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Walter

Walter Crocker

d. October 27, 2016

Walter Adams Crocker, Jr., beloved husband and best friend of Theresa M. (Terri) (Fetta) Crocker, to whom he was married for 41 loving years, passed away on October 27 after a brief illness. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, he was the son of Gladys L. (Mellor) and Walter A. Crocker. He was the brother of Edith Willett of Alexandria, Virginia, and the late William McCauley and Gladys Exter.
Walter was a teacher, mentor and educational leader. His career in education spanned over 50 years, the majority of which were in administrative positions in the three institutions of higher education in Rhode Island. He taught in East Providence for six years and served as a Peace Corps director in Belize before returning to RIC to begin a 14-year career - first as an assistant professor, then assistant dean of the School of Education. He started RIC's continuing education program in 1978 and served as dean until he began working at URI in 1984. His many accomplishments, and his own reflections on them in his modest and unassuming way, can be found in an interview with Walter upon his retirement as Dean of the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education (CCE) at URI: http://advance.uri.edu/pacer/march2001/story5.htm. But true to his form, Walter didn't stop after his retirement. He soon began working at the Community College of Rhode Island's Liston Campus in Providence. Until his death, he provided overall administrative leadership and direction for this campus and constantly promoted the opportunities available there.
Walter worked tirelessly to bring about change for the better and to help students of all ages and walks of life to achieve their fullest potential. Many will remember the welcoming environment he created for all students, personally greeting them at the door every semester, and hanging a "You're Home" banner over the entrance to URI's CCE and at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). Celebrating the cultural diversity of CCRI students through the Cultural Awareness Day that he created and presided over each spring was a particular point of pride for Walter. He was much respected, admired and loved, and his legacy will live on in the many lives he has touched over the years.
A Johnston, R.I., resident, Walter was a 1959 graduate of Rhode Island College, where he was a four-year starter in men's soccer and president of Kappa Delta Phi fraternity in his junior and senior years. He was inducted into RIC's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. He earned his master's degree from the University of Rhode Island and his doctorate from Wayne State University.
Walter took great pride in his children Jeffrey (Madeline) and Michael Esq. (fiancée Laurie) Crocker, Patricia (Bill) Gallagher, and Jennifer (Bill) Lozeau; step-children Edward (Ellie) Clemence and Lisa (Eric) Benson. One of his favorite roles was that of Poppop to his eleven grandchildren: Emily (Will) Martin, Makayla Gallagher, Kurt Rethorn, Travis Crocker, Corey (Michelle) Benson, Moira Crocker, Erika Rethorn, Hannah Crocker, Matthew Gallagher, Ethan Crocker, and Will Lozeau; and two great-granddaughters, Lucy and Amelia Martin. He also leaves his dear niece Barbara (John) Fetta-Moniz, and several other nieces and nephews.
Walter's grandchildren and their friends fondly remember Poppop as a warm, energetic and fun-loving playmate and chief mischief-maker. Being "in the garden communing with nature" (his words) and spending time with his wife and family were his favorite things to do. He also enjoyed reading a good mystery or sea-going tale, and was an avid New England Patriots fan.
Visitation will be from 2:00 to 4:30 on Sunday, November 6, at the Elliott M. Robbins Funeral Home, 2251 Mineral Spring Ave., North Providence, RI 02911. A memorial service will take place on Monday, November 7, at 1:00 at the Mausoleum Chapel at Highland Memorial Park Cemetery, 1 Rhode Island Ave., Johnston, RI 02919. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dean Walter A. Crocker Scholarship Fund by visiting urifoundation.org

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