HISTORICAL – Kay B. Crooker, A Houston Quality of Life Advocate
Kay B. Crooker was a professional and volunteer advocate promoting Houston’s quality of life for more than 30 years. Appointed to the City of Houston Planning and Zoning Commission in 1984 and reappointed by five different mayors, Crooker retired in 2008. As a former
president of Scenic Houston (available in Houston History Archives) and board member with The Park People (Houston History Archives), Katy Prairie Conservancy, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Quality of Life Coalition, and Trees for Houston, Crooker was a champion in the successful development of Houston’s Tree and Shrub ordinance. Crooker was a strong advocate for zoning and was active in an unsuccessful campaign to enact zoning in Houston in 1993.
As a neighborhood activist, Crooker became the first woman to join the Tanglewood Homes Association’s board of directors. Then the board members elected her president. Working for the Tanglewood area, Crooker and others organized to improve safety and beauty for the area and to relieve congestion by identifying inadequate traffic flow and construction congestion. Such civic associations are significant in Houston’s history, for such groups monitored and lobbied for the city
services often provided by zoning in other urban centers.1 Subsequently, Crooker founded the Houston Homeowners Association and served for three years as its president.
Crooker expressed her philosophy of activism when she signed on with “1000 Friends of Houston – Houston deserves to be a better place to live.” As a dedicated activist, Crooker staunchly supported initiatives to fulfill this claim for Houston’s future. Kay B. Crooker died on August 20, 2012. Her indefatigable hard work for the city of Houston left a trail of improvements and her personal imprint on the concept of civic duty.
Footnote 1: Robert Fisher, “’Be on the Lookout’: Neighborhood Civic Clubs in Houston.” Houston Review of History and Culture of the Gulf Coast 6(3), 108 (1984)
Author Dr. Teresa (Terry) Tomkins-Walsh is historian and archivist for the Houston History Archives with the Center for Public History at the University of Houston. Located in Special Collections at the UH Libraries, the Archives collects historical documents on the growth and development of Houston with particular concentrations in energy, environmental and ethnic history. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.