Graphic: back to Crook IndexCal Crook

5 Crook boys, sons of Newton & Maud Burlingame Crook Carroll Calvin Crook, early 1900s

My father, Cal Crook, was born December 25, 1904, in Zillah, Washington. He died October 15, 2000, in Hood River, Oregon. His parents, Newton and Maude Burlingame Crook, produced five sons during their turbulent marriage. The photo at the left shows the five Crook Boys about 1913. Back row: Paul, Cal, Clifton, James Douglas. Front: George.

Early on, Dad learned to be self-reliant, and two driving forces in his life were to get all the schooling possible and to learn all he could about the outdoors and nature. He didn't change in that respect. He always loved to learn, and loved God's creations. For many years he lived in the Columbia River Gorge area, and spent more hours than we'll ever know driving to areas where he can photograph the scenery. He's hiked into very obscure areas many times to get just the right lighting at the proper time of day.

Photo of Mt Shuksan, near Mt Baker, Washington about 1950Where would I be without Dad's wonderful ability to teach the many aspects of photography and the beauty and mystery of nature? In my early years, he often pushed me beyond what I thought I could handle: standing motionless in cold, damp weather waiting for wild animals to appear; standing in freezing creeks and rivers waiting for fish to grab the bait; hiking on glaciers; trying to get warm in damp, chilly sleeping bags; standing at the top of steep, rugged, sheer cliffs. And much more.

It was important to please Dad, and I learned early on that whining never worked. Not that I didn't try.

photo of Cal Crook getting his trailer ready for a tripDad's favorite, and most popular work of photography, was that of Celilo Falls. I was with him when he took that distinctive photo, and when he took many others. What a teacher.

He loved to teach, even when he was in a care center: to talk about the world, weather, science, ideas, gardening, nutrition, and of course, photography. Because he was hampered by Congestive Heart Failure, he couldn't move around as freely as he once could, but his mind stayed very alert.

The other three Crook kids deeply appreciate the time and unselfish effort our sister, Jan Pierson, took in behalf of Dad. She's the primary spark that kept him going until his death on October 15, 2000.

Perhaps, in one way, the best part of Dad's life was the time he spent at Hood River Care Center. We became good friends with a number of staff members, and saw how happy he was to be part of that family. They loved, respected, and nurtured our father. They treated him as if he were the only important person on earth ... and they do the same for every person under their care. How can mere words express our thanks?

Photo of rose grown by Carolyn Crook Downing, photographed by Judy Crook Vorfeld

Copyright Judy Vorfeld.
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