By Jennifer Krisch
An admired and popular retired English professor, Father Francis "Frank" Cronin, died Aug. 2 after a short illness at his home in Shadyside. But not before leaving an indelible mark on Ohio University and Athens residents.
Cronin, 78, was already an ordained priest when he joined Ohio University in 1966, eventually becoming a tenured professor and teaching for 34 years. In addition to teaching, Cronin also served as a counselor in the campus ministry, as a parish priest assigned to Christ the King University Parish and as the director of the Catholic Student Center. Cronin also served as an administrator for Christ the King and assistant pastor of St. Paul's Church, both of Athens.
After retiring from the university in 2000, Cronin returned to the ministry, serving as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Shadyside and at St. John Vianney Parish in Powhatan Point for the Diocese of Steubenville.
Marilyn Atlas, associate professor of American Literature, said Cronin was "consistently kind" and that she will always remember him.
"Some of you may not know Father Frank Cronin," she wrote to colleagues in an email. "He was a dear man, kind to the bone and blessed us each and all every time he saw us. I just wanted those of you who didn't know him to know that goodness walked among us."
Jane Denbow, assistant professor of English, agreed.
"I was his student before being a colleague and I can attest that he was kind and caring to students as well," she said. "Frank's positive attitude and kindness always brought an uplifting feeling to Ellis Hall. He was an inspiring professor and was passionate about his subject."
Funeral services were held last week in Shadyside and interment will be in Highland Cemetery in his hometown of Dover, Mass.
Locally, Cronin will be remembered during 10:30 a.m. mass on Sunday, Aug. 16, at Christ the King University Parish on Stewart St. Those with fond memories of Father Cronin can send remembrances to Father Martin Holler, pastor of Christ the King University Parish, firstname.lastname@example.org, to be included in a booklet for the memorial service.