St James mourns beloved son, Walt Crooks
The parish of St James has been plunged into mourning since the death of one of its favourite sons, Walt Crooks.
Crooks, 69, a Cornwall College old boy, who owned and operated the internationally renowned nightclub Disco Inferno in the '70s and '80s, died after suffering massive stroke at home last Saturday morning.
Long-time friend Junior Taylor, who was one of the last persons to see Crooks before he died, told the WESTERN STAR that his death was a great lost to the Second City and Jamaica, by extension.
"Montego Bay itself has lost a son of the soil," said Taylor. "There was never an interaction with him that didn't have a positive message. In fact, I don't know anybody who would say that he was never positive and encouraging to them," he added.
"Crooks was always looking to promote and push individuals to pursue their dreams and will be missed," Taylor said.
Attorney-at-Law and past president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, Nathan Robb, hailed Crooks as a pioneer of the modern entertainment scene.
"Epiphany in Kingston and Inferno in MoBay were the two hotspots of the island. Inferno also had big live shows and
hosted several foreign artists. No wonder when Mickey Morris founded Reggae Sumfest in 93, Walt was a signatory to the company documents," Robb said.
"'Crooksie', or 'Congo', as some knew him, was a stalwart and a trendsetter that refused compromises and always insisting on very high standards. May his soul rest in peace. Condolences to his immediate and wider family and friends," he added.
In October of last year, Crooks was recognised for his outstanding contributions to his alma mater where he assumed the role of public relations officer for the Cornwall College Old Boys Association. He was also at the helm of several mentorship programmes at the school and had plans to launch new ideas.
"He came to the school regularly. Whenever you call, he was there to give assistance. You can depend on him. He was a fixture on the school compound," outlined Roy Ten-Fah, former acting chairman of the Cornwall College Old Boys Association.
In his biography that was printed in 2018, Crooks noted that his crowning moment and greatest satisfaction was that his two sons, Ron Oneil and Walt B. II, attended Cornwall College in the '80s, and '90s, respectively.