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Obituary: John Cromer, Westport

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John Cromer, 102, of Westport, passed away at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, September 26, 2013 at his residence.

He was born March 25, 1911 in East Bernstadt, Kentucky, the son of Reed and Matilda Lutz Cromer. and moved to Westport in 1967.

He graduated from East Bernstadt Independent School and Sue College in London, Kentucky. He received a B.S. and Masters Degree from Eastern Kentucky State University in Richmond, Kentucky. Prior to World War II, he taught school in Laurel County, Kentucky. After the war, he was hired by Phelps High School to teach, be the Varsity Basketball Coach and drive a bus. He was coach for nine years at Phelps High. Principal of Freeburn Grade School for five years and principal at Phelps High School for six years. In 1967, he moved to Westport and became the principal of Sandcreek High & Elementary School for one year. In 1968 Sandcreek High School and Jackson High School merged to form South Decatur High School. For nine years he was principal of Burney and Sandcreek Elementary Schools.

In 1977, he retired with 36 years of service from Kentucky and 10 years from Indiana. His memberships include Peter Creek Presbyterian Church in Phelps, Kentucky. He had served on the Board of Directors of Decatur County United Fund and the Area 11 Agency on Aging. He was a former member and past President of the Westport Kiwanis Club and received recognition for leadership in building several new Kiwanis clubs in Indiana. He was also active in the BUG Award (Bring Up Grades) program and the Kiwanis Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Dinner. In 2001 he received the Senior Volunteer Award for Decatur County. Mr. Cromer  served on the Westport Town Board from 1972 to 1976 and 1992 to 2007.

He prepared free tax returns for senior citizens and low income people for 18 years and had helped many senior citizens when they needed help or a ride to the doctor. Mr. Cromer was a veteran and earned two bronze stars. In 1942, he volunteered with the Air Force and was trained as a Glider Pilot. The Air Force had overestimated how many pilots they would need and he was discharged. He then volunteered with the US Army. His assignment was with Field Artillery and worked in the Survey Section and served in the European Theater of Operations.

Since he was a child growing up around the Rock Castle Creek area in Kentucky, John remained a great lover of the outdoors and he continued to enjoy fishing, canoeing, hiking and current affairs. John believed the secret to a long life was a positive outlook, staying active, his wife and daughters' healthy cooking and having family and good friends of all ages.

He married Jacqueline Bodenheimer on December 8, 1951 in Freeburn, Kentucky and she survives. Other survivors include his daughters, Rhonda Cromer of Whitesburg, Kentucky, Jenny Lu Cromer (Jim Logan) of New Orleans, Louisiana and Mary Jane (Lynn) Shireman of Hartsville; his five grandchildren, David Cromer Logan, Ethan Henry Shireman, James Robert Logan, Hannah Lynn Shireman and Laura Emily Logan; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Mattye Oliver, Virginia Cummins and Louise Smith; his brothers, Reed and Riney Cromer.

The funeral service will conducted at 1p.m. Monday,  at the Bass & Gasper Funeral Home in Westport. Burial will follow at the Westport Cemetery with military graveside services. A time of visitation will be held Sunday,from 2:00 until 6:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Online condolences can be made to the family at

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