Former Atmore dentist dies

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Atmore has lost one of its own.

Dr. Fred Crook, 65, a former dentist and avid runner, died after a short battle with pancreatic cancer on Jan. 25, 2016, in his Fairhope home.

Crook was known as a generous and kind man.



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He was born and raised in Atmore, and practiced dentistry here for 26 years. Crook moved to Fairhope and continued to practice in Atmore until he moved his practice.

Richard Maxwell, a friend who grew up on the same street as Crook, said he was a great friend.

“He was just the nicest person you ever want to meet,” Maxwell said.

Dr. Steve Shirley, who still practices dentistry in Atmore and one of Crook’s dear friends, said he had the pleasure of getting to know Crook through dentist meetings in Monroeville.

“Fred was just always one of these guys who professionally had high integrity, and was kind of like a brother to me,” Shirley said. “We’d get together and talk shop on the way to meetings, and share different things we were experiencing.”

Shirley and Crook had separate dental practices on Highway 31.

“We enjoyed the camaraderie of talking dentistry,” he said, adding that they enjoyed playing golf at the country club.

One thing that Maxwell and Shirley said that Crook loved doing was running.

“He was a runner,” Maxwell said. “He really enjoyed running, and was extremely fast.”

Shirley said he’d still go for a 4-to-5-mile run when he’d get home to Fairhope after commuting from his dentist office in Atmore.

“He was faithful to running,” Shirley said. “It helped get the stress out a little.”

Shirley said Crook ran in 10Ks and other running events.

While living in Fairhope, Crook suffered a major stroke about 12 years ago.

Shirley said Crook woke up one morning and knew something was wrong immediately.

“His wife, Karen, called 911 and got medial help,” Shirley said. “It pretty much paralyzed his right side. He was a right-handed dentist.”

Shirley added that the stroke shortened Crook’s career, but felt he could’ve worked another 10.

“He had to retire,” Shirley said. “It was a sad note because he loved dentistry, too.”

During treatment after his stroke, Shirley said doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham would bind up Crook’s left side so that it would fool the brain to start using the right side again.

“He went through a couple of years of extensive rehab,” Shirley said.

Through it all, no matter how rough it got, Crook always had a smile on his face.

“He wasn’t a belly acher or complainer,” Shirley said. “He was always positive.

“He’ll be greatly missed. Not just for dentistry, but for good conversation,” he said.

Crook is survived by his wife of 44 years, Karen S. Crook; daughters, Alison Lollar (Browan) and Elizabeth Dickinson (Bill); and granddaughter, Claire Elise Dickinson. His parents, Dr. Samuel F. and Elise S. Crook; and son in law, Shane Hulsey, preceded him in death.

Crook graduated from the University of Alabama and UAB School of Dentistry.

Upon graduation from UAB, Crook studied and achieved his fellowship and mastership degrees in the field of dentistry.

A memorial service was held at Fairhope First United Methodist Church on Sat., Jan. 30, 2016. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Jude’s for Children, the American Stroke Association, the American Cancer Society or the Cahaba River Society.