September 13, 2006

Obituary - Deceased Sept 13, 2006

Walter Charles “W.C.” Crosby, Jr.
Played for the Negro Baseball League

Walter Charles “W.C.” Crosby, Jr., 85, 255 Short St., passed away Wednesday, September 13, 2006, at Beverly Health Care-Western Reserve. He was born May 5, 1921, in Laurel, Miss., son of the late Walter C. Crosby, Sr. and Arcola Keys Crosby.

He was a resident of Erie (PA) for 64 years. He first resided in Erie in 1942, fulfilled his military duty, and returned to Erie in 1946 with his new bride. He was employed with GE, Erie Malleable, W. T. Grant Co., Parker White Metal Co. (PHB-Fairview) and was last employed in maintenance with Kmart. He was a World War II veteran of the US Army.

He was a founding member of the Oak Park High School Alumni Association, was a member of the Bayfront NATO Men’s Association and the Guys and Dolls Social Club and was politically active in the Fourth Ward. Mr. Crosby was a charter member of Victory Christian Center, where he served as Chief Elder, former Chairman of the Trustees, and various other boards and committees. He was a former member of First Good Samaritan A.M.E. Zion Church where he served as a Trustee under the pastorate of the then Rev. Dwayne Brock.

He loved watching all sports and soap operas on TV. As a young man he participated in all available sports and began the pursuit of his baseball career with the “Laurel Black Cats” when he was 14. He began playing semi-pro baseball at age 16 and was recommended to the Cleveland Buckeyes, one of the Negro League’s powerhouse teams of the 40s, by Grace, Willie, a friend from his hometown. He also played with the Erie Pontiacs, a predominantly black baseball team that played in the Glenwood and Lake Shore leagues in the 1940s and again in the 1950s.

When he was inducted into the Army in 1944 and they discovered his baseball prowess, he played for two years at Ft. Benning, Ga. He later reunited with former Cleveland Buckeyes Willie Grace, Jethroe, Sam, Harden, Lovell - Big Pitch and George Jefferson on the Erie Pontiacs. He leaves to cherish his memory his childhood sweetheart and wife of 61 years, Rosalie Bester Crosby, Erie; a son, Robert Charles Crosby, Erie; special long-time friends, Leonard “Big Jeff” and Julia Jefferson, Leon and Winnie Jackson, Olivia Jones Brock, his church family; and many relatives and friends. Friends may visit with the family on Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Word of Life Christian Center (former site of Victory Christian Center), 660 Hess Ave., and may attend a funeral service at the church on Wednesday, 1 p.m., conducted by Bishop Dwane Brock of Victory Christian Center. Interment in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.