Director of Bean’s Cafe Dies Suddenly

Jim Crockett. Photo from Beans Cafe.

UPDATE: Jim Crockett’s memorial service will be held at 12 noon on Tuesday, December 4 at Anchorage City Church, 1301 West 100th Avenue.

The Executive Director of Bean’s Cafe died Thursday of pneumonia. Sixty-four-year-old Jim Crockett was one of the founders of the cafe, which provides meals, shelter, and support services for Anchorage’s neediest citizens.

Jim Crockett was a founding board member of Bean’s Cafe in downtown Anchorage. Leslie Ellis is the Chairwoman of the Board that oversees Beans. She says Crockett’s leadership will be missed.

“Bean’s started in 1979 and Jim was one of the founding board members and then after his tenure ended as a board member he continued to serve. A little more than 10 years ago the position of executive director became open and he applied and he was of course the perfect fit and we were thrilled – you know Jim is very unique because he was compassionate, he’s caring but he was an excellent financial manager,” Ellis said.

Crockett worked in the private sector as an accountant and financial manager before becoming the director of Bean’s, Ellis says. He will be remembered, she says, for expanding the work of the cafe. Under Crockett’s leadership, Bean’s began serving around 800 meals a day, within the cafe, plus 100-200 additional meals at other locations. The Cafe also began providing shelter when the ‘Brother Francis Shelter’ filled up. One of the biggest things that happened during Crockett’s Tenure, Ellis says, is the creation of a sub-program of Beans called “Children’s Lunch Box,” which serves over 1,200 kids lunch every day at six locations. Ellis says the Beans staff and volunteers are honoring Crockett by carrying on that work.

“This is a really sad day for us, but our staff and the large number of volunteers that we have every day that make things happen at beans and children’s lunch box all were at work today, everybody was working, there was no interruption in service – that would be the one thing that Jim would not want to see happen. And I’m proud to say that it’s a hard day, but everybody has stepped up,” Ellis said.

Ellis says because Crockett died so suddenly, a memorial service hasn’t been planned yet, but the board is considering ways to honor Crocket and will release information about how the community can remember him soon.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.