Marion Croley Forester, 68, of Harlan, Kentucky, unexpectedly “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God” on Thursday morning, March 24, 2022.
Croley was born on January 11, 1954, in Jeffersonville, Indiana to Ralph and Wauneth Forester. His family soon returned to Harlan, where he attended Harlan Independent and graduated from James A. Cawood High School in 1972. Croley then attended the University of Kentucky before beginning a lifetime of government service.
Croley was recruited into the United States Air Force, where hisexpertise in mobile radar operations took him all around the world, fueling a love for travel and culture. He was stationed in Germany, where he also played football for the Air Force, Key West, and Seattle, where he played football for a short time with the Seattle Seahawks. He served 8 years altogether, earning the rank of Staff Sergeant. After leaving the Air Force, Croley served as an assistant Air Traffic Controller in the FAA, and later served as an Air Operations Drug Interdiction Specialist, Senior Inspector, and Range Master for US Customs. In 1996, Croley brought to light some serious national security issues at Miami International Airport, leading to a congressional investigation, a White House Task Force, and, ultimately,sweeping changes in airport and airline security. During his 24-year career with Customs, Croley was responsible for the confiscation of over 15,000 pounds of cocaine and received more than 30 commendations for exemplary service. In 2010, he retired from a lifetime of service and returned home to Harlan where he became involved in local politics and service projects such as river clean-ups. He served as a Harlan City Councilman, President of the Harlan Rotary Club, and member of the Bishop’s Blue-Ribbon Commission for the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. Croley was also a founder and the first director ofHarlan’s Appalachian Challenge Academy.
Croley will always be remembered as a loyal friend and patriot. He loved rock and roll, fast cars and motorcycles, and his Chow dogs.
Croley was preceded in death by his father, Ralph Forester, and leaves to mourn his loss his mother, Waun Forester, brothers Frank (Jennifer) and Ed, and scores of family and friends around the world.
Visitation will be 5:00 - 7:00 pm Tuesday (March 29) at the Anderson-Laws & Jones Funeral Home. Celebration of Croley’s life will follow at 7:00 pm with Rev. Tim H. Mills officiating. Music will be provided by Dr. James Greene.
The family suggest memorials to the Wounded Warrior Project. https://woundedwarriorproject.org/ in memory of Croley.
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