Annette Martin Cronin directed Special Events, organized Chicago’s first Humanities Open House
Annette Martin Cronin, a former Director of Special Events at the University, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease Sunday, June 26, at the Bernard Mitchell Hospital in Chicago. She was 71.
In 1979, while serving as Director of Special Events, Cronin organized the very first Humanities Open House. The free, daylong public forum of lectures, symposia and performances continues annually to provide University visitors with an opportunity to learn from many of the University’s most distinguished scholars in the Division of the Humanities. This year, the University celebrated its 25th Humanities Open House.
Cronin’s support of her husband, University physicist James Cronin, sustained him during difficult times in the laboratory. James Cronin’s scientific quest culminated in his sharing the 1980 Nobel Prize in physics, and he shared these words about his wife in his Nobel acceptance remarks: “On even the worst days, when nothing was working in the lab, I knew that at home I would find warmth, peace, companionship and encouragement. As a consequence, the next day would surely be better.”
Mrs. Cronin inherited the artistic temperament of her father, David Martin, a Scottish immigrant who was a carpenter, illustrator and an artisan. A painter and a pianist, Mrs. Cronin painted still lifes and landscapes in oils and pastels in the Swiss decorative style, and many of her murals adorned the walls of the Cronin home in rural Wisconsin. She also played piano, often performing the musical compositions of Schubert and Debussy.
Mrs. Cronin was born March 18, 1934, on Chicago’s northwest side. She attended Wright Junior College for two years and then transferred to the University, where she studied English and met her future husband, James Cronin. They married on Sept. 11, 1954. She discontinued her studies to raise a family, and later completed her bachelor’s degree at Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1977. She also earned an A.M. in Social Sciences from Chicago in 1988. She joined the University’s Special Events staff in 1978, serving as its director from 1980 to 1982.
Mrs. Cronin is survived by her husband, James, Chicago; two daughters: Cathryn Cranston, Chappaqua, N.Y., and Emily Grothe, Stillwater, Minn.; and a son, Daniel Cronin, Los Angeles; a brother, John Martin, Evanston, Ill.; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, July 22, in Bond Chapel on the University campus. A reception will follow in Swift Hall.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in memory of Mrs. Cronin to the Division of the Humanities. Gifts should be sent to Mary Jean Kraybill, Division of the Humanities, University of Chicago, 1115 E. 58th St., Room 213E, Chicago, Ill. 60637.