing her passion for civic involvement and her strong desire to improve the quality of life for all Houstonians. Initially, she was on the board of the Tanglewood Homes Association, becoming President of this organization. Kay helped found the Houston Homeowners Association, the first grassroots organization in Houston to represent neighborhood interests in protecting deed restrictions and reducing traffic congestion. This interest led to Kay's appointment in 1984 to the Houston Planning Commission. She was re-appointed to this position by five successive mayors, serving a total of twenty-five years. Additionally, Kay made important civic contributions by spearheading efforts to have several ordinances passed by City Council for building setbacks, off-street parking, requiring trees to be planted in parking lots, and regulation of signs. Her commitment to improving the quality of life in Houston led to her substantial efforts in support of the last zoning vote in 1993, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Her continuing interest in civic improvements was also reflected in her active service on the boards of Trees for Houston, The Park People, Scenic Houston, Scenic America, Buffalo
Bayou Partnership, Houston Botanic Garden, The Center for Houston's Future, Quality of Life Coalition and Bayou Preservation Association. Kay's lifelong stewardship directed at preserving and enhancing her community and the environment around her was a reflection of her deep and abiding faith.
As a result of John and Kay's deep religious beliefs, they became involved at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, displaying a love of teaching and small group study. Kay taught the Bethel Bible study and Disciple program for many years, and was a long-time member of the Randy Smith Sunday School class. She was asked to serve in many capacities at St. Luke's, including Chairman of the Board of Stewards, and she received the St. Luke's Lifetime Achievement Award. Kay also played an active role in the long-standing Crooker family support of the University of St. Thomas and served on its Board of Directors.
Kay was happiest spending time with John at their vacation home at Lakeway on Lake Travis, especially when the whole family was present. Wanting their grandchildren to visit as many states as possible, she and John enjoyed hosting the family many summers in various locations around the U.S. Kay and John's love of travel took them to many parts of the world. The two considered travel to be a continuation of their education and they could often be found researching their next adventure. Kay was a member of various social organizations, including the Houston Country Club, and she was a past President of the River Oaks Country Club Women's Association.
Kay's family will always remember her wonderful sense of fun and the love she showered on her children and grandchildren. She was always planning her next outing with the grandchildren, whether it was to one of Houston's museums, Bayou Bend where she had been a docent for many years, the Zoo, or just a picnic in the park. She could be found, when the grandchildren were young, hosting a tea party with teddy bears, playing board games (her favorite being Dix Mille), reading, or singing a Broadway tune. Kay's (Grams') influence helped give all of her grandchildren a shared love of reading, traveling, playing games, and most importantly, family get-togethers.
Kay was predeceased by her dearly-loved husband, John H. Crooker, Jr. She is survived by her three daughters (Linda Hunsaker and husband Barry, Tara Mize and husband Alec, and Allison Margrave and husband David), and her six grandchildren (Ryan Hunsaker and wife Lauren, Kelly Hunsaker Leonard and husband David, Katie Mize, Lexie Mize, Meredith Margrave and Andrew Margrave). The family wishes to give special recognition to Flossie Butler, who was a longtime companion, caregiver and friend. She was greatly loved by Kay and deeply appreciated by the family. Special thanks for their loving care are also extended to Margarita Posadas, Betty Nava, Margaret Green, and the ladies from At Your Side Home Health Care - Norma James, Alberta Kwodjo, and Jacqueline Pommells.
On Thursday, the 23rd of August, friends are cordially invited to gather with the family during a reception from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening, in the Grand Foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
On Saturday, the 25th of August, at two o'clock in the afternoon a memorial service will be conducted in the sanctuary of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer Road in Houston, where Dr. Tom Pace, Senior Pastor, and Dr. Linda Christians, Executive Pastor, will officiate. A reception will be held in the Fellowship Hall following the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that consideration be given to making donations to either the CurePSP Foundation, 30 East Padonia Rd., Ste. 201, Timonium, MD, 21093; the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center, in care of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 2714 Joanel St., Houston, TX, 77027; or to Trees for Houston, P.O. Box 270477, Houston, TX, 77277.