[From Canon Anne Kitch]
The Feast of St. John
December 27, 2013
I write to share with you the news of the death of Marilyn Croneberger, wife of Bishop Jack Croneberger. Marilyn died the evening of December 26. She was surrounded by her entire family on Christmas Day.
The funeral will be Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 12 p.m. in Christ Episcopal Church, 435 Court St., Reading, PA 19601.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Neurological Institute of NY, 710 West 168th St., NY, NY, 10032.
Her obituary can be found here.
Please keep Bishop Jack and their children and grandchildren in your prayers.
May her rest be this day in peace, and her dwelling place in the Paradise of God.
The Rev. Anne E. Kitch
Canon to the Ordinary
Diocese of Bethlehem
333 Wyandotte St.
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Death in our diocesan family: Marilyn Ann Croneberger
It is with sadness that we share with you the news of the passing of Marilyn Ann Croneberger, wife of the Rt. Rev. John P. Croneberger, on Thursday, December 26. A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 12 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 435 Court St., Reading, PA 19601.
Marilyn loved life and was always a gracious and fun-loving hostess. She loved to dance, go antiquing, read, cook and made everything around her beautiful. She is remembered with great love and esteem here in the Diocese of Newark, where her husband served first as Rector of Church of the Atonement in Tenafly, and then as 9th Bishop of Newark until his retirement in 2007.
In addition to her husband, Marilyn is survived by daughter Amber and her husband Steven Brisk; daughter Judy and her husband Richard Innis; daughter Rebecca and her husband Stephen Smith; son Timothy J. Croneberger and his partner Glenn Finn; and daughter Jennifer L. Croneberger. She is also surivived by her nine grandchildren: Tyler (and his wife Bridget), Ryan, Sam, Jack, Luke, Palmer, Carey, Tommy, and Teo; her sisters Dorothy Nafus and Jackie Battle and her brother Richard Muehleisen; and many nieces and nephews.
She is predeceased by her parents, Edward and Mary (Edmonds) Muehleisen; two brothers, Eric Muehleisen and Carl Muehleisen; and her first husband, Clarence Carey.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Marilyn's name to the Neurological Institute of NY, 710 West 168th St., NY, NY, 10032 or online at www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/neurology.
Condolences may be sent to the Rt. Rev. John P. Croneberger at 1079 Old Bernville Road, Reading, PA 19605.
Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended.
When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death
we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.
Lord, grant eternal rest, forever in the radiance of your light.
The following reflection was given at Bishop Croneberger's retirement in January 2007:
Marilyn Croneberger has suffered for the last few years with a degenerative and progressive brain disease that has greatly limited her abilities to do things that most of us take for granted. As her illness has progressed, she has no longer been able to accompany the bishop to diocesan functions and parish visitations, nor has she been able to offer her considerable gifts in entertaining and hospitality as she had hoped she might be able to do as a bishop's wife. Marilyn was present at the farewell banquet, but she could not respond and offer thanks as she might have wished.
But Marilyn Croneberger's voice was heard at the banquet. The Rev. Diana Clark, Rector of St. John's in Montclair and friend and pastor to Marilyn, had been asked by Marilyn over a year ago to assist her in composing a letter to the diocese.
With Marilyn's permission, Diana read the letter to us. Marilyn spoke of her tremendous frustration and sorrow at not being able to serve others as she had anticipated when her husband became bishop. She was well-known for her gracious hospitality during the years that she and +Jack were at Church of the Atonement in Tenafly, and she had looked forward to offering her hospitality to many more people in the diocese. With her plans for ministry abruptly halted by her illness, Marilyn was confronted with questions that frighten all of us: What do I have to offer to God and others if I am no longer able to do what I did best? How can I possibly make a difference in people's lives if I have to constantly struggle with my own limitations and helplessness? How do I measure my own worth if I seem to have accomplished so little and have needed so much help? Of what use am I to anyone?
Of course, there are no easy answers to any of these questions, and Marilyn did not presume to answer them. Instead, by means of her letter, Marilyn was able to do that most difficult of priestly tasks: to stand with her people at the edge of the abyss, allowing them to face the source of their darkest fears. A good priest will never give her people false comfort, nor will she attempt to make them feel "better," as if that were even possible. Rather, like Marilyn, she will stand with them at the edge, much like the women who stood at the foot of the cross.
Marilyn Croneberger's gift for hospitality was never lost. Instead of inviting us into her home, she opened her heart to us, making it a safe place in which to face our fears and to experience the love of God which casts out all fear.