Mickey Crocker Remembrance

Written by Mickey's daugher Amanda:


Mickey Crocker
8/27/1947 – 7/21/2019

"Mickey Crocker (Carol Mae Gartland) was born on August 27, 1947 on Lakeside Street and raised on South Shore Drive on Monona Bay in Madison. She was the daughter of Belle Lee and Athanasius “Nace” Gartland and younger sister to Marilyn (Keller), Mary (Gidley), Phyllis (Martell) and Patty (Brunsing). Nace had always wanted a boy to call “Mikey,” but he gave up on that after five girls, and that is how Carol got the nickname Mickey. It is what she was called her whole life.

Mickey went to Franklin Elementary and graduated from Central High. Soon after, she left Wisconsin and ended up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There she enrolled in the College of Santa Fe, married Ed Crocker and had two children, Jess and Amanda. She studied theater in college and starred opposite her teacher Greer Garson in “The Madwoman of Chaillot.” After her divorce she moved to the Bay Area of California, where she was cast in the movie “The Right Stuff.” From there, following her dreams of a serious career in acting, she moved to Los Angeles.

In 1993 Mickey married Sheldon Auerbach. In 2000, they moved to her hometown of Madison and bought a house two doors down from her mom, Belle, who had been a widow since Nace died in 1959. They took care of her until her death in 2005. Mickey and Sheldon helped Belle stay in her own home for many years and when it was time for her to go into a nursing home, they brought her joy by visiting every day and surrounding her with beautiful things. After Belle passed, Mickey and Sheldon toyed with the idea of moving to Chicago, where more acting opportunities existed, but Sheldon had fallen in love with Madison and their ties there, on the lake, were strong. Mickey stayed in that house on South Shore Drive – which just happened to be the childhood home of her best friend since the first grade, Barbara Holm Swenson - for 9 years after Sheldon died. In the spring of 2019 she bought a house in Santa Fe, where she moved in July to be nearer to her children and grandsons, August and Malcolm (both 8). Mickey died after only having been there for six weeks.

When the Gartland girls were growing up, Nace and Belle would take them up to Hayward every summer, to Hahn’s Roost Resort. Nace would fish for musky and the girls would play and swim. When her children were teenagers, Mickey took them to Hahn’s Roost and there ignited a passion in her son, who has been an avid fisherman since. She loved being on a lake with her son more than anything and when he bought a property on Lake of the Woods, Ontario, she was there with him every summer, and sometimes fall, for 15 years.

Aside from acting and being with her children, Mickey loved her church, Unity of Madison, spending time with her grandsons, August and Malcolm, singing, watching Masterpiece Theater, and writing. She wrote memoirs and several screenplays. She also took classes at the PLATO Institute.

Mickey was funny, beautiful, talented, unpredictable, vibrant and warm. She also struggled her whole life with depression. She was with her daughter, son in law and grandson August (Gus) the morning before she died, on July 21, 2019 She is preceded in death by her dad, her mom, two of her sisters (Marilyn Keller and Phyllis Martell), and her husband Sheldon. She is survived by her children and grandchildren, son and daughter in law, Sheldon’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, her sisters Mary and Patty, many nieces and nephews, and her best friend until the end, Barbie. 

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to Unity of Madison (608-221-1376) and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services of Madison (608-251-4445). A memorial has not yet been planned."