Brian Croker

Brian Crocker, a co-founder of Woozles children's bookstore in Halifax, has died. (Courtesy Woozles)

The co-founder of Woozles, Canada’s oldest children’s bookstore and a staple of downtown Halifax since 1978, has died.

Brian Crocker was 71.

Crocker was known for his love of books — one of his favourites being Piggy in the Puddle — and he always felt it was important to read to children.

As as nod to that, his family asks that people read to their children or donate to the Chester Playhouse in lieu of flowers.

Crocker's wife, Liz, says her husband was a humble and kind man who took pleasure in helping other people.

"He really did deeply care not only about his own reading choices, which of course he was a passionate reader, but he really cared about children’s books as well," she told CBC’s Mainstreet on Tuesday.

"He loved reading to both of our girls, he loved making up stories, he loved seeing how excited they were with books."

Crocker credited her husband, a lawyer by training, with having the business acumen to help Woozles get started and enjoy years of success.

One of his daughters, Woozles manager Suzy MacLean, says one of her fondest memories of her father is seeing him dressed up as a cactus for a play.

"It was really fun working with my dad," she says. "He was really great at being very clear about what the parameters were of business and of what to do, and when to do it, and how to do it.

"But he also the signed the odd business email with 'XO Dad.'"