John W. "Pete" Crouth, Sr. passed away peacefully on July 7, 2019 after a brief stay as a cancer patient at VA Medical Center in Syracuse, NY. His upbeat manner, while there, brought comfort to visiting family and endeared him to Hospice staff providing his care. But this was who Pete was; people he met throughout his life were immediately his friends.
John William Crouth was born in Rome's Murphy Memorial Hospital on September 20, 1932, but family and friends called him "Pete" since early childhood. His happy hometown memories included working as a "Rome Sentinel" paper boy and Capitol Theater usher and of his formative years attending Rome public schools and St. Aloysius Academy before joining the US Navy in 1950. He spent an eventful tour on the high seas as an accomplished radio/code operator on the USS Strong DD. In 1952, his destroyer helped escort the USS Missouri under enemy fire into Korean waters during the USS Strong's world cruise. This earned Pete the UN Service Medal, Korean Service Medal and National Defense Service Ribbon. A Good Conduct Medal was added before his honorable discharge as a 2nd Class Radioman Petty Officer in September, 1953.
Pete's career in food service began after he graduated in 1955 from New Haven's Culinary Institute. After being a private caterer and chef in popular Connecticut restaurants, he joined the kitchen staff in 1963 as cook in the West Haven VA Hospital where he later became its dietary supervisor. Pete ended his 24-year VA Hospital career in 1987 when he semi-retired so he could do more fishing and play more pool, skills learned as a boy in Rome.
Pete's affable personality and culinary skills made "Cheers Cafe" in West Haven a very popular eatery after he became its part-time chef. He also offered his skills cooking for events put on by the Elks, American Legion and K of C (4th Degree Knight), where he had memberships. This included preparing 500 pounds of corned beef for the annual 2-day K of C St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Predeceased are his parents Joseph and Merna (Dunn) Crouth, Rome. Surviving are his sons, John W. Crouth, Jr. (West Haven, Ct.) and Peter L. Crouth (Plantsville, Ct); granddaughter, Whitney Crouth (West Haven); brothers, Joseph and Lawrence (Rome), David (Richfield Springs), Jerry (Ballston Spa, NY), sister, Nancy Boughton (Tarpon Springs, FL); and several nephews and nieces.
The Crouth family extends its gratitude to the wonderful staff at Pounder Hall, 1400 Utica St., Oriskany 13424 where Pete resided in his final years, and to the Syracuse VA Medical Center staff for their professional expertise and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Pounder Hall or your favorite veterans' organization.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Peter's Church at 10:30 am on Saturday, July 20. Burial, with military honors, will immediately follow at St. Peter's Cemetery. Arrangements under the direction of the Strong-Burns & Sprock Funeral Home, 7751 Merrick Road, Rome N.Y.