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BRUNSWICK — Marion Alberta Crooker, 94, died peacefully Sunday, Oct. 10, with her loving family surrounding her in her home.
She will be remembered by many as the wife of Harry Crooker, a mother, businesswoman, community volunteer and philanthropist.
On Nov. 11, 1915, she was born in Yarmouth, the daughter of Grace E. (Jackson) and George A. Watson.
She attended school in East Brunswick alongside her future husband, Harry C. Crooker. They were married for 68 years until his death in 2004 at the age of 92.
At age 12 she had to leave school to help raise her siblings after the death of her mother. She was proud and humbled to accept an honorary diploma from the first graduating class of the new Brunswick High School in 1996.
She helped her husband grow his construction company from their backyard into Harry C. Crooker and Sons, Inc., located today in Topsham and owned and operated by sons, Frank and Ted Crooker.
In 1956 they purchased Thomas Point Beach, a public recreation park in Brunswick, that is managed today by their daughter Pati Crooker.
In 1962 they acquired Estes Lobster House in South Harpswell, which operated by their son, Larry Crooker. Larry, a restaurateur, also established the Taste of Maine in Woolwich, where his mother was a frequent patron, and could be found stocking the gift shop, enjoying lunch with her husband or entertaining diners playing her signature song “it had to be you,” on the restaurant’s piano.
When she and her husband retired from construction in 1973, they developed Crooker Mobile Home Park.
Her daughter Valerie Crooker Clemens was Miss Maine 1980, and Crooker spent years volunteering and supporting the Miss Maine Scholarship Program.
For 30 years she also produced and directed the annual community fundraiser, Crusade Capers.
For 20 years she chaired the annual Daffodil Days Campaign for the Brunswick Region America Cancer Society.
Known for their philanthropy, she and her husband made charitable contributions establishing the Crooker Gallery at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Brunswick High School’s Crooker Theater, and supported the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick and Topsham Public Library.
Over the years she received many awards for public service and citizenship in recognition for her contributions to her community.
The last project she and her husband completed together was the major restoration of the Chapel of Our Saviour in 1999. The project was Mr. Crooker’s tribute to his devoted wife and he dedicated the church in her honor.
A woman of fine character who possessed a strong work ethic, she didn’t dwell on regrets. Among her many talents, she was a seasoned cook, experienced seamstress, afghan maker, knitter, photographer, pianist and artistic creator.
She was predeceased by her infant son, William C. Crooker, her husband, Harry C. Crooker, her sisters, Evelyn, Georgianna and Ellen and her brothers, George Jr., William and Wilbur Watson.
Survivors include three sons, Franklin T. Crooker and his wife Anne of Great Island, Larry G. Crooker of South Harpswell and Theodore D. Crooker of Brunswick, and four daughters, Beverly G. Butler of Brunswick, Patricia M. Crooker Mulligan of Brunswick, Valerie A. Clemens and her husband Alvin of Pennsylvania and Candace C. Gregory and her husband Scott of Brunswick; 16 grandchildren, Bonnie Butler Libby, Cynthia Butler Lemieux, Frankie Crooker Jr, William and Nathan Crooker, Amber Marrama, Michael Mulligan, Adrianna Caitlin, Abigail Cassidy and Emily Crooker, Alvin Jr. and Conner Clemens, Brooke O’Leary, Deana MacLennan and Taylor and Chase Gregory; and seven great- grandchildren, Angela Robinson and Brittany, Brianna and Beverly Lemieux, Charlei and Owen O’Leary and Brody Caitlin.
Private services for family were held last week
A memorial service, open to all, will be held Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. at the Taste of Maine Restaurant in Woolwich, followed by a celebration of life.
Arrangements are by Brackett Funeral Home, Brunswick.
A tribute of her life may be viewed at brackettfuneralhome.com.
Memorial donations may be made payable to: Crooker Foundation / Chapel of Our Saviour, c/o Lorraine Darling, CPA, 26 Union Park, Topsham, ME 04086.