Henry A. Crooks Jr., 58, vital to Boston `Big Dig'

January 26, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Henry Arthur Crooks Jr., a manager for Honeywell Technology Solutions Corp. whose projects included traffic control on Boston's "Big Dig," died Tuesday of cancer at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster. He was 58 and lived in Reisterstown.

For 30 years, Mr. Crooks worked for Honeywell, managing projects as director of its Intelligent Transportation Systems. One of his biggest undertakings was the Big Dig, a 14-year, $14.6 billion project to put Boston's downtown freeways underground.

"It was a very complicated thing, coordinating traffic signals and reporting lane closures and getting the ambulances through," said a son, Richard Henry Crooks of Reisterstown.

Mr. Crooks also was project manager for many years until 1996 for the Goddard Space Flight Center's satellite laser ranging program, which tracks satellites.

"His contributions to the success of our division were endless," said Larie Taylor, a program manager in administration at Honeywell, who had known Mr. Crooks for about 25 years.

At a company awards dinner Friday night, she said, a new Henry Crooks Character Award was announced. It will be awarded annually to an employee who exemplifies his traits.

"A good word used in the eulogy was his ambience," she said. "When he walked into a room, he just had that kind of effect on people. He made them confident. He was highly respected and, more importantly, he respected everyone else. He was never negative, always positive about the outcome of things, and his perseverance toward solving problems - I've never seen anything like that."

Mr. Crooks was a Reisterstown native and a 1963 graduate of Franklin Senior High School. He attended the University of Oklahoma before enlisting in the Navy in 1967. He served for six years, attaining the rank of fire control technician first class, with much of his service aboard the U.S.S. Boston during the Vietnam War.

In 1993, Mr. Crooks earned a degree in business from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He coached basketball for the Reisterstown Recreation Council and was a scoutmaster for Reisterstown Boy Scout Troop 976 and a member of Kiwanis Club. He enjoyed playing folk and country songs on the guitar, playing golf and bridge, bird-watching and fishing.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Friday at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Glyndon.

He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Audrey Marie Getsy; a daughter, Elizabeth Merritt Rau of Philadelphia; two other sons, Thomas Jonathan Crooks of Reisterstown and Gregory Arthur Crooks of Rockville; two brothers, Geoffrey Benning Crooks of Houston and Jonathan Benning Crooks of Baltimore; and a sister, Alice Lenore MacArthur of Washington.

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