Gary Crooker passed away in the ICU of St Charles Hospital in Bend, Oregon, on April 1, 2016. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Dianne (Jager) Crooker; two of her sisters, Joanne (Jager) Scott and Carol (Jager) Swank both of Albany, Oregon; and his pastor, Mike Yunker, from Real Life Christian Church in Bend, Oregon. Gary succumbed to his fight with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia), a result of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Gary was born in Portland, Oregon (an area formerly known as Bonny Slope) to Alene & Martin Crooker. Gary joined into the family with his older siblings, step-brother, Dennis, and his sister, Lynnda. Gary attended grade and middle school in Bonny Slope before the family moved to California where Gary attended James Lick High School in San Jose, California. Gary received an A.S. degree from Chemeketa Community College in Criminal Law. One teacher mentioned in Gary's grade school report card that Gary would learn a lot more if he would stay seated instead of wandering around visiting.

In the final months of Gary's senior year of high school, Gary visited the military recruiter's office in an effort to serve his country. Gary wanted to go into the Army upon graduation. Unfortunately, the Army could not meet his time line so Gary joined the Marines as he could enlist upon graduation in 1967.

Gary attended basic training in San Diego, California & then onto Pendleton, California to attend Motor Transport School. After this schooling, Gary was given orders to Vietnam. In May of 1968, Gary was wounded in a land mine explosion while driving supplies to troops. From June 1968-March 1969, Gary convalesced at Oakland Naval Hospital and then onto Treasure Island. Upon return to duty, Gary was a driver, dispatcher, and a motor transport cost accountant until honorably discharged in July 1971.

Gary enlisted in the Oregon Air National Guard in September 1977 serving as a Military Police Officer. He was honorably discharged in March 1979. Gary then enlisted in the Oregon Army National Guard in March 1979. Gary served in the Albany and Dallas, Oregon units until his transfer to the Troop Command Brigade in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Gary held positions from squad leader to Command Sergeant Major with the 1249th Engineer Battalion. Gary retired from the Oregon Army National Guard in April 1996. Among Gary's numerous military awards and citations is the Purple Heart.

Gary was also involved in a civilian career during his military service. He joined the San Diego, California Police Department in October 1971 and served until August 1973. After his resignation from San Diego, Gary took up employment with the Police Department in Salem, Oregon. Gary was a police officer for the City of Salem from September 1973 through May 1999.

During Gary's career with the Salem Police Department, he was not only a patrolman, TAC officer (motorcycle) & a detective but also served on the Hazardous Devices Squad (Bomb Team), the SWAT Team, and a instructor for Police Motorcycle Operations. Gary instructed two motorcycle classes, beginners & advanced, for the Board on Police Standards & Training at Western Oregon State College. Gary served many years as the Salem schools as a Liaison Officer. Gary also provided training for beginning officers at the department and had many citizens ride along to observe police operations.

From November 2000 through November 2001, Gary served on a peace keeping mission in Kosovo for the United Nations. He worked as a Border Office and Team Leader at a border check station between Macedonia and Kosovo plus helped train their police officers. Gary worked with a team of police officers from several different countries. He had an enjoyable and dangerous adventure.

Gary married Dianne (Jager) Crooker in September 1982. For 33 years, they had many wonderful and a few not so wonderful years together. Gary enjoyed camping, motorcycles & quads, family outings and taking walks to enjoy the outdoors. Gary was an active member of Real Life Christian Church in Bend, Oregon. He was preceded in death by his mother, Alene; his father, Martin; his step-mother, Ruth; and his step-brother, Dennis Buchanan.

Gary is survived by his wonderful wife, care giver and partner, Dianne (Jager) Crooker; his sister, Lynnda (Crooker) Null & her husband, Paul, their children, Kori and Jeff. He is also survived by Dianne's 3 brothers, Art, Jim, Norm & their families; and her 4 sisters, Joanne, Kathy, Carol, Judy and their families.
SDPD 10/29/1971 - 08/13/1973
05/11/1949 - 04/01/2016
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