Amherst Magazine
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EDWARD CROCKETT (1937-1985)

Ed Crockett was perhaps the most gifted instrumental musician in the Class. He was a popular musical director of the College Sixteen, a member of the Band and social chairman of Phi Psi. He majored in music while completing pre-med studies, demonstrating the unusual combination of interests that marked his life.

Ed came to Amherst from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., and returned to Washington to complete medical studies at Howard University, specializing in pulmonary diseases. After a twoyear tour in the Navy at Great Lakes Naval Hospital, he returned to Washington to join Howard’s medical faculty. He enjoyed teaching and soon became vice-chairman of the Department of Medicine for student medical education. Some Howard students had to work parttime as they pursued medical school full-time. Ed developed successful programs so they would not fall behind in their studies and clinical skill development.

In 1969, Ed also began a private practice in internal medicine and pulmonary diseases. When the practice grew substantially, Ed finally gave up his teaching to devote full time to it.

He met his second wife, Dr. Mary Alice Johnson Crockett, in medical school. She remembers that Ed “prized his Amherst education and his degree in music. Music always remained an integral part of his life. He played gigs throughout the medical school and residency years. He played the saxophone and clarinet less and less  and the piano more. During medical school he retained a regular Thursday night gig at the Bohemian Taverns on U Street. After this period he became a musical spectator! We attended jazz performances almost every weekend.”

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He was also an amateur photographer and pursued this hobby with a passion. “He created art with the camera,” Mary Alice says. “Some of his works decorate the walls of our home.”

Ed died in 1985 when his younger children were still in high school, but his legacy lives on in their life choices. His oldest daughter Sharon studied at Johns Hopkins and Columbia. With her MBA she has had a successful career in the securities industry, most recently as a senior portfolio research analyst with Western Asset Management.

Mary Alice’s younger children, Teddy and Alison, were “saturated” with music “from the uterus onward and music has become their life’s work!” Both have web sites. Teddy studied music at Morehouse, Howard and Berklee College of Music. He owns The Crockett Gallery, a company that produces and manages musicians and music groups – including sister Alison. Teddy’s performing gifts are multi-instrumental with emphasis on guitar. He has performed with groups all over the world and with his sister.

Alison is a vocalist who studied voice at Syracuse University and jazz performance at Temple and Manhattan School of Music. She too has toured extensively, and also is on the faculty at George Washington University. She formerly conducted a choir that appeared on the Today Show and in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Mary Alice knows that Ed would have been ”greatly excited” about these musical careers.

Mary Alice pursued a distinguished medical career of her own. She continued Ed’s practice while simultaneously serving as Medical Director of the D.C. Home Care Services Bureau and later the D.C. Village Nursing Center. She’s been “almost retired” since 2004. “ I am more involved as a grandmother [Sharon’s daughter], a cheerleader for our children, and as the health minister of our church. I provide volunteer medical care in Mississippi.”

Edward David Crockett Jr. died of colon cancer Dec. 12, 1985.

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Ed with his son, Teddy, in the summer
of 1985, at Ed's sister-in-law's
home in Conway, S.C. Ed died later
that year.
Ed, from the 1958 Olio section on the
College Sixteen, which Ed directed and
for which he did much of the arranging.
 

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