Thomas Howard Crocker, age 89, formally of Niles, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and educator, passed away with his family by his side on Saturday, August 6, 2022.
He was born in Niles on January 30, 1933 to the late Quinton Crocker and Bessie Lee (Sissom) Crocker. Thomas graduated from Niles High School. On January 1952 in Niles, he married the former Lois Jean Kater. Thomas then entered the Navy and honorably served during the Korean Conflict. After his service to our country, he earned his Bachelor of Arts from Western Michigan University and later his master’s degree from Indiana University South Bend.
Thomas dedicated his life to education. First as an Industrial Arts teacher and then as an Administrator. He was the Assistant Principal of Niles High School and as Principal for a year until his retirement.
He and Lois moved to Apache Junction Arizona in 2004. Sadly, Lois passed away on August 10, 2015.
Thomas was an accomplished athlete, during his High School career he played Football, Baseball and Basketball. He was an All State Athlete several times. As an adult, he continued to play Baseball. He also enjoyed golf. He could be found golfing on courses in Michigan, Florida and Arizona. Thomas appreciated nature. He would go camping (tent and camper) often in the Midwest. He had a love of fishing and ice fishing in the winter.
His devotion to students and their families was demonstrated in many different ways. Weather it was making sure a student had a ride to school or to have a heart-to-heart talk with a student in order to help them along the right path, Thomas could be tough but fair and understanding.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Quinton Crocker and Bessie Lee Doolittle, his wife, Lois Jean Crocker, grandson Sgt. Jason Holmes, brothers, Horace Crocker, Ed Turtle, James Turtle and sister, Jo Ann Flock.
Surviving Thomas are his children; Tammalia ‘Tammy’ (Steve) Sapmaz of Edwardsburg, MI, Bridget Perry of Queen Creek, AZ, Brenda (Tom) Vokal of Muskegon, MI, grandchildren; Jennifer (Tyler) Young, Kimberly Kujawa, Brian Holmes, Jr., Andrew Sapmaz and 17 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Joe Crocker of Niles, MI and Donna Oceanrider
Visitation for Thomas will be on Thursday, August 11, 2022 from Noon to 2:00pm at Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home, 615 E. Main St. in Niles. A Funeral service will begin at 2:00pm at the Funeral Home. Burial will take place at Silverbrook Cemetery with Military Honors provided by the United States Navy.
Online condolences to the family may be made at www.halbritterwickens.com
Memorial contributions in Thomas’ name may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html or to the Wounded Warrior Project at https://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/donate