It is with great sadness that his family announces that Ronald Douglas Crook, born April 20, 1946, passed away October 7, 2020 at the age of 74 after battling ill health.
Named after Ronald Reagan (he and all his siblings were all named after prominent actors of the day) he was known to his friends and family as Butch. Born in Madison, GA, Butch moved to the East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta, where he attended Murphy High School, and proved to be a poplar student. At Murphy, Butch was voted “most Friendly” by his classmates, an accolade that he lived up to all his life.
Gifted and athletic, Butch graduated in the 90th percentile of his class, and played football, basketball and baseball as a student. Baseball became his primary passion and he earned a scholarship to Georgia Tech as a southpaw pitcher with a 100mph arm. While at Tech, he earned a record for fewest hits allowed in a season and was selected as Second Team All-American.
Butch left Tech early to pursue a career in professional baseball. He was picked by the Houston Astros in the second round of the draft in 1966. He also played in the minor leagues, pitching for the Durham Bulls and the Asheville Tourists, for whom he threw a no-hitter in 1969.
After retiring from pro baseball due to injury in the late 1960’s, Butch followed his father’s footsteps into the construction industry. Butch was a passionate builder and craftsman, who made building homes an art form. Butch, his father and his brother left a legacy of beautiful homes all over Madison, Snellville and Tybee Island. His pride and passion for building showed true as Butch continued building until the last weeks of his life.
In 1989 Butch married the love of his life, Rebecca Hammond Vickery, known to all as Becky and to Butch as Bee. For the next 31 years they enjoyed an idyllic, happy life and love. Bee was Butch’s best friend and closest companion. They enjoyed camping, spending time with their grandchildren and simply enjoying each other’s company.
Throughout his life, Butch was passionate about baseball. He coached and frequently reminisced about his playing days. He was a history buff who had served his country as an Army Reservist. He remained that “most friendly” individual, known for being the first at a social gathering and the last to leave, so that he could help out and simply enjoy the time he got to spend talking with friends, old and new.
Butch Crook is survived by Rebecca “Becky” Hammond Vickery; sons, Joshua and Jacob Crook; daughters, Laurie Vickery and Julie Camp, grandkids; Zoe and Silas Crook, Lily and Katie Benesh, Will Faircloth and Cohen Camp; and sisters, Vivien Brackett, Jean Brogdon and Avis Mallanik. He is preceded in death by his mother, Retha Anderson Crook, father, Grover Henry Crook and brother, Weldon R. Crook.
True to his lifelong instincts, Butch “Pop” Crook wished that in lieu of flowers, all of his family, blood and beyond, should show acts of kindness to one another.
A gathering will be planned for the spring.