With great sadness I learned today that Alice Crooker passed away at her home on June 9, 2021. She was 73. Alice was the most active member of the forum. She loved to chat and had a wonderful sense of humour. Her husband Dave wrote this tribute to Alice:
Alice was born in Kirkland, Washington, in a hospital that is now the site of the Heathman Hotel. Her parents lived in a modest, but neat and comfortable home in the Everest neighborhood of Kirkland. However, her parents had a pioneering spirit and her father, who had inherited acreage near North Bend, Washington, decided it was time to move. The family resided in a garage on the property with neither running water nor electricity while he built a house. This spartan existence proved too much for Alice’s mother, just recovering from childbirth and she developed a severe case of postpartum depression and had to be hospitalized. Alice and her brother were cared for on a rotating basis by three aunts and uncles for two years. Her mom eventually recovered and had a long teaching career while also earning a master’s degree from the University of Washington. When Alice came home at the age of two, she was affected by all the rapid changes in her young life and did not speak at all. Worried about this, her mom would talk to her as she went about her chores, trying to encourage her to respond. One day, her mom asked what she wanted for dinner. To her amazement Alice clearly said “pie.” She had slowed somewhat in recent years, but from that day on most of her life has been a torrent of words accompanied by a love of pie.
Alice graduated from Auburn Adventist Academy in 1965 and began nursing studies at Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) that fall. During summers she worked at a nursing home in North Bend. She was engaged to David Crooker in the summer of 1966 just before he was drafted into military service. This was in the midst of the Vietnam War and they faced an uncertain future. Fortunately, Dave was assigned to a medical research unit at Fort Detrick, Maryland, so they advanced their marriage plans and spent their first year together in Frederick, Maryland. After the military they moved back to the Northwest and started their family. When the children got older, Alice was able to finish her college education, receiving an associate degree in accounting from Bellevue Community College. She subsequently spent several enjoyable years working as an accountant for Olympic Jewelry and Provident Loan in Seattle at its former location on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Olive Street.
Alice was an accomplished musician, playing mostly piano and organ for her local church and during assemblies during her high school years. She was also artistic, creating a number of quirky and unusual paintings that reflected her personality as well as beautiful painted ceramics. Every member of her extended family is assigned a unique custom dinner plate created by Alice with a holiday theme for use each Christmas season meal the family is together.
Alice was always active in her church and served in many positions of leadership including church board chairman and chairman of the Kirkland Seventh-day Adventist School board. An engaging storyteller, she kept not only children but adults fully attentive and on the edge of their seats often roaring with laughter at her colorful descriptions. Later in life, she was a frequent guest and eventual member of Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Watford, England, where she is remembered fondly for her humor and warmth.
Alice was an adventurer. She enjoyed backpacking, canoe camping and mountain climbing. She attempted Mount Rainier and came within two thousand feet of reaching the summit. Even after her diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, she climbed Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Scotland and the United Kingdom. She visited her daughter in England for the first time in 1993, immediately jumping into a rental car and driving hundreds of miles on the “wrong side of the road,” laughing most of the time. She went on a few dream trips, including to Switzerland with Dave in 1992 to celebrate their 25th anniversary and to Tahiti and Bora Bora in 1994 to celebrate the high school and college graduations of her children. She had always hoped to visit Antarctica
Alice was very brave. Her battle with Parkinson’s disease began at age forty-nine in 1996. The disease progressed slowly at first but after about six years the symptoms were getting much worse and she needed more sophisticated treatment. She found her way to Virginia Mason Medical Center in 2004 where she was offered a relatively new treatment called deep brain stimulation (DBS). This involves inserting small electrodes into the brain which receive electrical impulses from a neurotransmitter implanted in the chest. It is not a cure, but in many cases dampens or eliminates some of the more troublesome symptoms. It is a frightening procedure that many decline. Not Alice. She was more than ready to charge ahead with the surgery, and in her case, it turned out to be a great success, giving her many years of productive life that she could not have enjoyed without it. She wrote and published a hugely entertaining book about her life and experiences with Parkinson’s disease, titled Peas, “Pills” and Parkinson’s, along with a book of children’s stories called Living by the Swamp. She loved visiting England to see her daughter and grandchildren and she and Dave eventually purchased a tiny house there.
Everyone who knows Alice is impressed with the way she faced life and its challenges with courage and good humor, all the while showing concern for others. She is survived by her husband of nearly 54 years Dave, daughter Becky, son Dan, and grandchildren, Joshua, Jonah, Kenzie, and Cody.
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©