John Norman Crock

John Norman Crock

Southwest Harbor

John Norman Crock, 88, of Southwest Harbor, passed away peacefully on December 29th, 2023, after weathering a series of medical challenges toward the end of his life. His extended life and happiness would not have been possible without the loving care of his wife and soulmate of 28 years, Heidi Lamberty Crock. John was loving and kind-hearted, stern, and sarcastic, and built things like himself, sturdy and strong.

John was born February 22, 1935, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Norman and Mary (Taylor) Crock of Havertown. He attended boarding school at Stony Brook in Long Island, New York. There, he applied his size and strength as a multisport athlete, captaining the football team, playing basketball, and running track, setting a school record in the shot put. Following his graduation from Stony Brook in 1953, he attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he was recruited for track and field. At Penn, the crew coach encouraged him to switch sports and he became a rower. After a couple years there, John took a break from school, bought an Indian motorcycle, and went on an extended road trip to Florida.

He later transferred to the University of Pittsburgh to finish his undergraduate degree and compete for the track team in discus and shot put. Following his graduation in 1960, John enrolled at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1963. The following year, Reverand Crock married his first wife, Sally Scully Crock and they settled in Bowie, Maryland where he served as pastor for the Christian Community Presbyterian Church.

Following a visit to Bar Harbor in 1968 enroute to visit relatives in Nova Scotia, John and Sally decided to stay, settling first in Bar Harbor and, a few years later, Hulls Cove. John left the ministry, worked construction, and then became one of the first teachers at the newly formed Mount Desert Island High School, teaching English when it first opened in 1968. Continuing his eclectic professional history, he started Bar Harbor Candles in 1971, developing a candle factory in Hulls Cove and a retail shop in Bar Harbor. John later joined Fred C. Lynam Agency as an insurance salesman.

John continued his creative, non-traditional pursuits after he and Sally separated, building a home that was a scale model of one of the Great Pyramids of Giza. He was ahead of his time, always emphasizing the importance of believing in oneself and “following your bliss” as one of his favorite authors, Joseph Campbell, advocated. John soon met and married his second wife, Lynn McPheters Crock. John published a newsletter during this period that surveyed current psychological research into the powers of the human mind. He also learned and taught hypnosis, then became a general contractor full-time. John loved to build things and tinker with them, from buildings to televisions. He was especially fond of building his own stereo systems.

After John and Lynn separated, he moved to Southwest Harbor and found his new home on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island where he would live out his life. It was there that he met Heidi and they fell deeply in love. They married in 1995 on his 60th birthday and enjoyed a full life together, collaborating on building and home projects, enjoying trips to Europe and the Caribbean and, most of all, spending time at home. He loved to read, listen to music, or go out to dinner with Heidi by his side.

In addition to his wife, Heidi Lamberty Crock of Southwest Harbor, he is survived by son John G. Crock and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Subin of Essex, Vermont, son Bruce N. Crock of Fairfax, California, and daughter Samantha Lynn Hanham and son-in-law Andy Hanham of Noraville, New South Wales, Australia. He also leaves behind two “step” children and their partners who lovingly adopted him, Ingrid Kachmar and her husband John Kachmar of Southwest Harbor and Derek Wilbur and his wife Sarah O’Neil of Bass Harbor. John also is survived by eight grandchildren and three step-grandchildren including Otis, Jacob and Lila Crock of Essex, Vermont; Ella, Miles, and Max Crock of Fairfax, California; William and Connor Hanham of Noraville, New South Wales, Australia; and Spencer and Sydney Kachmar of Southwest Harbor and Logan Wilbur of Bass Harbor.

A small family gathering is planned to celebrate his life.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Harbor House, P.O. Box 836, Southwest Harbor, Maine 04679.

Condolences may be expressed at

3 Condolences

  • Leon Chai Posted January 18, 2024 6:07 pm

    Dear Crock family,

    I was a student in John Crock’s 1st English class at MDIHS (1968-69). I’m grateful to him for everything I learned from him that year. I vividly remember his encouraging all of us to do something really original. He also taught me to think outside the box about academic protocol: one day he came to class + said: “I just don’t feel like giving an exam today, so we won’t have one.” I remembered that lesson well: in 27 yrs. of university teaching, I’ve never given an in-class exam.

    Most of all, I’m grateful to him for reading a lot of my first efforts at writing fiction (a lot of it influenced by my reading Dostoevsky).. I’m not sure he really liked Dostoevsky, but he read patiently all the same. He never pretended to expertise, but I appreciated his interest, his engagement, + his honesty about my work.

    So, with much gratitude for what he left + sincere condolences for your loss,–

  • Karley K Goodwin Posted January 19, 2024 1:57 pm

    Dear Heidi,
    So sorry to hear of John’s death. I’m sure it was not unexpected, but sad all the same. Please know that Nelson and I are thinking of you. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. I have plenty of free time now that we are living at Birch Bay.

  • Richard Varker Posted February 5, 2024 10:36 pm

    Dear Heidi, my heart goes out to you for your loss. I deeply regret not keeping in touch with John. He and I were classmates at Stony Brook, and I accompanied John on his motorcycle trip to Florida. My best wishes to you, Dick

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