Gary M Cronce

February 2nd, 1943 to March 30th, 2019

“Good ol’ reliable rock.” His signature roshambo move was an apt descriptor for the life that Gary lived. He was a quiet, dedicated, and steady presence that calmed and reassured us all. Gary “GareDog” Cronce left this earth on March 30, 2019 at the age of 76

He was born on Groundhog Day in 1943 to Jean and Grant Cronce, who preceded him in death. Gary leaves behind Joey, his wife and true partner of more than 50 years, as well as his proudest accomplishments: Amy (Keith) Collins, Rob (Tami) Cronce, and Chris (Wendy) Cronce. He will be dearly missed by his grandchildren: Sydney and Nick Collins; Paige and Cameron Cronce; and Megan, Matthew and Mason Cronce. Gary is also survived by his sisters, Kris (Jack) Brahmer, and Carolyn (Jack) Armstrong, as well as his sister-in-law, Maryann (Rory) Bens. His “Dad” identity extended far beyond his biological family, particularly in the special bond he shared with Jenni, Dan and Connor Kilbourne.

In 2009, Gary retired from Advanced Accessory Systems after a 37-year career as an Engineer and Project Manager. He then embarked on his second career as a devoted and very involved Grandpa. When his grandchildren were babies, he had the uncanny ability to soothe them into sleep within minutes. As they grew, he shuttled them to sports practices, music lessons, and play rehearsals. Always their Number One Fan, he was an enthusiastic audience member through even the longest concerts and some truly dreadful theatrical productions.

Gary travelled through life in an unassuming way that belied his talents and brilliance. Evidence of his mechanical skill was obvious in his ability to tackle any construction project from simple repairs to building rooms, and “helping” his grandsons create pinewood derby cars. During his tenure as President of the Roosevelt School Parent Teacher Association, Gary constructed haunted houses and carnival booths while building lifelong friendships. As the inventor on 19 patents, it was clear that he was smart. In his assertions that he did not know how to operate the dishwasher or washing machine, we also know that he was extremely savvy. GareDog enjoyed the game of golf, and even scored two holes in one within a week, but his true pleasure was in playing with his family and friends. He loved laughter, poker games, and University of Michigan football (Go Blue!), but by far, his greatest joy was his family. In the role of Dad and Grandpa, he rarely raised his voice, but the downcast shake of his head that signaled disappointment was far worse than any reprimand or punishment he could possibly bestow. Gary was unfailingly generous to all with his time and energy. Perhaps his way of being in the world is best reflected in the simple poem he always carried in his wallet:

A bell is no bell till you ring it.

A song is no song till you sing it.

And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay.

Love isn’t love till you give it away.

Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2019 in the Karrer-Simpson Funeral Home and from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday, April 5th in the Church. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 5th in the Holy Trinity Parish - St. Stephen Catholic Church. The Very Rev. Salvatore Palazzolo KHS will officiate.

To honor his life, just do the right thing, even when it is hard. Stay humble. Remain calm. Give all of your love away. Seriously, all of it. The family requests memorials be made to the Society of St. Vincent De Paul, the Blue Water Area Humane Society, or Blue Water Hospice. To send condolences, please visit

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