Paul Cronin

Ya never know!

                              PAUL CRONIN WINS 2011 KATE BUCKMAN AWARD

 Congratulations to Paul Cronin, the 2011 winner of The Kate Buckman Award. This award is presented annually to the person in Unit 166 “who adds most to others’ enjoyment of the game of bridge”. This award is named in honour of the late Kate Buckman who started and ran the highly-successful Kate Buckman Bridge Studio for many years.

 We asked Paul about his early bridge career. “My first experiences with bridge were the wonderful games at “Kate’s” in the early 1960’s with bridge stars like Eric Murray and Sami Kehela in attendance, male players in jackets and ties, and everything directed by the ever-so elegant hand of Kate herself. It was while playing there one evening that I received a telephone call from the principal of Port Colborne High School offering me the mathematics headship. Those being simpler days, I just said, “Yes”, and thus began my forty-seven year sojourn in the Niagara Peninsula. It was here in Niagara that I had the good fortune to meet my future bridge partner, George Morrissey, from whom I learned much about bridge and even more about friendship and life. And my very dear friend, Ann Speedie, who “reigned” over those memorable dinner games at the Refectory, and who, sadly, passed away in 2004. Many of you will recall the fantastic tournaments held each February at “The Beacon” and driving home from same in the inevitable Sunday blizzard. These tournaments, now held at the Parkway in St. Catharines, are put on by the Niagara District Bridge Association, a body on which I have had the honour of serving for the past twenty years or so. The NDBA elected me to represent them on the Unit 166 Board of Directors and I have subsequently had the pleasure of meeting so many great people in my fifteen years on the Unit Board. Bridge “styles” have changed a great deal over the years but I continue to believe firmly in KISS. And I think bridge “attitudes” have changed also and are now much better due to the Zero Tolerance concept which I had the opportunity to co-create along with Barbara Seagram and Hans Jacob. Finding a good partner for tournaments has always been a daunting task and I hope that the “Online Partnership Desk” which I developed for the ACBL NABCs and the Unit 166 Sectionals and Regionals has been a help.

Odds and ends? I love cryptic crosswords, owned and operated the Reeb House Tavern, and ran a string of thoroughbred horses at Fort Erie, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay Downs. I enjoy taking piano and voice lessons once a week, and playing snooker twice a week. Other interests include developing web sites, travelling (I love bridge cruises) and collecting stamps,coins, sports cards, books, paintings and antiques.”

 Mary Jo Crone adds, “Paul is a member of Mensa Canada and is well-read and well-spoken and is fluent in several languages. He can and does talk to everyone about anything. Paul is very interested and current in world affairs and politics. He is, indeed, a life-long learner. Paul’s interest in mathematics carries over to his love for puzzles: Sudoku, Kakuro, crosswords, and the weekend cryptics. He also has a web site where he publishes the answers to the cryptics. Paul plays to win whether it is tennis, golf, bridge, the slots, snooker, poker,or the horse races. Although winning is his priority, he is always cognizant of his partner’s and opponents’ comfort levels”.

 It is always a little dangerous to ask someone’s bridge partner for input but we did. George Morrissey, Paul’s bridge partner and life-long friend, contributes the following: “Paul was and is the complete gentleman bridge player. He never shows any emotion whether he receives a good or a bad result. He makes it a point to greet players at every table and even when they continue to discuss a hand, seemingly oblivious to his hello or welcome, he persists in pleasant talk. He has a unique way of dealing politely with rudeness or lack of deportment at the table. There are few minds superior to Paul’s and yet he is always the essence of humility regardless of the result. He always compliments opponents on their good play while minimizing his own good plays with his famous quote: “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.” Paul is truly the “Man for All Seasons”. Few, if any people, know what he is really thinking, and I often refer to him as “Mysterium est”. He was and is one of my best friends.”

 The really important things in Paul’s life? Four incredible children: Sheila, Patrick, Tim, and Dan. Eight wonderful grand children: Leah, Evan, Isabel, Adam, Maddy, Meg, Char, and Mathew. A woman he adores –Mary Jo Crone of East Aurora, N.Y. And a world of bridge friends who have added immeasurably to his life with so many memories of happy and enjoyable times together. He feels he has been truly blessed.

 Fellow Unit 166 Board members count on Paul for his quiet wisdom and integrity. Paul’s dedication to the game and making it enjoyable for all makes him a most worthy recipient of the Kate Buckman Award for 2011. Congratulations, Paul, from all your friends in Unit166.


Judy Kay-WolffMay 19th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Dear Paul:

I enjoyed reading the above blog about what a distinguished gentleman you are. All this time we exchanged comments, I had no idea.
Canada and the United States are lucky to lay claim to you! May you continue your incredible contributions to the game you love for many years to come.



MichaelMay 20th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Congratulations Paul, you deserve it.

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