Marjorie Crook, 77, gardener, church, community volunteer


Marjorie J. Crook, an avid gardener who was nominated to the Towson Gardens Hall of Fame in April, died Tuesday of cancer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where she had been a longtime volunteer. She was 77.

"She had the energy level of 20 people," said a son, Stuart T. Crook, of Phoenix. "She never stopped."

Mrs. Crook, who lived in Cockeysville for 40 years, was involved in several garden organizations, including the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, the Lutherville Garden Club, and the Maryland Home and Garden Show since 1957.

The Albany, N.Y., native, who came to Maryland to attend Hood College in Frederick in 1937, also was chairwoman for five years of the annual spring Towson Gardens Days, sponsored by the Towson Development Corp.

As a member of the Garden Days committee, Mrs. Crook helped promote a contest this year to select a Towson flower. Although her favorite, the daffodil, was not picked, she was not disappointed that the azalea was chosen.

"I think that it is a very nice plant," Mrs. Crook said in an April article in The Sun. "I hope people plant a profusion of them."

Fellow committee member Avery Harden, a county landscape architect, said: "She loved gardening. That was her passion. And she encouraged other people to be gardeners."

Mrs. Crook turned her 1-acre property in Cockeysville into a proliferation of trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and flowers. "I can't remember her not working in a garden," her son said. "She had 500 varieties of plants."

Before marrying Edward H. Crook in 1945, the former Marjorie Jean Duckworth was a buyer at Hoschild Kohn department store in Baltimore in the early 1940s after graduating from Hood with a home economics degree.

The Crooks enjoyed bird-watching and turned their yard into a sanctuary for birds and butterflies, their son said. Mr. Crook died in 1988.

Until three years ago, Mrs. Crook mowed her own grass, her son said.

Mrs. Crook also taught second grade at St. Paul's School in Brooklandville in the early 1950s and adult education classes in gourmet cooking in the 1960s.

"Then she was mostly too busy with committees," her son said with a laugh. "The family had to get her an answering machine so we could talk to her."

A master flower show judge, Mrs. Crook also arranged flowers for the waiting rooms at GBMC and served on the hospital's executive board of volunteers. She was an active member for 25 years and past deacon of Towson Presbyterian Church, where she was involved in beautification projects in the church courtyard and gardens.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Towson Presbyterian, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave.

She also is survived by two other sons, Edward D. Crook of Timonium and Christopher D. Crook of Pasadena; and two granddaughters.

Pub Date: 12/29/96

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