Patrick “Pastor Pat” Michael Cronin died Dec. 4 after a massive heart attack while driving he and his wife home from the airport.
Cronin has been the pastor at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro for more than 20 years. He and his wife, Brenda, had just arrived in town after a trip and were driving home when Cronin had a heart attack at the wheel of the car and drove off the road. She was able to grab the steering wheel and was not injured.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thurs., Dec. 8 at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church. The family will receive friends from 4-8 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 7 at the church.
“He’s been a real good friend,” said Rob Miller, Friendly Avenue’s minister of music and worship, in an interview with Fox 8 Greensboro. “I've lost a good friend and our church is obviously hurting right now, but what we find is that the Lord has given us strength to get through it, and we feel like we will.”
The church’s Wednesday activities are cancelled except for the visitation, and the church is planning a combined service Dec. 11. The church also plans to continue a ministry this weekend encouraged by Cronin – the living Christmas tree.
It was Cronin’s idea to move the Christmas tree made up of the church choir to Four Seasons Town Centre. The tree has been hosted at the church for 14 years. Miller was at the mall in the early morning hours Sunday setting up the tree when he and their crew received news about the pastor’s death.
“Our goal is to share the love of Christ to people at the mall while they are shopping, and we think we can do that better through song than any other way," Miller said. "It was his idea to come here. For us to not to, it in a sense it would be to dishonor him."
Performances will be Dec. 9-11. Friday’s shows begin at 6:30, 7:15 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s shows begin at 3, 3:45 and 4:30 p.m. Shows will run every 45 minutes and last 25 minutes.
A New York native, Cronin apprenticed as an iron worker before being called to ministry.
Cronin earned bachelor’s degrees in biblical education and religion at Florida Bible College and Palm Beach Atlantic University. He received a master’s of divinity degree in pastoral studies from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a doctor of ministry in pastoral leadership from Denver Seminary.
Cronin was ordained in 1979 at Sheridan Hills Baptist Church, Hollywood, Fla., where he served as minister of youth. He pastored Gardens Baptist Church, Hollywood, Fla., Sunnyside Baptist Church, Shepherdsville, Ky., First Baptist Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Friendly Avenue Baptist Church, Greensboro, since 1995.
He is survived by his wife, Brenda, and his children Ryan Patrick (Daren) Cronin, Timothy Brenin Cronin and Erin Elizabeth Cronin; two grandsons; four brothers, Thomas Cronin of Mineola, N.Y., Michael Cronin of Malverne, N.Y., Peter Cronin of Boca Raton, Fla., and Sean Cronin of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; and two sisters, Peggy Hannan of Malverne, N.Y., and Marian Cronin, Lynbrook, N.Y.
Memorials to the Friendly Avenue Baptist Church Building Fund, 4800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro, NC 27410.