John Joseph Cronin, Jr.

Born: Thu., Jun. 20, 1957
Died: Fri., Oct. 5, 2018


Visitation

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Tue., Oct. 16, 2018
Location: Silas F. Richardson & Son, Inc.


Committal

11:00 AM Wed., Oct. 17, 2018
Location: St. Leo's Cemetery


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John Joseph Cronin Jr. was an intrepid adventurer, and he started young. When he was 16, he went out from his hometown of Leominster, Mass., on his Suzuki 250 for a little motorcycle ride with a friend. The little ride turned into a 200-mile trip west, including a couple of hours stopped at the New York border to wire up his broken headlight to comply with the law of the state of New York. Mr. Cronin’s mother was wondering where he had gotten off to this time when she got a call from her sister in Modena, N.Y., saying the teenager had made a surprise appearance there with his friend. They spent the night and headed home the next day.

In 1985, Mr. Cronin bicycled home to Massachusetts from Seattle, where he was a student at Washington State University in the geology master’s program.

 
He was always on the move. This year, he retired and planned to crisscross the country on his BMW motorcycle, to far flung destinations based on where his friends were. He did get in a few trips, but on Friday, Oct. 5, Mr. Cronin, 61, of Ghent, N.Y., was killed in Hillsdale, N.Y., when the motorcycle he was driving south on New York State Route 22 was hit by a northbound SUV turning left onto County Route 21, police said, according to published reports. He was thrown from his motorcycle and pronounced dead at the scene. 

Mr. Cronin, a teacher, athlete, and loving father of three, was artistically and technically proficient in the physical arts and also had the intellectual reach of an academic, a rare combination. 

After graduating from high school in 1975, he drove trailer dump trucks loaded with gravel to major job sites such as Interstate 190 and to the head of the Charles River in Boston to work on the flood control dams.  During the winter, he delivered heating oil and plowed snow. Following the Blizzard of 1978, having earned enough money on overtime, he decided to enroll in college and thus began his academic career.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in geography from Fitchburg State College, then received a scholarship to Washington State University, where he earned a Master’s of Education in curriculum development in science. For a time, he studied in the University of Lowell’s ABD Math and Science doctoral program. 

His career in education took him from teaching science at Portsmouth High School in N.H., to Assabet Valley Collaborative High School in Marlborough, Mass., where he taught science and then became principal. He was a visiting lecturer at Fitchburg State College, then moved into the Waldorf school environment in Wilton, N.H., and Great Barrington, Mass. Finally he served in Ghent, N.Y., at Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, where he was high school chairman and a teacher of mathematics and physical science, and faculty chairman for a year, He retired there in June, and the open road beckoned. 

Mr. Cronin made long distance journeys and short day trips on his motorcycle, some of them often on a whim. He liked to stop and explore and consequently discovered some gems. He half seriously pondered starting a blog, a kind of trail based upon hamburger joints he liked.

He was an avid skier, plying some challenging trails including Tuckerman’s Ravine on Mount Washington, N.H. He spent many cold but happy hours skiing at the now-closed Pheasant Run in Leominster. He was a cyclist who competed in many 100-mile races, and a runner who could hold a respectable six-minute mile for a good distance. He also competed in triathlons as a member of a team that always included his sister, Beverly Cronin, his only sibling, as the swimmer and a third rotating team member. They always placed first in the co-ed team category. 

Mr. Cronin also played drums.

He was born in Fitchburg, Mass., to Mary (Doucette) Cronin and John Joseph Cronin Sr. He attended Holy Family School in Fitchburg, transferring in the third grade to St. Leo’s in Leominster. From there he went to Carter Junior High School, then Leominster High.

Besides his sister, Mr. Cronin leaves three children, Jeremiah Cronin, twins Angelica and Mackenzie Cronin, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He also leaves a large cadre of best friends.

Calling hours at the Silas F. Richardson and Son Funeral Home, 106 West St., Leominster are Tuesday, October 16, from 4-7. Burial in St. Leo’s Cemetery Wednesday morning, October 17, at 11.

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Al Maze
   Posted Fri October 12, 2018
I never knew John until I read his obit in the Globe [10/12].
I am truly saddened that a person who had so much impact on those around him has been taken from us. And taken so tragically.
We have all suffered a great loss.
Rest well, John.

Al Maze

Anne wilson
   Posted Mon October 15, 2018
So sorry such a tragic loss to all . Got know him years ago when he was a partime co worker ,was a nice and special person .

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