TASH Board Member Ralph Edwards provides the following thoughts on the life and memory of Allen C. Crocker.
On October 23, 2011, Allen Carrol Crocker was called home. All of us, family, friends and colleagues, will celebrate his life and legacy with one of our many “Crocker stories”. Some will concentrate on his pioneering research, mentoring and paradigm shifting advocacy in pediatrics and developmental disabilities; his groundbreaking work on the conceptualization of Happiness and a possible association with Down Syndrome; and his contribution to public policy, medical education and the mentoring of pediatricians and other clinicians regarding human exceptionality.
Others will note his dedication and interest in individuals and families. Throughout his medical career, Allen directly supported families in having a positive perspective and hopefulness regarding the family’s future and that of their child with disability. In modeling behavior and the education of pediatricians through eight text books and numerous lectures, he reformed their attitude, approach, and expectations of individuals with disability.
Dr. Crocker’s impact was widely felt. He edited, HIV Infection and Developmental Disabilities: A Resource for Service Providers, contributed chapters to numerous books on developmental disabilities, particularly Down Syndrome, and was an inspiration and one of the architects of the National Down Syndrome Congress. He was a friend of TASH in many ways. As part of the original “people of color” quartet of Wanda Blanchet, Barbara Ransom, and Ralph Edwards, Allen spoke at conferences, conducted an innovative, instructive multi-year disability awareness survey of national organizations of color, and was a motivating spirit to TASH to develop its organizational cultural competency and support for people of color in “developing a voice”. His contribution to People of Color with Significant Disabilities and Their Families: Prevalence, Challenges, and Success provided the blueprint for TASH’s National Agenda regarding diversity and cultural competency.
Dr. Crocker has come home, to rest in our hearts and our memories. As a TASH member stated, “We should all hope to be a tenth as productive as he and leave the world around us a little better because of our work and goodness.”
A Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress video from their 2010 conference, “Thank You Dr. Crocker”, can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OougiDvdU-U