The Fence Post obituary: Walter John Crom
Walter John Crom, 100
May 28, 1919 – July 5, 2019
Walter was born to Clarence and Jennie (Carroll) Crom on May 28, 1919, in Pierce, Colo. He was born in the home of his grandparents, John and Lucinda (Rogers) Carroll. The Croms had come to town for the birth of the baby as Lucinda was a midwife.
Walter’s parents were living on their homestead in northern Colorado, 35 miles northeast of Pierce near Chalk Bluffs. The Croms had homesteaded there in 1916. They owned one and one-half sections of land before they had to sell it in 1929. While there, he was diagnosed with diabetes and was told he would only live seven years.
Walter received all of his education at a little country school near their homestead. Because of his father’s poor heath, Walt had to work on the homestead and missed a lot of school. It took him two years to complete fourth grade and during October of his second year of fifth grade he dropped out and never had any more schooling.
In 1927, they purchased a farm southeast of Milliken, about a mile south of Twin Bridges. One day Jennie was plowing and fell on the plow. The injury was so bad she had to be taken to the hospital and have a blood transfusion. They ended up losing the farm. After losing the farm they moved to a farm west of Pierce. Jennie and the older children did most of the work since Clarence was sick quite a bit of the time.
In 1933, Walt and his dad went up to North Park and worked on a ranch. Clarence ran a hay mowing machine for $1 a day and Walter raked and did other ranch chores for 50 cents a day. While they were there Clarence got very sick and they had to leave. They rode in the caboose of a train from Cowdry to Larime. Clarence’s brother picked them up and took him directly to the Greeley hospital. Clarence was in the hospital there about a week before he died on Aug. 18, 1933.
After his dad died, Walter left home. He was 14 years old at the time. He first went to Cheyenne, Wyo., then later walked from there to Larime looking for work. There he met a man named Claude Lewis and was offered a ranch job. The ranch was between Chugwater and Wheatland, Wyo. Walt worked for Mr. Lewis for some time. The Lewis’ never had children and they liked having Walt there. Claude told Walt if he would stay on at the ranch he would give it to him, but Walt was young and didn’t stay.
After Walt left the Lewis ranch he worked for his Uncle Tom Crom on his grandparents homestead. Their place was a mile west of Pierce. The Croms dug a lake there and it’s still called Crom Lake.
When World War II broke out Walter joined the U.S. Army and was sent to the Pacific Theater. He worked on laying communication lines and construction engineering projects. He spent time in New Guinea, Guam, the Philippines and Australia. He was wounded and was awarded a Purple Heart. Walt was a lifelong member of the VFW.
Walt had a varied work career. His youth was spent in farm and ranch work. He also worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 50 cents a day. Later he went to work with Uncle Ray Brumfield on the Moffat Railroad and received 27 1/2 cents per hour. He was self-taught in carpentry and learned construction on the job. He went to work for Reiman Construction in 1968 and worked his way up and became a building supervisor. Walt supervised major building projects such as schools, banks, motels and other commercial projects throughout Wyoming and Colorado.
After returning home when the war was over, Walter married Ray Warren and resided in Cheyenne, Wyo. They had three children: Amanda, Alden and Lloyd. Then in 1969, Walter married Doris Porter.
Walter is survived by his wife Doris, son Alden, stepchildren Shirley, June, Mickey and Larry and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by two children Amanda and Lloyd and two step-children Glen and Dale. He was also preceded in death by his parents and 10 brothers and sisters.