Jerome (Jerry) Edward Cronin

March 11, 2021

CHARLOTTE – Jerome (Jerry) E. Cronin, 91, passed away on Thursday, March 11, 2021 in Charlotte, NC.  He is survived by his five children; Michael Cronin, Peg Cronin, Daniel Cronin and his wife, Iris, Patti Murphy and her husband, Pender and Conor Cronin and his wife, Courtney; five grandchildren, Heather, Ryann, Colin, Farrell, and Tricia.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, Theresa (nee Farrell) Cronin and daughter-in-law, Nancy Jo Cronin.  Jerry is also survived by his sister, Betty Vail, sister-in-law, Margo Madonna, Conor’s mother, Joan (nee Howley) Cronin, his friend, Martha Millhouse and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jerry worked many years in industrial coatings for the Glidden Paint Company, retiring in the mid-eighties.  He went on to rep for Prime Leather in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Jerry then founded and operated Arizona Cottons, an apparel manufacturer in Tucson, Arizona.  He sold the company and retired for the final time in 2013.

Although Jerry lived in both Arizona and North Carolina, he remained a Midwesterner at heart, numbering many friends in Chicago and Milwaukee.

A talented competitive athlete, he enjoyed baseball, basketball and golf, but dedicated himself to handball and garnered twelve national titles in both singles (3) and doubles (9) being named a United States Handball Association Hall of Fame Grand Master.  Jerry won the world championship twice in singles and once in doubles.  He continued to support youth handball until his passing.

Jerry was proud to be among a small group of fellow Irishmen who guided Milwaukee Irish Fest from the idea stage to its inaugural event in 1981 and into the growing years.  Beginning in 1982, Jerry coordinated the athletic events that became an important part of the festival.  Today Milwaukee Irish Fest is the largest Irish music festival in the world.

Jerry’s character was formed during a challenging childhood in depression era Chicago.  When asked why he was enlisting in the army after he graduated from high school in 1947, he replied “I heard they feed you every day in the Army.”  The lessons of growing up wanting were never lost on him.  He valued financial security, but always remained exceedingly generous and fair-minded.

The family was blessed with extraordinary caregivers who helped during his struggle with vascular dementia.  A special thank you goes to Camille Steadley, David Bryant, Jane Harris, Camille Chaplin and Ousman Rilley for the love and respect they showed Jerry each day.  The family is also indebted to the staff at the Cypress of Charlotte for their many kindnesses as well as Hospice and Palliative Care Charlotte region for their compassion and guidance in Jerry’s last days.

Finally, the family is especially grateful to Charles Edwards, M.D. and the staff at Memory and Movement Charlotte as well as Lisa Nanovic, D.O. at Perspective Health & Wellness.  The caregivers of the chronically ill sometimes struggle to make their concerns heard.  That was never the case for our family.  We thank them.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Memorials may be made to Charlotte Neuroscience Foundation (dba Memory and Movement Charlotte), 300 Billingsley Road, Suite 108, Charlotte, NC 28211 ( or Fred Lewis Foundation for Youth Handball 10153 E. Arizmo Street Tucson, Arizona 85748 (

Jerry was truly moved by Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ quote. Dad gave his best effort to every endeavor, every day; whether it involved work, athletic competition or managing his final illness. He was a force to be reckoned with. More important, he was a seriously good guy.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204 (704) 641-7606.  Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Bill pender

    Privileged to have known such an outstanding man

  • Bill pender

    Privileged to have known such a man who garnered so much love from his family and friends

  • Mark Vail

    Uncle Jerry was my favorite extended relative. While I was stationed in Milwaukee during my enlistment, Jerry would appear unannounced to play racquetball. He tried to give me an opportunity for success playing left handed but it always was a total rout. We would go to lunch afterwards and engage in great conversations. He was a very intelligent, kind, and generous man. He always was looking to uplift the people he was present with and succeeded. The world will be a little colder without the warmth of his smile and kindness. God, give him rest in your presence.