James Cronin Sr.
James “Jimmy” Glen Cronin, Sr. was born on October 13, 1942. Jimmy, a lifelong Houstonian, attended Lanier Junior High and graduated from Lamar High School in 1961. While attending Lamar, Jimmy played football, ran track, and was an accomplished pole vaulter. Jimmy went on to study architecture and business at the University of Texas and the University of Houston.
During his time at Lamar, Jimmy met the love of his life, Jo Anne Buvens. After a five-year courtship, they married on June 4, 1965. On June 4, 2018, Jimmy and Jo Anne were blessed to celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary.
Jimmy was born with an artistic gift. As a young child he would patiently produce pencil drawings of buildings, homes, and wildlife, and eventually took up watercolor renderings. When he was 16, his maternal grandmother, “Granny,” gave him his first architectural book (Architecture: Five Thousand Years of Building by Joseph Watterson), not knowing that one day he would use it as a reference to create award-winning designs.
Jimmy did not use his artistic talents or architectural schooling in his early working years. Instead, he joined his family’s commercial diaper service, which provided baby linens to Houston area homes and most of the city’s major hospitals. From there, he moved on to various jobs selling oil field equipment and other industrial products.
While sitting on a beach in Ixtapa with best friends (including the friend who built the Cronin Family’s first pool a few years earlier), Jim realized his true passion –bringing a little bit of vacation paradise to people’s backyards. For nearly 35 years, Jimmy took pleasure in transforming homeowners’ back yards into their own personal paradises by designing and building unique swimming pools and fully integrated back yard experiences, winning national awards in the process.
Jimmy also was an avid participant in local community and business organizations (periodically serving as president of many), including Sugar Land Exchange, Sugar Land Kiwanis, Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, and Brazos BNI. Jimmy was an enthusiastic, dedicated, and hands-on volunteer for the Fort Bend ARC annual Oyster Eating Contest and the Western Dance. In his rare free time, he participated in arranging various group outings for the ARC residents to shop and interact in the community. Jimmy did not believe that just “being a member” of any organization was enough. He believed members should go the extra mile to participate in all areas to promote the organization’s goals, and he led by example.
Jimmy was always a gentleman, polite to everyone he encountered. He was a good husband and never let the romance fade from his marriage. He adored his four children and was so proud of the adults and parents they grew to be over the years. It gave him immense joy to know that they were happy in their marriages, that they had God in their lives, and they were secure in their goals going forward in life.
Jimmy was a devout Catholic. Every Tuesday morning from 2:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., Jimmy was at St. Laurence Catholic Church’s Chapel to sit for Adoration. One of his biggest regrets was that, when he was diagnosed with cancer, he was unable to continue with that ministry, because his condition and treatment made it impossible for him to guarantee his attendance every week.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents John and Jacqueline Cronin, and is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife, Jo Anne Buvens Cronin, their four children, Kimberly Fenner (husband, David), Glen Cronin (wife, Janna), Kirby Cronin (wife, Jill), and Tory Cronin (wife, Lorilei), and their twelve grandchildren: Trevor Fenner, Blayne Fenner, Alexis Ford, Kendall Wallace, Vendala Cronin, Danielle Cronin, Ashley Cronin, Kendall Cronin, Graesyn Cronin, Mackenzie Cronin, Blake Cronin, and Killian Cronin, and a great-grandson expected in late September. Jimmy is also survived by his brother, John “Johnny” Arthur Cronin, Jr., one niece, four nephews, and several beloved cousins.
While Jimmy is gone from this life, he will be remembered fondly by many for his sense of humor, his dogged work ethic, and his love of learning about and sharing history.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 am, Thursday, July 5th at St. Laurence Catholic Church, 3100 Sweetwater Boulevard, Sugar Land, Texas, 77479. There will be a private internment ceremony on a later date at Holy Cross Cemetery in Houston.
It was very important to Jimmy to sustain the church through youth participation. So, in lieu of flowers, the family asks that those wishing to do so, contribute to those youth programs by writing a check to St. Laurence Catholic Church, adding "Jim Cronin Youth Programs" in the memo line. Donation checks may be mailed to the church at the address above, to the attention "Jim Cronin Youth Programs." Envelopes will also be available at the service for anyone who wishes to contribute at that time.