Cover photo for William "Bill" Joseph Croke's Obituary
William "Bill" Joseph Croke Profile Photo
1934 William "Bill" 2023

William "Bill" Joseph Croke

May 26, 1934 — November 23, 2023



William (Bill) Joseph Croke, 89, of Duluth, passed away peacefully with family by his side, Thursday, November 23, 2023 at Essentia Health hospice. He was born May 26, 1934, in Two Harbors to the late Lenore and Francis Croke.

Bill was the husband of Kathleen (Kathy, nee Dinan) for 59 years; father of Patty (Paul) Becker, Terri (Steve) Thompson, and Dave (Lorie) Croke; grandfather of Kiera and Taylor Thompson; brother and brother-in-law of Cathy and Jerry Kelly and the late Peggy and Ray Peterson; brother-in-law of Connie and Bill Dinan and Lin and John Dinan; and cousin, uncle, and friend to many others.

In recent years, Bill's mantra was one of profound gratitude, "I/we have been so lucky." He was grateful for his parents, siblings, and childhood.  He felt lucky for the camaraderie he found in the Army reserves on a base in Alaska, and for the GI Bill that funded his college education. He earned degrees in geology and engineering.  Bill felt lucky to have found the love of his life, Kathy, at the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  He was grateful for his job with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for 35+ years and the opportunities for advancement it provided. 

Bill felt lucky that he and Kathy raised children who also found life partners and successful careers.  He was inordinately proud his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. He was grateful for his home of 44 years on "the circle" and the safety it made him feel. Bill felt lucky to have traveled on "more than 100 trips!" with Kathy, and to have had the ability to run, hike, walk, bike, ski, and even rollerblade before and after his retirement.  At the age of 70, he placed first in his division in the NorthShore Inline Skating half-marathon, and placed second at the age of 77!  At the age of 82, Bill wanted to (and so he did) ski his last runs with his granddaughters in the mountains of Colorado!  Bill recently enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with Kathy at Hawk Ridge, the Rose Garden, and Hartley Nature Center. 

Bill was a man of simple pleasures.  He taught us all to appreciate a good glass of wine, beautiful music, a friendly game of cards, a quiet walk in the woods, and an engrossing book.  We hope he is enjoying one of his favorite PBS dramas ("no commercials!") in heaven.  We are indeed, lucky.

The visitation and celebration of Bill’s life will be Friday, January 5, 2024 at Dougherty Funeral Home (600 E. 2nd Street, Duluth) from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at St. Joseph Catholic Church (151 W. Linden Street, Duluth) at 11:00 a.m. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555, please visit to sign the online guestbook.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Bill’s favorite charities, the Superior Hiking Trail Association and Hartley Nature Center

Please click on the link 5 mins prior to the service to watch Bill's funeral service.

To send flowers to the family in memory of William "Bill" Joseph Croke, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 5, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Dougherty Funeral Home Duluth

600 East Second Street, Duluth, MN 55805

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Joseph Catholic Church

151 W Linden St, Duluth, MN 55811

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 385

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Send a Card

Send a Card