Benjamin George Crocker was born in Mansfield, Louisiana, Feb. 18, 1928, to Benjamin Rush and Lizzie Andrus Crocker. He passed away at 85, on March 12, 2013, in Arlington, Texas, preceded in death by his parents, an older brother who died in infancy and his first wife, Oma McBride Crocker of Natchitoches, Louisiana, who passed away in 1983.
Surviving him are his three younger brothers, Kerry Crocker of Louisiana, Jerry Crocker and his wife Katherine of Royse City, Texas and Larry Crocker of Lafayette, Louisiana; his favorite cousin, Beth Wegener of Zwolle, Louisiana; sister-in-law, Joy McBride of Natchitoches, Louisiana and numerous nieces and nephews; his wife of twenty years, Ann Wenzlau Crocker; sons, Rush Crocker (and his wife Beverly) of Knoxville, Tennessee and Steve Crocker of Tomball, Texas; grandson, Benjamin (and his wife Sarah) and granddaughter, Brittany. all of Knoxville, Tennessee. Also, his stepchildren, Charles Wenzlau (and his wife Janice) of Hurst and Suzanne Donskey (and her husband Steve) and their children, Chuck and Steve of Keller.
Ben grew up in Natchitoches, attending Natchitoches High School where he lettered in football, basketball and debating and served as President of his Senior Class, graduating in 1945. While at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches he was elected Freshman Class President, became Manager of the football team his junior year and earned a Degree in Business in 1949. He completed his formal education with an MBA from Tulane University in 1960.
During the Korean War, in July, 1951, Ben received a direct commission as a Naval Reserve Officer in the Supply Corps and served on active duty and then in the Navy Reserve until July,1961.
Prior to his military service Ben started his career in banking, which was interrupted by the Korean War. Following his active duty service he worked for over thirty years in the petroleum industry with Shell Oil and American Petrofina where he was President of American Petrofina Pipelines.
His retirement from the oil business took him back to Natchitoches where he pursued his love of Cajun cooking and in collaboration with a boyhood friend he developed a Cajun seasoning called Louisiana Gourmet. He later sold his interest to his partner and returned to Arlington, his church and his friends and where his many tales had their roots in the past forty years.
He traveled much of the world during his career where he developed an insatiable appetite for museums and the history they represented. As an avid Anglophile he accumulated many books on all things English and broadened that scope into Biblical History and Biblical Archeology which became the basis of the many Sunday School lessons that he taught on a regular basis, primarily in the ABC Sunday School Class at Trinity United Methodist Church, which he and Oma joined around 1970.
Retirement was just a word to Ben as he continued a busy life until a little over two years ago – becoming a Realtor where he made many new friends when he returned to Arlington; continuing hunting trips with old buddies, most of whom are waiting for him at the Big Hunting Lodge in Heaven; honing his fishing and golfing skills where camaraderie was the reward; working on his stamp collection; enjoying ballgames, bridge games and parties of all kinds with friends old and new; doing all of the grocery shopping and most of the cooking and spent time developing and refining his recipe for Ben Baby’s Beer Cheese which has been widely appreciated both locally and regionally. Most recently, in spite of his declining health, he delighted in the company of twin grandsons, Chuck and Steve.
As a long time member of Trinity United Methodist Church, Ben was most devoted to the ABC Sunday School Class. He also contributed to United Methodist Men, co-chaired the Worship Committee and served on and chaired the Endowment Committee where he and the committee were instrumental in updating the By-laws and, with the help of the Texas Methodist Foundation and fellow Methodist, Mac McLain, developed a solid investment strategy and portfolio for the future of the church.
An ardent patriot, Ben’s love of country closely followed his love of the Lord and his family. He believed in helping those in need and his mission in life was to focus on the young, the future of our country, and thanking the many service men and women who were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for all Americans. He gave his support and gifts to many, including the Disabled American Veterans, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Wounded Warriors, Arlington Life Shelter, the Salvation Army, March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Boys Town, Methodist Children’s Home and H.O.P.E. Farm. In the interest of wildlife conservation he was a member of Ducks Unlimited. And, because history tells us that ever present are threats to the freedom from tyranny and oppression that we enjoy in this country, he belonged to the National Rifle Association to encourage the preservation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Honorary Pallbearers: Jerry Allen, Norris Bullard, Doyle Feaster, Ken Roberson, Phillip Orr, Jr., John Wegener, Richard McBride, Tom Ivey, Jerry Crocker and Larry Crocker.
Ben’s impossible dream was to have all of his family and friends at the graveside service, walking in a group to the reception and listening to a recording of Pete Fountain playing Just a Closer Walk With Thee and When The Saints Go Marching In – then on to the Reception with plenty of booze, good cheer and a celebration of a life well lived.
The family extends a special thank you to Community Hospice of Texas and staff members, Theresa, Michelle, Shawna and Gloria, who tenderly and compassionately cared for Ben in the final weeks of his life.
A Memorial Service for family and friends will be held Tuesday, the 19th, at 11:00 AM at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1200 West Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington, Texas, 76013, with Rev. Linden Damschroder and Rev. Miriam Georg officiating. A graveside service will be held at 11 am Saturday May 11th at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches, LA.
In lieu of flowers, Ben requested that gifts in his memory be made to the Methodist Children’s Home, 1111 Herring Avenue, Waco, TX 76708; H.O.P.E. Farm, Inc., 865 E. Ramsey Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76104 or any of the other organizations mentioned above.