James Sprague Crocker, 88, of Milford, passed away peacefully on November 11, 2022, surrounded by his three children. He was the beloved husband of the late Patricia Crocker, to whom he was married for 57 years. Born on July 6, 1934 in New Haven, he was the son of the late Lucille (Sprague) and James Samuel Crocker. From an early age, Jim took his role as ‘big brother’ to six younger siblings seriously. A graduate of West Haven High School, Jim was a career-long production supervisor at defense contractor Norden Systems in Norwalk, CT as he and Patricia raised their family in Milford.
An avid outdoorsman, Jim was much more comfortable out on a hiking trail than at a crowded social event. He could often be found with the day’s NYT crossword puzzle or a long historical novel in his hands, and family knew not to call when the NY Yankees or UCONN Huskies were playing.
Among his proudest accomplishments was his time serving in the US Navy from 1956 until 1959, as a Petty Officer 2nd Class on the USS Power. These few years profoundly affected his later life. Jim would have easily fit into his Navy uniform for the rest of his life, and answered to the occasional nickname “Salty Dog.” He proudly displayed his maritime predilection by building and displaying model ships.
Too modest to boast, he was nevertheless proud of his accomplishment in training for and completing the 1988 NYC marathon. Prior to that, he completed many local road races, including the historic New Haven Labor Day 20K. He remained active in recent months, continuing to golf competitively for nickels and dimes on summer Tuesday mornings with the Norden Retirees Golf League. For decades, he never missed the annual spring and fall hikes with “the guys.” None of them would have guessed just a few weeks ago that this would be his last outing with them.
A true kid-at-heart, Jim spent many treasured years as Dad to his three children, and then as Pampy to his six grandchildren. He wore many hats in his years as a Dad, including Sunday school teacher, coach, Scout leader and mentor. He will long be remembered for his quiet wisdom, playful nature and curious mind. During this past fall, he began a new hobby raising chickens in his backyard.
Jim is survived by his children, Jeanne Elizabeth Franciamore (Domingo), James Edward Crocker (Deborah), and Dianne Patricia Crocker (Peter Swan); his grandchildren, Elizabeth and Domingo Franciamore, Isabella and Alexander Crocker, and Monte and Aquinnah Swan; his beloved sisters, Lois Kennedy, Elizabeth (David) Fruin, and Ruth Crocker (Sue); brother Roger Crocker; and various nieces and nephews. James was predeceased by his wife Patricia, and his brothers Richard and Paul Crocker.
Family and friends are invited to gather on Thursday, November 17, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Cody-White Funeral Home 107 Broad Street, Milford, CT 06460. A Funeral Service will take place on Friday, November 18, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church, 71 River St., Milford (MEET DIRECTLY AT CHURCH). Burial will follow at the Kings Highway Cemetery, 271 Cherry St., Milford. Memorial contributions may be made in James’s name to Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church at www.stpetersmilford.org/giving.