Robert F. 'Hop' Crooks, programmer

Robert Crooks

Robert F. "Hop" Crooks, a retired Social Security Administration computer programmer, died Monday of complications from a massive epileptic seizure at Marshall Medical Center in Placerville, Calif.

The longtime Oella and Catonsville resident was 65.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Arbutus, Mr. Crooks was a 1964 graduate of Catonsville High School, where he had been an indoor and outdoor track star.

After graduating from high school, he attended what as then Catonsville Community College.

Mr. Crooks was drafted into the Army in 1966 and became a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. He served a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam before being discharged in 1968.

For more than 30 years until retiring in 2006, Mr. Crooks worked as a computer programmer at the SSA's headquarters in Woodlawn.

After his retirement, he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he and his wife of 37 years, the former Margaret Fridinger, moved to a cottage at Grizzly Flats in Northern California.

He and his wife were avid Bruce Springsteen fans and once traveled to the Netherlands for a concert. He enjoyed jogging and caring for his four cats.

Mr. Crooks left his body to University of California-Davis Medical Center because of its continuing research into epilepsy and the effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant used extensively during the Vietnam War.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Crooks is survived by his twin brother, John Crooks of Ellicott City; three nieces; and a nephew.