Willard Fox Croney died peacefully Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, at home surrounded by family in Rehoboth Beach. Croney was born in Newport in 1928. He was married to Eileen Wise Croney, also a Delawarean, for 64 years. They lived most of their married life in upstate New York.
Willard Croney was the last survivor of the John Wesley Croney Sr., family of Wilmington and Newport.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters: Linda C. Christopher of Groton, N.Y., and her daughters Katy and Brynn; Liesse C. Pollio of Hockessin, and her husband Gary and children Laura and Robbie; and Lori C. Poerio of Arnold, Md., and her husband Mark and children Nate, Sonia, Alissa, and Julia.
Croney served in Egypt, North Africa and Italy in the U.S. Army 1942-45. He was educated in both the United States and Europe with degrees from the University of Delaware and Cornell University, and as a British research fellow at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
Croney was active in soil and water conservation for 40 years, most of it as a faculty member in extension of the College of Agriculture, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Upon the retirement of his long time colleague and friend, Professor Harry A. Kerr of Cornell, Croney was appointed executive director of the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee by the dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell. His function was to guide county soil and water conservation districts of New York.
Croney developed many techniques for using stereoscopic aerial photography and later satellite imagery to determine aspects of the natural sciences for planning land use and for agriculture.
Croney retired in 1983, and upon his retirement the employees of the New York Soil and Water Conservation Districts established the Willard F. Croney Distinguished Conservation Award to be given annually to the outstanding conservation district employee in the state.
A committal service with military honors will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, Sept. 13, at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear, DE 19701.
Arrangements in care of Melson Funeral Services.