1923 – 2013

AUGUSTA — Francis E. Crocker, much loved husband, father, grandfather and longtime resident of New Street in North Monmouth, died Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Augusta.

Francis was born in Winthrop on July 12, 1923. He spent his youth in Winthrop helping raise his many brothers and sisters. During his years at Winthrop High School, he played on the state championship football team.

During World War II, he served in Japan and the Philippines as a corporal and earned recognition as an expert rifleman, hitting a bull’s eye 500 yards away. This he accomplished while nearly blind in one eye as the result of a childhood accident. After leaving the Army, he graduated from Gates Business School with a B.A. in business.

During his work life, he held a variety of jobs, including accountant for Daniels Motor Parts, Stewart Williams and office manager at Coca Cola bottling in Augusta. From there, he went to work in state government, where he had a long and distinguished career. He held positions as accountant clerk, head of payroll, pre-audit and office services, prior to his retirement as deputy state controller.

On July 27, 1946, he married the love of his life, Lorena Cram; they spent 60 wonderful years at the home he built in North Monmouth. While living in North Monmouth, raising a family and working full time, he also found time to establish the American Legion Post 204 and served as its first commander. He was a life member of the Winthrop Grange. He served as a selectman and a member of the Planning Board for several years. He also assisted during elections and spent many election nights counting ballots long into the night. In addition, he was a member of the North Monmouth Community Club and was instrumental in acquiring land and establishing the public beach for that community.

Francis was an avid camper, fisherman and hunter in his younger days. Family and friends spent many good times with him at Moosehead, Rangeley and Sebago lakes trolling for salmon. An annual event for many years was a camping trip to Hermit Island, where he enjoyed his favorite campsite high on a hill overlooking the Atlantic, with a view of magnificent Maine sunsets. A highlight of those Labor Day weekend events was a lobster/clam feast, topped off with wonderful desserts brought by friends and family.

Francis and Lorena also spent a dozen winters in Florida, where they enjoyed sitting in the sun and going to restaurants with their beloved niece and nephew, Sharon and Roger Bickford, and longtime friends, Carrie and Curtis Berry. While residing at the veterans’ home, Francis served as resident council president. He enjoyed times spent there with his special friend, Ginny Gilbert, roommate Glen Desmond and “singing Jim.” The four of them were known as the “Wild Bunch.”

He is survived by a son, Gary Crocker and his wife, Ellen, of West Gardiner; a daughter, Kathleen Gerard and her husband, Milton, of Augusta; a brother, Herbert Crocker of Winthrop; a sister, Maxine Geikel of Gardiner; granddaughters, Heather Gleason and her husband, Keith, of Wake Forest, N.C., and Tiffany Manor and her husband, Steve, of Los Angeles, Calif.; step-grandsons, Adam Keene of East Madison, Mathew Keene of Portland, Andrew Gerard and his wife, Heather, of Marietta, Ga., and Peter Gerard and his wife, Andrea, of Gardiner; and several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Lorena; brothers, Carol, Melvin, Glendon and Bruce; and sisters, Betty Lyons and Mary Ferguson.

The family wishes to thank all the wonderful staff at the Veterans’ Home in Augusta. They especially want to thank the caring staff in Company “C” who provided direct care to their Dad.

Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.finleyfuneralhome.com.

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