Last Thursday, August 4th, a great soldier of the cross laid down his earthly duties to take a final step toward his crown of victory. Jack Cronk, Sr. was accurately described by Jackie Stearsman as one who “wholly served” God.
Whether it was serving his God, family, church, or country he was a man who could be depended upon. His godly loyalty and integrity are just a few marks in his character that touched so many thousands of lives in a powerful way.
Jack loved his family. We have watched his tireless care for Bonnie, his wife of 68 years, even as his health weakened, his spirit was always willing. Jackie mentioned in the memorial service that you didn’t just think of Jack, it was always “Jack and Bonnie.” He was a strong leader of his home. His children, grandchildren, and even five great-grandchildren have countless stories recalling his love, devotion, and leadership he offered his family. For many years, as a congregation, we have been blessed to have his son, Jack Cronk, Jr. serving as a deacon at MJ. He and his wife, Nanette, have carried on the work of the Lord for another generation in this family. And they have passed it on too! The spiritual heritage on which this family walks is solid and well laid.
Jack Sr. had served as an elder for over 30 years in the Lord’s church. He also served for ten years on the Board of Directors of the Florida School of Preaching. He truly loved the church and was a friend to preachers. I cannot begin to count the number of times he complimented me in an effort to encourage me. Other times he gently instructed me. At times he would visit in person or by phone to discuss a passage he was enjoying. My life and ministry was blessed by this servant of God.
Jack was originally from Detroit, Michigan. As a young man he served in the U. S. Army in World War II. After the military he made a living in sales, real estate brokering, and housing development.
We would often see the tender heart of this great soldier as he played music and sang in nursing homes and selflessly served at VBS. A few years ago when he was nearly 90 years old he completed a post-VBS evaluation form. “I had a great time. I love the youngsters.” And about his willingness to serve next year and in what area he wanted to help, he said, “Lord willing, I will again spend 5 days doing whatever you need me to do. I usually ask for a job ‘no one else wants to do’ and that will be just fine by me. Thanks for the opportunity to help in VBS.” His love for children and selfless service reminds me of our Lord.
We are going to greatly miss Jack’s smile, quick wit, and multiple talents. The children will miss his Tic Tacs, his peers will miss his great comments in Bible class, and fellow servants will miss his help in jail ministry, VBS, and door knocking, only to name a few. Simply speaking from the heart, “We are going to miss a good friend.”
By faith I believe the man who years ago sat in meetings with the President of the United States will soon take a seat by the side of the Almighty King and Creator!