William C Crooms

December 7, 1933February 10, 2018
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William "Billy" Clark Crooms, 84, died on February 10, 2018 in East Stroudsburg, PA. He was the husband of Elba N. Gonzalez-Crooms. They shared 37 years of marriage together. Born in Newark, NJ on December 7, 1933, Billy was the fourth of Dorothy and Gabriel Crooms' 13 children. A product of the Newark Public School System, Billy graduated from Newark Arts High School in 1951.

Billy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1953, completing his basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. He served in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps as a legal clerk. He was the stenographer for courts-martial including the infamous Ribbon Creek incident during which a junior drill instructor marched his assigned platoon into Ribbon Creek and six Marine Corps recruits died. Billy also competed for the Marine Corps in football and basketball, as well as track and field. He received both a Medal of Honor and a Good Conduct Medal. When he was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1957, he had attained the rank of Sergeant.

Billy was gregarious and known for his smile, upbeat attitude, and hard work. After leaving the Marine Corps, Billy became a brick mason and started his own construction company. He worked on many projects in New Jersey and New York, including Amiri Baraka's Kawaida Towers slated to be built in Newark's North Ward. The project was opposed by the whites who lived in the North Ward, many of whom picketed the construction site. The project was eventually abandoned, but the spirit of community uplift and progress that marked Kawaida Towers and the Black Arts Movement was something Billy embraced throughout his life. He loved Newark and did what he could to improve conditions in his hometown. In addition to the public projects with which Billy was associated, he worked on projects for family and friends including his first house on Myrtle Avenue in Metuchen, New Jersey. A union man, he worked in the building trades for more than 40 years. He also pursued other entrepreneurial endeavors including owning and operating a bar with his brother John.

In 1981, Billy married Elba. During their life together, they traveled in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. If Billy was the builder, then Elba was the decorator. They were avid gardeners and created a beautifully landscaped home in East Stroudsburg. They loved to spend time with each other and family.

You cannot talk about Billy without talking about his siblings. He loved them and spent countless hours talking, hanging out, and enjoying their company. Until he moved to East Stroudsburg, Billy saw at least one of his siblings every day. The Crooms siblings never stood on formality. Stopping by to visit required neither an invitation nor an advanced phone call. From business to leisure, Billy also enjoyed spending time with his neices, nephews, and cousins. Many learned invaluable skills from him as he helped to prepare them to make their way in the world and to do for themselves.

During Billy's life, he was loved by many. He is survived by his wife Elba, his daughter Lisa A. Crooms-Robinson, his son-in-law Timothy C. Robinson, and his grandson Joel Crooms-Porter, as well as his brothers Hassan (Elliot), Joel Michael, and John. He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Allen, Betty, David, James, Janice, Joan, Louis, Paul, and Richard.


  • Prayer Service Thursday, February 15, 2018
  • Viewing Thursday, February 15, 2018

William C Crooms

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ernestine Dickason

February 17, 2018

Sending heartfelt sympathy to Crooms family. May God bless you all

Imara Crooms

February 15, 2018

I love you and I will miss you my friend. It hurts to know that I'll never hear you laugh again.

Denise Dunovant

February 12, 2018