John Morton Crockett, Jr., 69, passed away on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital in Columbia, S.C. following a lengthy illness.
John was born Dec. 18, 1946 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John M. Crockett, Sr. (Elaine). John’s father was an entrepreneur whose business endeavors led his family to live in various locations in the eastern U.S. He spent two years as an undergraduate at North Carolina State University, College of Engineering. Putting his college career on hold, he joined the military in 1966. He was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force and a veteran of the Vietnam War. Following his military career he returned to NC State where he graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1972. After graduating he joined his father in Columbia at Crockett Welding Supply distributorship where he eventually became president of the company. After selling the family business John began at SCETV in 1990, rising to Vice-President of Engineering. He and his team oversaw one of the nation’s most complex and innovative public television, radio and education networks, which includes more than 600 towers statewide.
John was known as a passionate advocate of emergency communications in the state. His advocacy led to enhanced partnerships between SCETV with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) as well as dozens of other state and federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. He is responsible for SCETV’s ongoing participation in the SC Healthcare Emergency Amateur Radio Team (SC HEART) program, an initiative that links hospitals around the state in times of emergency by using volunteer amateur radio operators.
He was an amateur radio operator with the call sign W3KH, and worked with the S.C. State Guard sponsoring Amateur Radio License Training Sessions and served as a mentor and technical advisor. He was President of the Columbia Amateur Radio Club, Vice President of the Southeastern Repeater Association, and a member and former President of the Five Points Rotary Club.
He has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Major General Robert E. Livingston, Jr., the Adjutant General of South Carolina; The Swamp Fox Patriot Award by the S.C. State Guard; The Blue Granite Award from S.C. State Senator Phil Leventis and the Friend of the Taxpayer Award from Gov. Jim Hodges. In September, the South Carolina ETV Commission presented a resolution to honor him “for his unfailing vision, steadfast loyalty, and leadership of emergency management communications.”
John is survived by his bride of 40 years, Karen Estes Crockett; daughters Christine Diane Crockett, Cheryl Crockett Taylor (Travis), and Cassandra Crockett Taylor (Graham) of Columbia; grandchildren Elaine and Preston Taylor, and Jackson and Temperance Taylor; sister Nancy Crockett Cooper (Miles) of Columbia; and two nephews and a niece.