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January 9, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. John “Jack” R. Crocker, SJ, who died on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.
Jack was born on April 3, 1930, in Chicago, Illinois. He entered the Society of Jesus on July 24, 1948, at Milford Novitiate in Milford, Ohio. He was ordained on June 11, 1961, at West Baden College in West Baden Springs, Indiana. He took final vows on August 15, 1965, at Colombiere College in Clarkston, Michigan.
Jack graduated from Loyola Academy before he entered the Society. While in the Society, he earned a bachelor's degree in Latin (1953) and a master's degree in philosophy (1959) from Loyola University Chicago. He earned licentiates in philosophy (1955) and theology (1962) from West Baden College. In 1967, Jack earned a doctorate in speech pathology from Case Western Reserve.
During regency, Jack taught history and speech at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. After earning his doctorate, he taught in the Department of Clinical Psychology at the Child Guidance Center in Hines VA Hospital (1967-1969). He then spent eight years at Loyola University Chicago where he was the director of the Speech Pathology Center at the Medical Center and was an assistant professor of physical medicine, associate professor of psychology. While he was at Loyola University, he spent a year at the Rome Center (1973-1974).
Jack spent three years (1977-1980) as dean of Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, before becoming the consultant for international education at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) while living at Leonard Neale House in Washington, D.C. From 1982-1991, Jack was the secretary general for the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Gregorian Institute. After spending 2 years in Chicago as the provincial assistant for planning and higher education (1992-1994), he returned to Rome and was the socius to the Delegate for International Houses for one year before becoming the superior and director of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem (1995-1998).
After two years in Chicago, Jack returned to Italy where he was the assistant to the rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (2000-2001) and the minister of the Anthony Baldinucci Community in Florence, Italy. In 2004, Jack returned to the USA for the last time and focused on spiritual and pastoral ministries: Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, Wernersville (2004-2006); Jesuit Retreat Center at Milford (2006-2008); Chicago-land area (2008-2012); and at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House (2012-2013). Jack moved to Colombiere Center in 2013, missioned to pray for the Church and the Society.
Though his doctorate from Case Western Reserve was in speech pathology, Jack spent most of his ministry in higher education as an administrator at Loyola University, Franklin College Switzerland, the Biblicum (in Rome and Jerusalem), the Gregorian, and at the AJCU. Jack's gracious way of engaging people allowed him to reconcile differences and develop a working solution to most problems with a school or department in a most skillful manner and even in a foreign language. Using sabbatical time along the way, he also began working with the Spiritual Exercises and became an effective spiritual director; Jack was a very good listener. He really enjoyed living in Switzerland and Italy and had a lively capacity for engaging different cultures. Throughout his life, Jack enjoyed living with his brother Jesuits, maintaining good friendships around the globe. This gift became less evident in his later years as his Parkinson's disease isolated him more and more; still, he was gracious in his quiet ways, enjoying music, a good conversation, the New York Times, and a glass of wine.
Friday, January 11, 2019
4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Wake Service 7:00 p.m.
9075 Big Lake Road
Clarkston, MI 48346
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Immediately following the funeral