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Walter's Story

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Walter B. Crooke, a resident of Mahoning Township for 25 years, formerly of Cedar Grove and Caldwell, N.J., passed from this life to life in the spirit at his home on Aug. 29, 2016, surrounded by his family.

Walter was born in Hagerstown, Md., to Leonard and Helen (Kieffer) Crooke.

He spent most of his youth in South Orange, N.J., and graduated from East Orange High School in 1948. He was on the editorial staff of the school newspaper and became its sole cartoonist, producing an impressive, eye-catching cartoon for nearly every issue. This talent led him to enroll in the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, from which he graduated in 1953. It was there that he met his future wife, Marcella.

Walter served in the New Jersey National Guard in 1950 and 1951.

He was a commercial artist and a versatile cartoonist. He was employed by May Tag & Label Co. in New York City, and was art director for Gaskill & Frey Advertising in Mountainside, N.J., and the Daily Journal in Elizabeth, N.J. In later years, he worked as a free-lance artist and also joined his wife in marketing her limited edition portraits. He was known for producing high-quality artwork with amazing speed. Even when not engaged in paid work, he could sketch a scene or person with remarkable likeness in just a few strokes.

Walter was an active member of Shiloh United Church of Christ in Danville, and assisted whenever the church needed his artistic abilities.

He enjoyed promoting a healthy lifestyle as well as gardening and playing the piano and harmonica by ear. He enthusiastically participated in "Silver Sneakers" at the Danville Area Community Center, and enjoyed long walks with Marcella. He was a devoted husband and father, as well as a selfless caregiver throughout his wife's long illness.

Walter is survived by three daughters, Darcy Decker and her husband, John, of Mahoning Township; Sharrell Crooke and her husband, Dan Zonenberg, of Wayne, N.J., and Lorie Mathisen, also of Wayne; four grandchildren, Katie Bard, of Allentown, Pa., Andrew Zonenberg, of Bainbridge Island, Wash., and Walter and David Zonenberg, of Wayne; one sister, Margaret (Daisy) Grubbs and her husband, Don, of Newtown, Pa.; one brother, Leonard and his wife, Elizabeth, of New Hope, Pa.; one brother, Arthur, of Newtown; one sister-in-law, Sarah, of Silver Spring, Md.; and numerous nieces and nephews. He will be missed by many wonderful friends and caregivers, including Bev Overholt and Sheila Staley.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Marcella; and one brother, Eric, of Silver Spring, Md.

Friends will be received at the church from 11 a.m. until the time of the service. A celebration of Walter's life will be held at noon Saturday at Shiloh United Church of Christ, 500 Bloom St., Danville, with Pastor Mary Schmotzer officiating. The family will provide flowers.

Contributions may be made in Walter's memory to Shiloh United Church of Christ or a charity of your choice. You may also wish to honor Walter's memory by a simple act of kindness in his name toward someone else, particularly a member of your own family.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Brady Funeral Home, Danville, Pa.

Please send online condolences to BradyFuneralHome.com.
Published on September 3, 2016
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