Kasson E. Crooker, of Interlaken, New York, passed away in the early morning hours of Thursday, February 7, 2013. Born June 3, 1943 in Erie, Pennsylvania, Kasson was the son of Kasson W. and Mary K. Crooker.
He lived in Waterford, Pennsylvania, where he attended elementary school and high school, graduating from Fort LeBoeuf High School in 1961. He received his B.A. in Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1965. He married Marilyn E. Young on August 28, 1965, and they settled in Livingston, New Jersey.
In 1966, Kass received a fellowship grant to study orchestra management and was placed with the Phoenix Symphony, where he spent a year as management apprentice. He continued with the Phoenix Symphony for 10 years as their orchestra manager. His son, Kasson D. and daughter, Heidi E. were born in Phoenix in 1972 and 1974 respectively. The family moved to Columbus in 1976, where Kass became the manager of the Columbus Symphony.
In 1979, Kass was hired to direct a new performing arts center at Lorain County Community College in Elyria. From it’s inception, Kass developed and oversaw multiple performing arts series at the Stocker Arts Center ranging from national touring shows, dance, music, local arts performances, and a stellar children’s series, bringing outstanding arts programming to Lorain County. Over the course of his 26 year career, he brought his love of the arts to thousands of audience members. He always believed that he was in the “magic business.”
Beyond his career, Kass was devoted to his family and was the central member of a large extended family in and around the Finger Lakes. He kept everyone informed of family events and strengthened everyone’s bonds with Cayuga Lake and the generations who came before and will come after. He loved living by the lake in the summer at his cottage and hosting friends and family, driving his boat, sailing, camp fires on the beach, and his projects that kept him rooted to the land and his heritage. He loved New York State history, especially the Erie Canal; he was an active member in the Canal Society of New York State and several local historical societies. Over the course of his life, he attended thousands of concerts, plays, and dance performances wherever he traveled and lived. He loved to seek out new adventures in his life, always taking the back roads, the out-of-the-way route, and the longest way home. His hugs, his laugh, his spirit and optimism touched so many lives.
Kass is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 48 years, Marilyn (nee Young) of Interlaken, New York; sister, Johanna Lyman of Concord, Ohio; brother-in-law, Robert Young of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania; son, Kasson Duncan (Sonja Crooker) of Arlington, Massachusetts; daughter, Heidi Crooker Nathanielsz (David W. Nathanielsz) of Delmar; grandchildren, Oliver and Graham Nathanielsz; nieces, nephews, cousins, as well as hundreds of friends from all over the United States.
Kass was preceded in death by his father, Kasson W. in 1954 and mother, Mary King Crooker in 1991.
Calling hours will be Sunday, February 10, 2013 from 2 to 5 P.M. at Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg, New York. A funeral service will be Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1 P.M. at First Presbyterian Church of Ulysses, 69 E. Main St., Trumansburg, New York. A short reception will follow the service at the church. Burial will be private.
Donations can be made to the Cancer Resource Center in Ithaca, New York, the Canal Society of New York State, or a charity of your choice.