Myron A. Cronhardt, 98, led active life in retirement


Myron A. Cronhardt wasn't content to sit in a rocking chair and watch the world go by as he grew older.

Instead, he went hot air ballooning, cruised the Mississippi aboard a steamboat and renewed his driver's license, all when he was past 90.

Mr. Cronhardt, a retired Standard Oil Co. employee and state Senate assistant journal clerk, died Sunday of respiratory failure at Cherrywood Manor Extended Care Center in Reisterstown. He was 98.

"He just wanted to do these things; it was nothing special, really," said Susan Douglas, a granddaughter who lives in Owings Mills. "At least he didn't think so. He was interested in everything and not afraid of anything."

Mr. Cronhardt, known as "Mac" from his three initials, was born on his family's Chestnut Ridge farm near Lutherville and lived his entire life there until entering the nursing home in July.

The farm has been inhabited by Cronhardts continually since 1870.

"He and his two brothers, who all lived into their 90s and are now deceased, lived on Chestnut Ridge within sight of one another for all those years," said the granddaughter. "They were all hearty.

"He was early up and early to bed and didn't smoke, drink or curse," said Mrs. Douglas, who attributed her grandfather's longevity to not eating eggs and cheese but "plenty of ice cream."

He enjoyed gardening, and sold vegetables, fruits and flowers with his brothers for many years from a roadside stand on Green Spring Avenue.

"He was still cutting 5 acres of grass with his tractor until he was well into his 90s," said Mrs. Douglas, "and renewed his driver's license when he was 95."

He attended school in a one-room schoolhouse and helped work the family farm before attending a local business school. The value of education was to become a constant theme throughout his life.

"He was an advocate for getting the best education possible and saw great value in education. He insisted that all of his children go to college and they did, all becoming Baltimore County school teachers," Mrs. Douglas said.

He spent 39 years working in fleet operations for Standard Oil Co. both in Baltimore, and during World War II in Philadelphia.

He retired in 1962, got tired of retirement and was appointed Maryland Senate's assistant journal clerk in 1968, a position he held until retiring a second time in 1978.

"We sat alongside one another all of those years in the chamber keeping track of what the Senate did each day for the Maryland State Senate Journal," said Gary Gray, journal clerk since 1968.

"He was an energetic man who was a real asset to the office and well-liked by all the legislators."

A Civil War buff because an uncle had served in the Union Navy, Mr. Cronhardt collected books and enjoyed visiting Civil War battlefields.

He was a member of the Baltimore County Historical Society, Maryland Steam Historical Society and Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Department.

He also was a member of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lutherville, Mount Moriah Lodge A.F. & A.M. and the Boumi Temple.

He was married in 1923 to the former Eva Forwood, who died in 1960.

Services are set for 11 a.m. today at the Eckhardt Funeral Chapel, 11605 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills.

He is survived by a son, Robert S. Cronhardt of Rogue River, Ore.; three daughters, Bessie C. Lippy and Ellen M. Cronhardt, both of Lutherville, and Ruth C. Sedicum of Owings Mills; five grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 10616 Beaver Dam Road, Hunt Valley 21030.

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