Gertrude Elizabeth Howard Cronin (July 29, 1945 – April 2, 2020)
Richard Terrence Cronin (August 30, 1941 – April 18, 2020)
West Harwich - Trudi Cronin, 74, of West Harwich, born Gertrude Elizabeth Howard on July 29, 1945, died after a courageous fight from lymphoma on April 2, 2020. She was at home and surrounded by her adoring family, including husband Terry Cronin. Terry, 78, died two weeks later on April 18 following a March diagnosis of neuroendocrine carcinoma. He was at home and his children were by his side.
In life and in death Trudi and Terry were nearly inseparable. Trudi grew up in Newton and attended Newton High School (North). Terry was raised in Pawtucket, R.I., and attended Tolman High School. Their partnership began in 1966 at the University of Rhode Island when Trudi was a student and Terry a recent graduate. Together they lived in Winooski, Vt.; Andover, Conn.; Newton and Upper Saddle River, N.J., before settling full time in West Harwich, the Cape Cod town where the Cronin family spent every summer for generations.
Terry made a career in the automotive industry, the highlight of which was 30 years spent with BMW North America. He was a “people person” through and through, striking up conversations and making friends in the most unlikely places. His work precipitated multiple relocations. For every new house the family moved into, Trudi created a home filled with warmth and where neighbors and friends were always welcome and often present. No matter the occasion, there was always room for another seat at their table.
Service to community was important for both. Trudi was especially active during the family’s years in Upper Saddle River. She brought thoughtful leadership, precise organizing skills and her strong moral compass to roles as president of the Parent Teacher Organization, Friends of the Library and the Saddle River Newcomers Club. She was most proud of being president of the Board of Education.
She was an avid reader and book club member, and she loved the symphony. She had boundless energy. She was indispensable to her neighbors and maintained friendships for decades. Those in her orbit received birthday cards and care packages, baked goods and fresh flowers regularly.
While Terry was working he loved being out on the road, collecting and sharing stories and building friendships. The same was true in retirement. He developed new routines, finding fitness with sunrise visits to the Harwich Community Center gym and daily walks and outings with his beloved dogs Blue, Harley and Grover. He made food deliveries as a driver for the Family Pantry of Cape Cod. He also drove the Harwich Council on Aging senior bus, taking his passengers – soon his friends – on errands around town.
Trudi and Terry both loved fiercely and unconditionally. Central to their life was family and their home was the meeting spot for holidays and gatherings throughout the year. They taught their children the importance of working hard, setting goals, never giving up and being kind. To their grandchildren they were avid fans at sports games and swim meets, and the walls of their home were filled with photos of them through every stage of their lives. Trudi’s favorite expression was taped to the refrigerator: Our family is a circle of strength and love. With every birth and every union the circle grows. Every joy shared adds more love. Every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.
Trudi and Terry Cronin are survived by their children Todd (Rye, N.H.), Traci (Belmont) and Ty (West Harwich) Cronin, and Elizabeth Ross (Coconut Creek, Fla.); their partners Karen Stewart, John Doherty, Brenda Azure and Michael Weiss; and their children Sawyer (13) and Wes (11) Cronin; Anna (17), Layne (14) and Declan (11) Doherty; Sienna (14) and Alexa (12) Azure. They also leave Trudi’s sister and brother-in-law, Patty Howard Thompson and Peter Thompson of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Terry’s sister and brother-in-law Judy and Tom Purvis of Hilton Head, S.C.; and their nieces and nephews TD Thompson of Sudbury; Brad Thompson of San Francisco, Calif.; Jill Thompson Smith of Washington, D.C.; Robert Howard of Waltham; Lisa Howard Brien of Woonsocket, R.I.; Kerri Purvis Neiderer of Hilton Head, S.C.; Jill Purvis Murphy of Warren, R.I. They were preceded in death by an infant son, Scott Alexander, and Trudi’s brother Frank Robert Howard.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers gifts may be made in their memory to support Dr. Ann LaCasce’s Research Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA, 02284. Alternately, donations may be made in their names to the Family Pantry of Cape Cod, 133 Queen Anne Road, Harwich, MA, 02645 or www.thefamilypantry.com.