Duane Louis Cronk was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on September 15, 1924, to George and Ethel Cronk. He attended grade school in Wisconsin and high school in Illinois. After serving honorably for 20 months in the U.S. Army near the end of World War II, he attended Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, where he met and married Mary Cronk. Together they raised five sons: Clifford, Bruce, Brent, Loren, and Andrew.
In 1950 he graduated from Denver University and in 1963 received his Master of Arts degree from American University in Washington, D.C.
While living in the D.C. area he was Secretary of the Public Relations Committee of the American Trade Association Executives and editor of their publications. He was on the Public Relations staff of the Associated General Contractors of America. He opened his own public relations firm specializing in the heavy construction field and wrote for many publications including Roads & Streets and Street Engineering.
In 1957 he received the prestigious Silver Anvil Award from the American Public Relations Association for his handling of public relations for “The World’s Fair of the Construction Industry,” the international construction equipment show in Chicago.
After moving to Angwin, California with his family in 1962, he opened an office in San Francisco where he handled public relations for contractors on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System, the Dworshak Dam in Idaho, and the MARTA transit system in Atlanta, among many other projects.
Duane enjoyed spending time in nature with his family and was passionate about preserving agricultural land. He was a founding member of the Land Trust of Napa County, Upper Napa Valley Associates, and the group Save Rural Angwin. He volunteered to provide public relations for many “slow growth” candidates for local nonpartisan positions and for ballot items such as Measure J which preserved the agricultural landscape of Napa County.
Duane had a lifelong interest in storytelling and photography. As anyone who has met Duane knows, he always had a joke or story to share. He wrote prolifically, including frequent letters to local newspapers, and was the writer, photographer and publisher of the web site The Angwin Reporter which kept locals updated about their town and residents. He published The Angwin Telephone Book from 1993 to 2015.
Duane died on February 20, 2018 from complications of heart valve surgery.
Condolences may be sent to Duane’s wife and sons at P.O. Box 707, Angwin, CA 94508. The date for Duane’s memorial service will be announced soon.