Late Thomas Cronin remembered as talented speaker
THE building of the Grafton bridge, the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Moon landing, the 1972 Federal Election, Parramatta's four premierships.
The late Thomas Edward Cronin witnessed them all.
Born on November 8, 1922, he was the youngest son of Patrick and Mary Ann, never leaving the Clarence Valley for more than a holiday.
With a passion for rally car racing, he was well known around town as Leadfoot Cronin for a good reason.
He was also a competitive squash and tennis player.
After a blind date with a young nurse from Grafton Base Hospital, Mr Cronin later married Lillian and settled in to a new home on the family property at Carrs Creek, later known as Junction Hill.
They had three children Rowena (deceased), Shaun and Roxanne.
In 1966, Mr Cronin decided to begin a career in real estate, coming home one day from his job working at Car Sales Corner to inform Lillian he had bought a business.
For the next two decades he managed Tom Cronin's Town and Country, later becoming involved in politics and serving on the Copmanhurst Shire.
He was shire president for five years before he retired and he was also a member of the Clarence Valley County Council before gaining a seat on Grafton City Council.
He served as deputy mayor in the mid 1970s.
He was a vocal supporter of a flood wall for Grafton, just one of the many legacies he left Grafton from his time in local politics.
During the Federal Election of 1972, he stood for parliament as a Labor candidate for Cowper, narrowly missing out on a seat.
During this time, death threats were made against his family and the police stepped in, moving the family to another town until the dust settled.
In the 1980s Mr Cronin sold his business to begin a career in teaching real estate at Grafton TAFE.
He worked his farm and dedicated time to golf. It was a love/hate relationship and he played golf well into his 80s.
Retirement lasted only a few years and he restarted his real estate business.
Throughout his real estate career Mr Cronin also maintained the farm, grazing cattle and running the odd horse or two.
After retirement the second time, he continued playing his golf and nurturing his passion for writing short stories and bush poetry.
A keen member of Toastmasters, Mr Cronin also had a talent for public speaking and could always be counted on to be master of ceremonies, or to get up and present an off-the-cuff, speech.
He also had a keen sense of humour which was displayed in his writing as evidenced by his bush poem about a rooster that was mistakenly given Viagra.
Every school holidays the family would pack the car and tow a 22-foot van to exotic locations Lightning Ridge or Coonabarabran.
The exception was at Christmas where Mr Cronin and the family would set up the van at Broadbeach for a few weeks.
It was here that year after year the same families would turn up and lifelong friendships were made.
Mr Cronin will be remembered by his family as a kind and generous person who loved a joke.
He passed away on July 20 this year aged 91.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral service, to be held at St Mary's Catholic Church Grafton from 10am today.
The funeral will then proceed to the Clarence Lawn Cemetery.