Matthew J. Cronin, 87, attorney, longtime Nassau Democratic activist
Matthew J. Cronin, an attorney, longtime Democratic activist in Nassau County and a World War II Navy veteran from Manhasset, died on July 4 from complications of a stroke he suffered in 2010. He was 87.
Cronin was married to Patricia Egan -- a former Democratic state committeewoman -- for 61 years before she died in 2012. The two were steeped in Long Island politics, their daughter Laureen Harris said.
Cronin was head of the Democratic Party in Manhasset in the 1960s before joining the board of assessors under then-Nassau County Executive Eugene Nickerson, Harris said.
Upon completing his time on the board, Cronin founded his own tax certiorari law firm based in Mineola, Cronin, Cronin, Harris & O'Brien, P.C., now located in Uniondale.
"The harder you work, the luckier you get," was Cronin's favorite motto, Harris said.
Cronin and his wife, known as "Pat and Matt" to close friends and family, lived in Manhasset since 1958. Harris said her father worked hard to support his family, after watching his dad overcome obstacles such as being orphaned at age 2.
"He didn't come from money," Harris said of her father. "These people were members of the greatest generation and we must remember the lessons of what they lived."
Inspired by his father's service in World War I and subsequent devotion to veterans' rights, Cronin skipped his last year of high school and enlisted in the Navy in 1945 at 17, according to Harris, 55, of Manhasset.
Originally from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, Cronin spent his time in the military aboard the USS Webster in the Pacific Ocean. Upon his return, he attended St. John's University, where he met his wife in their freshman English class, Harris said. Again following in his father's footsteps, Cronin went on to earn his law degree from St. John's and was admitted to the bar in 1951.
Harris and her father practiced law together for the past two decades until Cronin suffered a stroke in 2010. A short time after the stroke, Cronin continued to assist as a retired attorney at the firm, she said.
After his stroke, doctors gave him just about 18 months to live, Harris said.
"He was full of so much vigor and fight. It's just a huge loss," Harris said.
Harris said she and her siblings were "extraordinarily lucky" to have had a father like Cronin, who consistently told his family "to concentrate on being grateful," she said.
In addition to Harris, he is survived by three other children; Lynn Cronin of Manhattan, Brad Cronin of Manhasset and Valerie Wiblishauser of Dix Hills; 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Services for Cronin were held Tuesday at Fairchild Sons Funeral Chapel and the Church of St. Peter of Alcantara in Port Washington.
He was buried Wednesday at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.