OBITUARY

Rev. H. Ray Croker

April 19, 1931January 18, 2021
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Ray Croker, age 89, of Chilliwack, BC passed into the presence of His Lord on Monday, January 18, 2021.

He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Ann Croker; daughter Diane (Garry) Gillis; son Ray (Dawn) Croker; daughter Charlene Freeson; son Barry (Shelly) Croker; daughter Karen (Tim) Rowan; daughter Ruth (Gerry) Denboer; son Vince (Bonnie) Croker; son Bob (Kim) Croker; son Tim (Darlene) Croker; and son Chuck (Wendy) Croker; 23 grandchildren and spouses; and many great grandchildren; brother Gary (Cathy); sisters Iris, Joyce and Gail; brother-in-law John (Elsie) and many extended family.

Dad enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1950 (2PPCLI), was deployed to Korea (Kapyong Battle) and a peace keeping mission in Cypress before retiring from military life in 1975. He was awarded 13 military medals and decorations as well as 2 Canadian Legion awards. Dad is a true war hero and definitely our hero!

Then as an ordained minister, Dad began his "second career" pastoring churches in Manitoba and Ontario before retiring again in 1996 to Stoney Plain, Alberta. He was a firm believer in living one's life so others could see Jesus in you. His advice to pass down to future generations was "Put your trust in Jesus...that's the most important thing you will do in your life. Next, get involved in the Word (scriptures); study it, memorize it. Third, Jesus is everything. And lastly, stay involved with the family."

In 2003, Dad and Mom decided to move to Chilliwack, BC for milder winters. Visits from kids and grandkids were eagerly looked forward to. Over the years we were able to have a number of family reunions which Dad loved every minute of - precious memories we all treasure.

As Dad's health deteriorated, a move was necessary to an assisted living facility, followed shortly after by Dad needing another move over to long term care. This was a difficult transition being the first time in 65+ years mom and dad were in separate living facilities. God was good, Dad and Mom were able to stay in the same building with side by side residential and assisted living, allowing Mom to visit Dad several times a day. Then Covid arrived. The last year of Dad's life was spent with only a few visits from family due to the health restrictions. Mom was so faithful and would try to see him often, even if only through a window. If Dad noticed her, he would always try to go to her. Even in dementia, he always knew the love of his life.

We are forever grateful for the wonderful staff at the Waverly who loved and hugged Dad for us and became his "family" when we could not be there. You are truly hero's in our eyes.

We know that Dad clung to the promise Jesus gave that He would never leave us or forsake us and on Monday afternoon at 3:37 pm, God called Dad and he entered his eternal rest. We have a blessed hope, we will see each other again. "Until then, our hearts will go on singing, until then with joy we'll carry on, until that day, our eyes behold that city, until the day God calls us home."

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.woodlawn-mtcheam.ca for the Croker family.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Rev. H. Ray Croker

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Diane Gillis

February 24, 2021

Special memories of my dad…
• Singing a duet with him in my early teens, the hymn, “Precious Memories.”
• Our time together at the military HQ in Vancouver (we both worked there), and witnessing the esteem his colleagues had for him.
• As my pastor when I was in my late teens and his encouragement to me in my own ministry involvements. I can still see him praying, walking back and forth across the front of that church. He also did the custodial duties (toilets included), mowed the lawns and preached two services on Sunday. He was an incredible servant of God, faithful and humble, and unlike any other pastor I have ever known.
• When I was married—as my father, walk me down the aisle, and as the minister, perform the ceremony.
• That hug at the Winnipeg airport so many years ago (after a visit to him and mom in southern Manitoba, before Garry and I lived there ).
• Him kneeling in front of each of his children in turn, at the end of one Family Reunion in Alberta, and praying most powerfully for us and our families.
• In both of our “senior years”–living in the same city, even the same neighborhood for a while, after most all my adult life living a considerable distance away. And the visits, outings and picnics the past eight years.
• Seeing his health challenges progress, and telling me, “It’s hard getting old,” but not complaining.
• Singing old hymns with him and mom when he was in Residential Care (accompanied by my guitar or banjo).
• Witnessing his spirit come alive when we prayed, even on days dementia was severely impairing his cognitive thought or communication.
Dad, I am so thankful for you, for your love and legacy of faith in Jesus.
Love you forever!
Diane (Croker) Gillis

Charlene Freeson

February 23, 2021

Dad lived by the principle that as long as God has you here on earth there are things to do. I can only imagine how difficult it was for him the last few years when he was unable to do anything by himself. Even during this time, he never complained but instead encouraged those around him as best he could. The staff that cared for Dad (and so well, I might add) many times expressed their love and appreciation for him. His light shone for Jesus right to the end.

I’m very thankful to God for allowing me to be Dad’s daughter. I always felt loved and special. I’m also thankful that Dad loved and respected Mom; I never heard him say a cross or disrespectful thing to her. Again, he led by example, and expected us to do the same.

I think what’s nearest and dearest to me about Dad is his love for Jesus. I have such sweet memories of him singing – especially the old hymns and choruses; of him praying at the altar, both before, but especially after church, often pacing as he prayed; and talking about various scriptures. Dad lived for Jesus, every day; it wasn’t something he just talked about, he lived it. His faith never wavered; he taught us to trust God, even in the midst of storms. My whole life I’ve known Dad was excited to go to heaven, to worship Jesus right there face to face; and of course, to go planet hopping!

I miss you Dad! I hope I continue to learn from what you tried to teach me. I can only imagine the joy you have seeing Jesus face to face, and worshiping him. I hope you are getting a chance to check out the universe, and how wonderful to know that you’re reunited with those who were there waiting for you. And please give Drew a big hug from me.

Charlene Freeson

February 23, 2021

My Dad was a very special guy, so dearly loved and missed. I’d like to think he taught me much but in reality, I didn’t learn nearly enough. My Dad always had my upmost love and respect.

Dad was a selfless person, choosing early in life to give his life to Jesus and serve Him. Life wasn’t often easy, but Dad never complained, putting others before himself. I have many memories of him driving to pick people up for church, going to help anyone who might need help – and as he was a jack of all trades there wasn’t much he couldn’t or wouldn’t do, and pitching in where needed. He led by example, which meant we all learned to serve alongside him, including cleaning the church every Saturday.

“It’s good enough” was not in Dad’s vocabulary nor was “asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission.” Doing things right was important whether it took extra time, courage to stand up for what you believed in, or perhaps it didn’t seem like the easy way out. And the amazing thing is I don’t remember Dad complaining. He chose to be content and think positive.

Dad loved nature and often marvelled at the creativity of God. I loved going for drives with him and sharing the wonder of what we’d see. I also shared his interest in politics and governance, whether it was in the church, local government or around the world. And Dad loved people, and especially had a heart for those who struggled or needed help. He had a heart for missions and would have loved to have been a full time missionary, but sadly that never happened. However, as a family, with a house full to the brim with just us, we hosted missionaries as well as others needing a place to stay for a while. And God always provided and multiplied the food, so no one went away hungry.

DAVID BALL

February 4, 2021

When we first moved to Chilliwack a few years ago, we were comforted to see Ray and Ann faithfully in the house of the Lord Sunday after Sunday. Later, we occasionally had the privilege of sharing hymns and a word of scripture with residents in the Waverley. Ray and Ann were able to join in occasionally. Pastor Croker’s presence always brought a quiet amen to those gatherings. The steadfast faithfulness of Pastor Ray Croker over many years of service is an enduring, fruitful legacy to the whole family, and to many more of us. God bless Ann, and all of the family today.

Ruth & Gerry Denboer

February 4, 2021

I am honored to be a daughter of Rev H. Ray Croker. One of the many sweet memories I have is remembering dad introducing me many times in my childhood, and into my adult life, as his baby girl. I grew up knowing my dad loved me, my nine siblings, and my mom very much. I watched him sacrifice time and time again for our family without complaint. I could not have asked for a better example of what it looks like to love family. I also grew up knowing my dad loved God very much. I watched him sacrifice time and time again for his Heavenly Father without complaint. Again, I could not have asked for a better example of what it looks like to love God. This example was displayed as we watched him wholeheartedly serve God, serve his family, serve God’s family, the church, and serve his community. There was never a job below him. Everything I know about the greatness of a servant heart and loving people I learned from watching my dad. My dad never looked for the applause of those around him, rather he lovingly gave his heart to serve, knowing that his reward would come one day later.
Dad, we know, with absolute confidence, that you were welcomed into heaven with a great reward. We know that you heard the words, “well done, my good and faithful servant.” We are so honored to be the recipients of your great example and pray that with God’s help we can carry this same legacy to our children, Christin (Mark), Sacha (Matt) and our 5 beautiful grandchildren.
With eternally thankful hearts,
Gerry & Ruth

Vince Croker

February 2, 2021

Dad,
We can never replace the unconditional love you had for your family, it was truly amazing. You are deeply missed by Bonnie and I. I personally want to thank you for being the most loving father and mentor that any son could ever have.
You alway seemed to have answers for everything, even if it wasn't what I wanted to hear. Your honesty and compassion for your family was incredible. You never got upset, you just listened.
What an example....... father, husband and grandpa to your family, simply incredible.
You are my hero Dad, I'm truly the man I am today because of you. My work ethic to my relationship with the Lord, I thank you so much for being the example you were to me.
I will see you again, I know without a doubt .....just like the song says "when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be."
Love you Dad,
Vince&Bonnie

Karen Rowan

January 27, 2021

My Father (Grandpa and Great Grandpa) lived life so that his actions lined up with his words. He showed us how to live in faithfulness, compassion, humility, love and Christ-likeness. He lived a beautiful picture of the loving heart of God for all to see. He had a true shepherd's heart, loved people and demonstrated this by helping so many.
His life was not easy or without pain but he did not complain and would remind me at times to "choose joy". I am forever grateful for his guidance, wisdom and unconditional love.
Even in the last years as he experienced loss of home to long term care, companionship with Mom and dignity in care, he responded in kindness and without complaint. He was devoted to and loved our mother dearly, displayed in many ways throughout the years. This beautiful kind of love modeled to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren has helped to shape who we are.
Dad longed for his eternal home and we are so happy for him to be there, no longer in pain or suffering. He will be forever missed. Until we meet again, heaven has become a little more nearer and dearer to our hearts.

Murray Coughlan

January 26, 2021

We were saddened to learn today of the passing of Ray. Shortly after we started pastoring at Gospel Centre in Edmonton, Ray and Anne joined our church. Their enthusiasm and personal support were so appreciated. Ray was such an example of Christ-likeness and genuine humility. We were so sad the day that they announced that they were moving to Chilliwack.
Anne – please accept Pat’s and my condolences. You weren’t here for long in our church but you left a major impression. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Barb Mitchell

January 25, 2021

Pastor Croker and Family, fond memories at Manhatten Beach Camp. He was a kind man, with often an encouraging word.

My prayers for the family, we will be forever reunited again soon.

Barb Mitchell

Brenda Freeson

January 21, 2021

I enjoyed doing some handy work with grandpa from time to time. We worked well together.

I remember one time he asked me how I was doing and I said I am good. He asked me “ who told you you are good- no one is good except God” This is a memory I think of regularly. I am well, grandpa!

You are missed.

FROM THE FAMILY