Lee – Searle Vernon Crocker was born on February 2, 1936 in Lincoln, Maine, and grew up on his father’s (Vernon) farm in Lee, along with his mother, Lillian (Tait) Crocker and his seven brothers and sisters – Dale, Verdell, Hersey, Permelia, Brenda, Mildred, and Rodney. He graduated from Lee Academy in 1954, where he was a multi-sport athlete, especially excelling at baseball and basketball.
As a farm boy, he learned about hard work as a child, and thus worked hard for his entire life. After high school he worked for a short time on the railroad in Millinocket and drove a delivery truck for a local bakery, and in 1960 began working in the pulp room at Great Northern Paper Company in East Millinocket. In 1970, he was accepted into an apprenticeship program and found his true calling as a machinist. Long after his retirement from his mill, he spent the majority of his time in his basement machine shop where he did high quality work for customers well into his eighties.
While he learned many skills in his life, at heart he was born a farmer and you can never really take a boy off the farm. He married in 1954 and, while he, his young wife and newborn daughter Debbie moved from Millinocket to Enfield to Sebois, he eventually built a house on the foundation of the old Crocker farmhouse in Lee in 1958. Along with Debbie, daughter Rachel and son Dan they spent the early years of their lives on the old farm and Searle did his best to engrain a love of woods and animals and farming to each of them and they, and his other loved ones, were by his side on the farm when he passed on October 25, 2020. He often said that Lee, and especially Crockertown, was where his heart belonged, and on the rare occasions when he travelled he would always remark that when he got to the Argyle bog on I-95 he’d have to fight the urge to turn around because he was getting homesick.
Searle lived a long and full life. He was known for his humor and wit, his willingness to help others, for his faith and booming singing voice at church, and his love of all New England sports teams (Go Sox!). He enjoyed hunting and fishing, camping, and especially long snowmobile and wheeler rides with his friends and family. He loved his family and all his children, step children, and grandchildren. He was very proud of all their accomplishments and his machine shop was literally papered with 50 years of newspaper clippings of athletic achievements and photos celebrating graduations, marriages, and births of those who meant so much to him. He was especially proud of mentoring the next generation of machinists and nurtured the craft in his beloved stepson Earl and grandson Eric. The trade he loved so much lives on in their hands. He will be sorely missed by his best friend Lewis Day and the rest of Raymond’s Counter Intelligence Crew.
He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Beverly (Malone) Crocker; his sister, Brenda Lewis of Orono, and his brother Rodney Crocker of Greely, Colorado; children Debbie and Richard Benton, Rachel and Bobby Arnold, and Dan and Chris Crocker; and stepchildren Brenda and Garnet Raymond, Cindy and Kent Oliver and Wanda White.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Community Health and Counseling Services for the dedication and compassion of your workers in Hospice Care – Nancy, Stacey, Jill, Debbie, Angel, and Steve.
Though the “Mayor of Crockertown” is gone, rejoice, for he is reunited with his family and their heavenly father where pain and suffering are no more, the sky is blue, and the crops are always bountiful.
Graveside services will be held 11 AM Wednesday, October 28 at Potter Brook Cemetery in Winn. A procession to the cemetery will meet at Raymond’s Country Store in Lee, and depart to the cemetery at 10:30 AM. Arrangements are by Lamson Funeral Home, Clay Chapel, Lincoln.