December 27, 1931 – November 24, 2021
Polly Ann Cronin went to be with her Lord and Savior on November 24, 2021. She was born on December 27, 1931 to Arthur and Zella Munson in Cozad, Nebraska and was the youngest of 3 girls. She was a woman who had a love of God, her family and friends, music and of service to others.
Born and raised in Cozad, Polly was born on the same day as her maternal grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary, so it was a very special day for the entire family. Her family had a great love of music, and everyone played an instrument: Arthur played the violin, Zella the piano, her oldest sister Robyn the clarinet, cello and piano, and her other sister Cleda the piano. With this love of music, it seemed destined that Polly too would learn an instrument, which by choice was the piano.
Polly began taking lessons at the age of 4, and had a talent for being able to sight read well. Her piano teacher noticed her talent and spent extra time with Polly teaching her music theory and doing ear training. By her early teens she was the organist at her hometown church and accompanied the choir at her school, along with numerous small groups and soloists.
Surprisingly, when deciding on a major for college Polly chose Science, applying and being accepted to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder. Polly was at CU for 2 years and realized she missed music, so she changed her major. Having done so, Polly eventually transferred to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa her junior year.
While working on her bachelor's degree, Polly came to Greeley, Colorado to attend Colorado State College of Education (now known as U.N.C) and took master level classes in music theory. Upon graduation from Drake, Polly decided it was time to try out her knowledge and began teaching at a very small school in Iowa, teaching vocal music to K-12 along with Junior and Senior English. Polly also began giving piano lessons and really enjoyed that, so she decided to get her Master's Degree to hopefully get a position which would require teaching piano and perhaps theory. Having already been to Greeley, Polly returned in the summer of 1956 to begin work on her Master's. To support herself, Polly began working as a dorm director, first in Gordon Hall and later on in Wilson Hall when it was opened.
Polly completed her degree and took some doctorate classes before returning home to Cozad. While there, the minister of the First Congregational Church called Polly wondering if she would be interested in the organist position there (she had substituted once for the organist). After discussing it with her parent's, Polly accepted the position and returned to Greeley.
Since the organist position was only part time, Polly began giving piano lessons and also found a job as a hostess/waitress at the Camfield Hotel Restaurant. It was while working at the Camfield that a handsome young gentleman (who Polly said was also a big tipper) began to stop in regularly at lunch time - his name was John Cronin. Polly and John started dating and on May 25, 1959, they were married in Farr Chapel at First Congregational Church.
Polly and John bought their first house together in the south Greeley neighborhood of Hillside and began to raise a family. Polly enjoyed raising the children, but once the youngest turned 10, Polly went to work part time at the U.N.C. Music Library, where she would be for over 18 years.
Polly continued playing the organ at the church while also giving piano lessons, accompanying the Greeley Chorale, playing with other church choirs, and playing for literally hundreds of memorial services and weddings. The family also hosted numerous exchange students over the years, exposing their children to other cultures. Once all of the children had left home, Polly and John had a new house built in the Villa Serena neighborhood in northwest Greeley and relocated there in 1997.
Polly eventually retired as the church organist after 35 years, where she and John found time to pursue numerous interests, especially volunteering. Polly and John attended a Clown College in Florida, learning all about make-up and performing, which they did for years entertaining patient's at North Colorado Medical Center. In addition to clowning at the hospital, they volunteered for many years assisting in the records department. Polly and John were also very involved with the church, the last of which was selecting and raising monies for the organ that now graces the sanctuary. Polly was also a member of P.E.O. EZ and of Fortnightly Musical Club in Greeley.
Polly and John also loved to travel, having visited many places both here in the states and abroad. Polly also spent many years working on the family genealogy, which brought her many hours of enjoyment researching the history of both her and John's families.
Sadly, John passed in January of 2021, and Polly's health necessitated her being placed in memory care, so Polly moved to Windsong @ Northridge where she resided until her death.
Polly was preceded in death by her beloved husband John Cronin, her parent's Arthur and Zella Munson and Della Cronin, her sisters Robyn Johnson and Cleda Russell, her sisters-in-law Irene Jeffries, Mary Tracy, Nora Walentine, Della Rounds, Loretta Emal, Edna Kramer and Vivian Phillips, her brothers-in-law J.R. Johnson, Earle Russell, Ralph Grogan, James Cronin, David Cronin, Lawrence Cronin and Richard Cronin, and her nephews John and James Russell. She was also preceded in death by her infant son, Mark.
Polly is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Cheryl and Mark Larsen, her son and daughter-in-law Brian and Jennifer Cronin, her daughter Melinda Cronin, her son and daughter-in-law Eric and Crystal Cronin, her nieces Sharon Russell and Susan Waller, and nephews Richard Russell and Michael Johnson. Lastly, Polly was a proud Grandma to her 2 grandsons, Brice Cronin (Brian & Jennifer) and David Cronin (Eric and Crystal).
A memorial service will be held for Polly at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate in Polly's name to any of the following: First Congregational Church, UNC Music Library, Alzheimer's Association, American Heart Association, Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation or your charity of choice in Polly's name.