Grover J. Cronin III
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Gloucester - Grover J. Cronin III, husband of Catherine "Kate" (Hanlon) Cronin passed away peacefully on January 29, 2020.
He was born in Guilford, CT on June 13, 1947 to the late Grover J. and Jane Ganey Cronin.
Grover grew up in Pelham, NY, and was a graduate of The Canterbury School Class of 1965. He attended the University of Pennsylvania on an ROTC scholarship and graduated from The Wharton School in 1969. While attending Penn, he was an active member of an Iota chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, and served as the president. He was a member of and captained the swimming and diving team. He also enjoyed his role as a stage manager for the Penn Players theatre group. After graduating he completed his 4 years of service with the United States Navy. He served as a lieutenant and was a Certified Officer Of The Deck while serving with the Beachmasters. When he had completed his naval service, he moved to Gloucester where he met and married the love of his life, Kate. Grover worked for years in inside sales for the Limitorque Company. He thoroughly enjoyed building business relationships and working in this field.
Grover had a passion for sports and loved teaching and coaching children of all ages. Grover started the youth swimming and diving program at the Cape Ann YMCA and continued coaching diving there for 40 years. He coached hundreds of children throughout the years, helping many to earn scholarships to college and some of his divers even qualified to go to YMCA nationals. He was considered to be the best diving coach north of Boston, and was the head diving coach for Salem State University. He was also the diving coach for Bishop Fenwick High School, Peabody High School, Manchester Essex Regional High School, and several others.
Grover was an active member of Holy Family Parish and served as a Catechist for 30 years. He was devout in his faith and felt it was important to share that with the youth of Cape Ann.
Grover is survived by his wife of 44 years, Kate; a daughter, Catherine Mazzeo and her husband John of Rockport; grandchildren, Eliza, Rocco and Leo Mazzeo all of Rockport; siblings, Jane Donnelly of Lumberton, NJ, Helen Cronin of Westerly, RI, Matthew Cronin and his wife, Dr. Lacey Washington of Durham, NC, Hannah Balliet and her husband, Claude of New Rochelle, NY; his brother-in-law, Michael T. Hanlon of Boynton Beach, Fla. as well as beloved nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his son, Peter J. Cronin.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Ann's Church, Holy Family Parish on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. The burial will follow in Seaside Cemetery, Gloucester.
Visiting hours in the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester will be held on Tuesday, February 4, from 4 to 7 p.m.
For online condolences, please visit
Published on February 1, 2020


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Bob Lay
Mar 18, 2020
I was a friend and fraternity brother of Grover at Penn. Grover, Bill Howard and I were a trio of underclassmen that had many adventures together. It is sad that we lost connection. He is missed.
Marcia Hart
Feb 17, 2020
Today is the 17th of February and I have just learned that Grover died. I'm so sorry I missed his funeral and the opportunity to tell you in person how sorry I am that he died. I loved reading his obituary and remembering the time we both spent on the diving team in Pelham. I was always happy to run into him occasionally around town in Gloucester. He was such a benevolent soul. Sending love to you all, I'm very sorry for your loss.
David J. Winter
Feb 08, 2020
After the initial shock of the saddest news I have heard in many, many years, I now find myself thinking about Grover all the time. I knew him for over fifty-three years. He was, I think, the only athlete in our fraternity (Phi Kappa Psi), and being a lousy athlete myself, and in a full-length leg brace at the time, I didn't get to know him very well at first. This is partly that we were in different Colleges at Penn: I was in the College of Arts and Sciences, and he was in the Wharton School of Business Undergraduate Program. Those of us in the College were somewhat snotty towards the "Whartonies" as we called them, because many of the ones we knew were sons of extremely wealthy, and were intellectually a bit limited compared to the rest of us. On campus I quickly learned that the Wharton Undergraduate Program had a reputation for being a repository for the spoiled, ignorant sons of great wealth, who could find in that program easy, semi-mindless "gut" courses which would get them the Ivy League diploma and connections their fathers wanted to buy for them. So at first, to me, Grover was a jock and a Whartoni, two types unlikely to interest me. After all, I was a snotty nineteen-year-old. However, as I got into sophomore and junior years, I began to realize that my assumptions about Grover Cronin were in need of some revision.
The first hint came quite early, in my freshman year, as a fraternity pledge. I really wanted to fit in, as most immature nineteen-year-old snots do, and, having been fed on glorious tales of atrocities (mostly ours) and wars between us and the fraternity house next door; I noticed that they, the despised "Zips" as we called them, had parked a motorcycle on our property, behind our house. So I gallantly climbed upstairs with a pitcher of lemonade and courageously poured most of it onto the head of the next "Zip" who climbed onto the motorcycle. I went back downstairs, slightly puffed up with pride of accomplishment, just in time to see three or four of them, including my victim, charge into our house in a roaring fury. Then I got scared: these were large, athletic young men, as angry as hell, and I was a cripple. One or two of our own upperclassmen were there absorbing this rage, including Grover, who was then a sophomore. The victim was roaring "One of you assholes poured water on me!" Grover walked up to him, reached out and wiped two fingers on the guy's jacket, licked his fingers, and said, calmly, "No, it's lemonade." I stood in astonished silence, our guys started laughing, and after a few more curses, the indignant ones left the building.
As time went on I began to realize more about Grove. He wasn't a rich asshole, he came from a family of seven, and his father was a college professor, like mine, and he didn't get bought into Penn. He was there on a scholarship, like me. His was from the United States Navy. More important, he was intelligent, and had a fine sense of humor. He would even bust out laughing when you made him the butt of the joke. I used to call him a "turkey" just to hear him laugh! He had a girlfriend then, to whom he was loyal and true, and the stench of the pile of laundry on the floor of his room was the stuff of comic legend.
At the end of my Junior year, Grover was set to graduate, and go straight into the Navy as an officer. This was 1969, and the war in Viet Nam had already killed a lot of people. By this time, Grover and I were good friends. Near his last night as a midshipman was the ROTC's formal Military Ball for the new officers of the Army, Navy, and Marines. The Air Force may have been there too, but I don't remember. Grover invited me as one of his guests. Jokingly I made the preposterous suggestion that I should go in the full-dress uniform of a Piper of the British Army's Royal Highland Regiment, the Black Watch, which, being a piper, I happened to have as a result of a recent visit to their Regimental Tailors in Edinburgh. To my astonishment, Grover insisted that I do so, masquerading as the real thing, Scottish accent and all. I thought, this could be dangerous, but, what the hell, I don't think they can shoot me, so, I did. Now, a Highland Regimental full-dress uniform is truly a thing of breathtaking splendor. I came into that cotillion in a bright red, Royal Stewart, nine-yard kilt, full shoulder plaid in the same tartan diagonally wrapped all round the body, bottle-green piper's tunic with glowing brass buttons, four-inch wide polished black leather waist and diagonal shoulder belts, both with huge shining silver buckles, black and white diced hose with garter flashes and a wee jeweled knife in the sock, and white spats. When I came in the door it must have looked like a Chrismas tree, on the march. And, to top it off, I wore the two-foot high black ostrich-feather bonnet with a red hackle. The first brand-new lieutenants to see me snapped to attention and asked, "Should we salute you, sir?" "Not at all," I replied, in my best Scots burr. "Ah'm only a puir piper, that's a private's rank." Then Grover came over and calmly introduced me to the Commanding Officer of the whole damn thing, a Navy Captain, equivalent to a full-bird colonel in the other branches. I was nervous as hell, I was thinking, Jesus, if they find me out they'll court-martial Grover and hang him from the masthead, but Cronin never turned a hair. Fortified with drink, I spent the next half hour listening to the captain tell me how much he admired the traditions we had in the British Army. Since I wasn't all that well up on those, I changed the subject and commiserated with him "aboot a' the trouble ye Amerricans were havin' over there in that Viet Nam." Grove and I both escaped the gallows, and not for the last time.
Before commencement, the Naval ROTC gives its graduates the opportunity to receive their officer's commission in either the Navy or the Marine Corps. In pursuit of volunteers, the top Marine commander summoned Midshipman Cronin to his office. Major Deutschlander looked every bit the way you might expect: a puffy, beef-red drinker's face and a gut that looked like he'd swallowed a medicine ball, with the medicine still in it. "Cronin" he barked, "You wanna be a Marine?" Grover answered politely, "No thank you, Sir." "Whaddya mean, Cronin," he bellowed, "you DON'T wanna be a Marine?" Grover replied, "A guy could get himself very seriously killed being a Marine, sir." Grover joined the United States Navy.
Grover J. Cronin served four years in the Navy, and for about the last two of them he volunteered and served in the Navy's Beachmasters. For those who don't know, the Beachmasters' job is to go ashore before the marines. They're not heavily armed, and they go in alone, under fire: they are the very first American troops onto any enemy-held beach. They have to be there to mark the landing zones and direct the incoming landing craft. And, as Grover said, "to show the Marines which way is inland." He wasn't frightened in the least, he just wanted to be a Navy guy.
While he and his ship were berthed at Coronado, California, I went down there with my girlfriend to visit him. He feasted us on abalone, very good, and C-rations, a very cool experience, once, and, being busy the next day he directed us to a particular beach. So, the following morning, we put on our bathing suits and lay out on the sand on this pristine beach which we had entirely to ourselves. Suddenly, out to sea, from a big ship offshore, I saw U.S. Marine Corps landing craft heading towards us. One after another these boats drove up on the sand right next to us and disgorged about two dozen men in combat fatigues. It was Lieutenant J.G. Grover J. Cronin with his beachmaster unit! He'd staged an invasion, just for us.
I do want to also tell you what I thought, and think, of this man. I believe some of the above tales show how irreverent he could be in the presence of show and bluster. Grover really enjoyed good-quality B.S., but if it wasn't, trying to get him to take it seriously was a losing game.
His years of work with kids teaching and training them in the difficult nuances of competition diving are a matter of record, and I believe his kids experienced a lot of joy and success, in Gloucester, and down the Eastern Seaboard. He was a bloody good all-round athlete, too, not for beating people, but for the joy he found in seeking excellence in the play of the game. I remember once when he was challenged to a foot race with a very athletic young lady. (I think her husband Christopher laid down the challenge. Chris would do that sort of thing.) I watched the race, they really went for it, and she looked like Artemis chasing a deer, only faster. She was really something! But Grover won. He didn't say a thing. Years later, on a hot day on a dessicated golf course somewhere in Essex, where I was hitting beautiful ninety-degree slices, I saw him hit shot after shot that damn near made me whistle. He beat me, and our friend Chris on every hole, but he never said a word about it. He had so much integrity inside him that he never needed to put another person down in order to feel better. He genuinely wanted the people around him to be happy! In all those fifty-three years that I knew this good man, and drank with him, and sang with him, and avoided arrest with him, I swear to you by Almighty God, I never once heard Grover Cronin say a negative thing about another living human being. As I write this (particularly in light of my own record) I find it hard to believe it myself, but it really is the literal truth. I truly loved this guy, my true friend, and I know it certain sure.
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Sheila (Caisey) and Wally Durkin
Feb 04, 2020
We grew up in Waltham, MA with fond memories of Grover Cronin's elegant department store. Now here we are living in Gloucester, MA hearing and reading more of the good Cronin Family. Condolences to all of you. God Bless
Maureen Vallis
Feb 01, 2020
Dear Katie,
I know how you felt about your Dad, he was your hero, your rock.
I’m truly sad when I think of how much your Dad will miss him. He left a legacy in you.
Whisper to him every day, knowing that he is still nearby.
The Vallis’ all love you and are thinking about you.
God bless you, John and beautiful family.