Obituary of David W. Crocker
The Southern tier lost one of its truest native sons this week - a man whose life was intimately intertwined with the history, the people, and the land in and around the Binghamton area for nearly 9 decades. DAVID WEEKS CROCKER enjoyed a life of purpose and commitment for close to 89 years, owing largely to his deep love and connection to Broome County. David was born in March of 1932 to Derwood R. and Margaret (Weeks) Crocker. He is the grandson of the Illustrious Edwin R. Weeks and Grace Jillson Weeks, proprietor of Binghamton's notorious Weeks and Dickenson Music Company. He was raised as a Conklin farm boy along the banks of the Susquehanna River, where his lifelong appreciation of the cycles of nature and the earth began. He would retain this deep connection to the earth throughout his life. Upon graduation from North High School in 1950, David turned his attention to acquiring various agricultural and mechanical skills, another of his lifelong interests. He completed technical programs at Harpur College and Alfred Tech, and in 1955, joined the U.S. Army. While serving at Fort Niagara, he perfected the mechanical and technical skills that he would carry throughout his life. Upon his discharge, he attained his training and licensure in Ophthalmic Dispensing, thus beginning a 52 year career in the optical business. He joined the family business, Binghamton Optical, in 1959, and would eventually become a partner in Peter's Optical in Binghamton. He was widely acclaimed as "the best optician in Binghamton" by generations of loyal customers! David met the love of his life, Margaret "Pokey" Smith and married her in 1960. Margaret, a Binghamton native, was a widow with 2 young daughters. David entered family life with his usual gusto, and would become a loving and caring father to 4 children. Over the years, he cultivated virtues of sincerity, loyalty, and individualism in his children, and provided them with the tools to go into the world with confidence and compassion. David was committed to church and community service throughout his life. As a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church, he served several years as a deacon, and on various administrative committees. He also sang in the choir for over 50 years. David was a long time Rotarian, serving for over 45 years, with near perfect attendance. He was on the board of Spring Forest Cemetery for over 25 years. He was also a member of the Madrigal Choir in Binghamton for 25 years. His commitment to bettering the community for all was profound. David was an early advocate of outdoor recreation. He enjoyed speed skating, skiing, fishing and marksmanship. His particular passion was for sailing, which offered the perfect combination of mechanical and natural forces, making him a master sailor of both small and large sailing vessels. He and Pokey enjoyed many years of sailing together. After 5 decades in the optical business, David retired in 2005. He and Pokey left their long time residence in Binghamton, and moved to Fenton, NY, where he entered the golden chapters of his life. In his role as gentleman farmer, he reveled in a return to farming and to the earth. He vigorously worked his garden, his fields, and his land. He cleared trails, mowed his fields, cultivated his 100 + year old rhubarb, and thoroughly celebrated all that rural life offered him. He was an active member of "Tractors of Yesteryears" and was a docent at their museum in Homer, NY. David is survived by his bride of 61 years Margaret "Pokey" Crocker, 3 daughters, Margaret "Muffin" Ray (Tom Demartine), Danielle Ray-Swords (John Swords), and Heidi Weeks Crocker (Billy Carroll), sisters Barbara H. Crocker (Williams) and Nina L. Crocker, grandchildren Rory Bogan, Zack Bogan, Alex Iacono (Florence Mauclere), Nikaline Iacono, Margeaux Swords, Julia Crocker, Olivia Crocker, and grand dog Gunner Weeks Carroll. He is also survived by great grandchildren Aubryana Swords, Sophia Caisse, Augie and Zola Roche, and a baby girl on the way in August. He is predeceased by his loving mother Margaret Weeks Crocker, son Andrew Fritts Crocker (Anna Crocker), father and stepmother Derwood R. and Dorothy Crocker, brother Derwood R. Crocker Jr., cousin John D. Titman, and granddaughter Gabrielle Swords. He is also survived by several loving nieces and nephews. The family will have a private ceremony, and will plan a celebration of his life in June. Anyone wishing to donate in honor of David, please consider donating to Mercy House of the Southern Tier, in Endicott, NY.