William Francis (Bill) Cronin 1936-2013
Bill Cronin, a man of great faith, but also practicality, was one of those dedicated parents who shared the vision of a Catholic school in Gore and was prepared to get stuck in and help to make it happen. His connections with the school went back to its earliest days when it existed only as a planned boys’ school for the area. One of his diary entries from August 1959 says….
“At night went to a boys’ school meeting in Gore. Hot meeting.”
All of Bill Cronin’s six children went on to attend St Peter’s College once it was built. Angela, Kathryn, Leanne, Michael, Sean and Justin were in school from the 1970s to the 1990s. It was a long day for his children travelling in to St Peter’s as day pupils, leaving home around 7.30 in the morning and returning home after five, especially in winter weather.
Bill attended St Mary’s in Gore and then went on to St Kevin’s College at Oamaru, where he shone at rugby. In his first job on a farm at Balfour, the long hours instilled in him a remarkable work ethic. Later, Bill and his family lived out of town on a farm at Conical Hill near Waipahi and while in the earliest days, he had been involved in planning for the school, in 1969 he drove his digger into Gore to dig and lay drains on land that was to be the school playing fields. He was also involved in running the School Fair and used to sell Tombola tickets with Brother Ted. He had a long and eventful career in farming and after retiring, gave many hours to various charitable causes.
Bill was very proud of this Irish heritage and in his later years wrote a book about his life. In his eulogy, his daughter Kathryn said that he taught by example about work ethic, loyalty, honesty, selflessness, kindness, compassion and humility.
Bill died at Resthaven, Gore on 1st February 2013.