Woodrow Cross, a business owner who got his start selling seeds door-to-door as a kid and went on to discovered Cross Insurance coverage, died Sunday. He was 103.
Over 6 years, Cross developed his company into the biggest independent insurance coverage firm in New England and among the biggest in the country. He remained active with the daily operations of the business even after his 100th birthday. His obituary stated he passed away surrounded by his household near his home town of Bangor.
“For nearly a century, Woodrow Cross’ profession as a Maine entrepreneur was specified by his significant work ethic, devotion and integrity,” Sen. Susan Collins stated in a declaration. “… Woodrow has actually always been a shining example of entrepreneurship and determination.”
Cross was remembered by his household on Monday as a humble and hard-working businessman who devoted his life to his company, family and neighborhood.
His grandson, Jonathan Cross, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Cross Insurance, described him as authentic, caring and thoughtful. He stated among the keys to his grandpa’s success was his priority on customer support.
“For his entire life, he would constantly inform everybody to take excellent care of the client,” his grand son remembered. “In business, that’s a typical thing to state, but he really lived it. Given that the really early days of the company, he would state, ‘Do not worry about yourself. Look after the consumer and everything will exercise.’ He did that over and over again. That’s the culture he produced throughout the organization.”
Cross began his insurer at his kitchen table, and ran it from there for nine years prior to hiring employees and moving to downtown Bangor. Cross Insurance coverage now has 1,000 employees in more than 40 locations across eight states. In 2019, the business was called the sixth largest insurance broker in Massachusetts.
His kid, Royce Cross of Maker, is president and chief executive officer of the business. Grandson Woodrow Cross II also works for the business. Another son, Brent Cross, previous executive vice president of the business, passed away in November of 2015 after a battle with cancer.
Jonathan Cross assessed the two-plus decades he worked together with his grandpa.
“He had an extremely special method of letting you understand that whatever would be OK,” Cross said. “It was: ‘Here’s the issue. Let’s take a look at it. Let’s talk about it. Let’s consider it. If you make a good solid, ethical and ethical choice, then it will all work out.’
“He had this vision and ability to take a look at something and say this is the instructions we need to enter. It was always a hand on your back, not a hand in your face. He would let you understand it would be OKAY if you kept operating at it. He had an extremely gentle nature. Individuals actually wanted to strive for him and still do.”
Woodrow Cross matured on a farm in the little Penobscot County town of Bradford, where he went to school in a one-room schoolhouse and his daddy ran a general store. At age 6, he began selling seeds door-to-door and within four years had actually moved into chicken farming. He started getting little loans to buy child chicks, which he sold at a profit when they grew, which enabled him to repay his creditors and grow the business.
Cross began working in his dad’s general store as a teen, which strengthened his work ethic and family values, he said in a 2017 interview with the Press Herald.
Cross’ dad passed away throughout the Great Anxiety when Cross was 21. He took control of the duty of running the store and caring for his household. He stated the challenge of keeping the business essential throughout such a challenging economic duration had an impact on him that would last a life time.
“It’s very simple to get prevented, however I always tried to determine the problem. I didn’t range from it, and if I needed aid, I ‘d get it. And if I needed to do more work, I did it,” Cross said in 2017.
When the U.S. went into World War II, Cross employed in the Army, serving in the Pacific theater throughout campaigns in New Guinea and the Philippines. He also served in Japan after the war on occupation responsibility. He made 2 battle stars.
“He was incredibly proud of his time serving the nation,” his grand son said. “As much as he achieved in company, he still had that much more pride for having the ability to serve his nation. He instilled that pride in many, many people.”
He was the caring partner of Janette Cross for 48 years. In 1954, the couple settled in Bangor, where they raised five kids. His spouse passed away in 1992.
As he grew his organisation, Cross was anchored by his family and his faith, his household wrote in his obituary. He had belonged to the Calvary Baptist Church in Maker considering that 1954 and was the oldest member at the time of his death. He served the church as treasurer and usher and went to weekly men’s Bible classes.
Cross was a longtime advocate of numerous Maine charities, his obituary said. He got numerous unique awards and honors, consisting of an honorary doctorate of service administration from Husson University and the Norbert X. Dowd Award from the Bangor Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
“Mentoring new hires of any ages, supporting professional growth and motivating community involvement have actually constantly been his organisation practice,” the Bangor Chamber of Commerce said in its award notice. “A strong work principles, stability, business acumen, determination and professionalism are however a few of the strengths we most admire in him.”
The company sponsors the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
Asked 3 years ago for the trick to his longevity and how he has actually had the ability to remain so active for a century, Cross displayed his particular humbleness and matter-of-fact attitude.
“I simply fell into it I think,” he stated. “I constantly liked my vegetables.”
Jonathan Cross laughed Monday about his grandfather’s durability and his strict diet plan of turkey sandwiches on white bread and M&M’s.
“He was always understood for having sweet at his desk,” Cross said. “If you had a meeting with him, you were consuming candy. He had craving for sweets for sure.”
Woodrow Cross is survived by his 2 daughters, two sons, 14 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.
A personal service will be held for his household.
Remarks are not available on this story.