April 20, 1929 - March 24, 2012
Walter J. Cronin Jr., Col. US Army (Ret.), age 82,
of College Station, went to be with his Lord on Saturday,
March 24, 2012, at home, surrounded by his loving
family. A time for the family to receive friends will be
Thursday, March 29, 2012, from 1:00 - 4:00 pm and f
rom 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Hillier Funeral Home. Funeral
services will be Friday, March 30, 2012, at 11:00 am
at Grace Bible Church, Southwood Campus, with
Reverend Stephen Troxel officiating. Interment will follow at a later date, with
full Military Honors, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Walter was born April 20, 1929, to Walter and Gertrude (McCarthy) Cronin
in Washington, D.C. He proudly entered the United States Army as a 17-year
old Private, after graduating from Central High School in Washington, D.C.,
in September of 1946, and then served his nation for over 27 years. Colonel
Cronin served and fought in three wars, as well as serving over a year under
General MacArthur in the Army of Occupation of Japan following World War
II. Later, after commanding combat troops in Korea, he served as a diplomat
in London, often briefing the US Ambassador and other dignitaries. He spent
much of his subsequent career in Military Intelligence, serving in Vietnam,
before retiring from the Army in June of 1973. Colonel Cronin had the distinct
honor of serving in every rank, from Private to Colonel during his illustrious
career. He was awarded medals and citations in all three of our nation's wars,
as well as the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star(with Oak Leaf
Cluster), and the Legion of Merit. He truly was one of our nation's heroes and
a member of the vanishing Greatest Generation.
After retirement, Walter enjoyed his passion of gardening by supporting his
family in establishing Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, Maryland, with
Don Riddle and his parents, where he spent the next 10 years, until his late
wife Barbara L. Cronin (Frye), whom he married in 1949, became terminally
ill. Walter and Barbara loved the beautiful Shenandoah Valley so much, they
moved to Charles Town, W.Va. in 1985, where they lived until Barbara's
Walter later met and married Jo Ann Cole Cronin, his wife of 25 years. They
moved to San Antonio and then to College Station, where they have lived for
the last 16 years. They are members of Grace Bible Church, and attend the
Caleb Sunday School Class. They also served with the OWLS ministry for
widows and widowers. Walter taught Bible Study Fellowship for many years.
Walter and Jo Ann loved to dance and were members of the Bryan Dinner
Dance Club. They both loved to travel, enjoying Europe, the Caribbean,
Turkey, Alaska and Israel together. They loved antiquing and even owned an
antique business in San Antonio, where Walter was often found grinding and
repairing crystal for close friends and customers.
Walter shared Jo Ann's love of horses, and was a groomsman for The Texas
Ladies Aside, the official equestrian drill team of Texas, of which Jo Ann is a
member. Walter was a mentor to many young men and he truly appreciated
the Adopt-an-Aggie program at Grace Bible Church. He also enjoyed the
Westerners Club, reading, and Walter always loved buying and repairing old
clocks. He was a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock
Collectors, a member of the Military Officers Association of America and a
member of The Military Order of the World Wars.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his two baby granddaughters and his
baby grandson; his late wife Barbara; his sister, Gertrude Sprague; and his
brother-in-law, Milton J. "Mel" Beall.
Surviving to cherish many precious memories are his wife, Jo Ann Cole
Cronin of College Station; two daughters, Jenny Sue (Ross) Selby of College
Station, Sandra (John) Willkomm of Commerce, Ga.; and two stepsons,
Edward (Linda) Cole and John (Merritt) Cole, of College Station. He was
blessed with seven grandchildren, Christopher, Brian, Kenneth, Barbara,
Matthew, Melissa and Gray; and seven great-grandchildren, Bailey, Bryce,
Isaiah, Elijah, Kaleb, Belle and Emma, all of whom he loved dearly. Also
surviving are two sisters, Eileen Beall of Florida, Mary Richards of Maryland;
and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins and many dear friends.
Walter loved his Lord, loved his country and loved his family. He will be
dearly missed by all whose lives he touched.
Special heartfelt thanks to the Pastors and members of Grace Bible Church,
staff of The Manor, Comfort Keepers, Hospice Brazos Valley, and for the
love and support of family and friends.
Donations may be made to Grace Bible Church and Hospice Brazos Valley.
Please view, sign, and share memories at www.hillierfuneralhome.com
Published in The Bryan-College Station Eagle from March 28 to March 29, 2012