Stanley Wilbert Crocker
April 8, 2020
Stanley Crocker, well-known and much beloved rancher and horseman died in The Dalles, Oregon, on March 16, 2020. He was 100 years old.
Stanley was born on Dec. 1, 1919 in The Dalles, Oregon. He lived his entire life in the Centerville area on the family farm which had been the home to three previous generations. He was proud of his Finnish heritage and shared many stories of his ancestors who had immigrated to the Klickitat Valley. He attended Centerville School through ninth grade and then Kelso High School in Kelso, Washington, where he lived with relatives. He completed high school in Goldendale, where he was on the track team and played baseball and basketball. During his senior year he was the state basketball scoring leader. He continued playing town team basketball and baseball for many years.
After a brief stint at Washington State University he returned to Centerville and began working on the family farm. In 1942 he married his best friend's sister, Phyllis Noreen Crocker (Van De Vanter). Together they raised three sons, Robert Matthew Crocker, Joel Van Crocker, and John J Crocker. He established a Polled Hereford cattle business exhibiting and selling many prize bulls. He served as the president of the Columbia Empire Polled Hereford Association. He was a charter member of the Klickitat County Livestock Association and was named Klickitat County Cattleman of the Year. He was presented the O.P. Kreps Pioneer Memorial Award in 2009. He also raised wheat and alfalfa, recruiting his sons in the ranching and farming operations. His interests turned to horse breeding, first thoroughbreds. In 1972 he had the top seller at the Longacres Summer Yearling sale. His most prized photograph was of him and Noreen in the winners' circle at Yakima Meadows, where his horse, Satin's Image, had won the 5½ furlong race. He later turned to quarter horses and bred and raised several top rodeo and ranch horses. He became known as a knowledgeable and skilled horse trader in the process.
Stanley's infectious and entertaining personality made him a natural storyteller with his many stories of the history of the Klickitat Valley and the early settlers. He was active in the Klickitat Historical Society and served as narrator for field trips featuring the historic barns of the area and the military road which traversed through the Klickitat Valley. Stanley had many friends and enjoyed visiting with them. If there were no friends to visit, he would strike up a conversation with the closest stranger and soon learn that they had common acquaintances or shared common interests. To Stanley, there were no strangers. Just a few people he hadn't had a chance to visit with yet.
He was a charter member of Christ the King Lutheran Church and a member of the Masons. He attended innumerable baseball, basketball, volleyball, and football games and track and field meets of his sons and later his grandchildren and great-grandchildren at Centerville Grade School, Goldendale High School, and even a few different colleges.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Wilbert Crocker and Elina (Lawery) Crocker; his wife, Phyllis Noreen Crocker; and his son, Robert Matthew Crocker. He is survived by his sister, Ann Miller of Washougal, Washington; sons Joe (Robyn) Crocker of Lyle, Washington, and John (Joanne) Crocker of Prescott, Arizona; daughter-in-law Jan Crocker of Moxee, Washington; seven grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and countless friends.
Interment was at the Centerville Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be scheduled for a later date with announcement of the time and date forthcoming.
Please direct donations in lieu of flowers or cards to Heart of Hospice, 2621 Wasco Street, Hood River, Oregon 97031.