Rayford Isaac Crocker, 91, of NilesPublished 9:23am Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Rayford Isaac Crocker died at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2013. Mr. Crocker was born on Oct. 6, 1922, in Cannon County, Tenn., to John Thomas and Sarah Madge (Haley) Crocker. He moved with his family from Tennessee to Michigan at the age of five years.
After graduating from Niles Central High School he married Margue¬rite Gay Bliss of Buchanan, Mich. on Aug. 29, 1942. She preceded him in death on March 18, 1988.
He served as a Sergeant during World War II in the Army Air Corps between 1942 and 1946. Mr. Crocker was a career law enforce¬ment office for 26 years with the Niles Police Depart¬ment. He joined the force as a parking meter patrol¬man and advanced through the ranks to become the Chief of Police. Upon retirement from law enforcement he became a partner in a real estate firm in Niles and worked as a broker. He was a well-known sports figure in southwestern Michigan and northern Indiana and an avid life-long golfer.
Mr. Crocker was a member of the American Legion, Fraternal Order of Police, Benevolent Order of Elks and the Pinecrest Golf Course. He was a member of the First United Method¬ist Church of Niles until he and his wife moved to Florida. He has been a member of the First United Methodist Church of Avon Park for several years. On June 30, 1989, Mr. Crocker married Jo V. Smith of Wauchula, Fla.
Mr. Crocker was prede¬ceased by his parents, his wife, Marguerite Gay (Bliss) Crocker and his brother, John Crocker. He is survived by his wife, Jo Crocker, his daughter, Connie Crocker of Melbourne, Fka,; his three sons Bob (Jann) Crocker of Niles; Dick (Carol) Crocker of Bellevue, Wash.; Terry (Pam) Crocker of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; his two brothers Dillard Crocker and Clifford Crocker, and his seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers Mr. Crocker’s wishes are that a gift in his memory be used as a living memorial by the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 95 in Niles, Mich.
Arrange¬ments by Fountain Funeral Home of Avon Park. Services and burial in Niles, Mich. are to be arranged by Halbritter Funeral Home at a later date.