Woodrow Cross, who constructed his insurance company into a major New England company, dies at 103 – The Boston Globe

1August 2020

And so he did. Even as a boy, Mr. Cross discovered ways to earn money when work was scarce. After his daddy died, he ran his household’s general store in Bradford, Maine, which they had actually constructed with lumber from fallen down structures, aligning old nails to use again.

In his late 30s, he released an insurance agency in Bangor and, over the next 66 years, turned a service he had very first run from his kitchen area table into a company with more than

900 employees in more than 40 New England areas. Ad Even after a fall slowed him at 99,Mr. Cross never ever completely retired. He was 103 when he died in his Bangor house last Sunday. Mr. Cross, who offered seeds door-to-door as a kid of 6 and raised chickens to sell when he was a teen, possessed a famous work ethic that influenced those who satisfied him as he closed in on the century mark.

“He liked being the one who opened the door in the early morning and after that locked the door at the end of the day,” said his grandson Jonathan Cross, primary running officer of Cross Insurance coverage.

“People would come in for a service meeting,” Jonathan said. “He was very polite and likewise had an effective method of letting individuals know they had to be on their toes. He would sit at the table, as a male well into his 90s, until the offer was negotiated. If you didn’t plan for enough time, that was your fault. He was going to remain up until it was done.”

Advertisement Among the clients of Cross Insurance are sports teams such as the New England Patriots, the Boston Bruins,and theBoston Red Sox. Mr. Cross”was a fantastic, hard-working business person who, in addition to his entrepreneurial success, always understood that nothing is more vital than family,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft stated in a statement.

Camera Neely, president of the Bruins, stated in a declaration that Mr. Cross “was a true American success story.”

And Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox president and president, kept in mind in a declaration that Mr. Cross “created an insurance empire from scratch, and handled to do it with dignity and stability.”

Mr. Cross did so with practically no scholastic training beyond the 8th grade, but with an abundance of real life education.

In middle age, he got a basic equivalency diploma due to the fact that he required one for a property license, his grand son said.

At 20, Mr. Cross had actually participated in classes at a school of commerce run by Chesley H. Husson, who established what is now Husson University in Bangor. The university consequently awarded an honorary doctorate to Mr. Cross.

Business world was Mr. Cross’s genuine class, though.

At the beginning of the Great Anxiety, barely into adolescence, he would join his father on journeys from their house in Bradford north to Aroostook County to fill their truck with potatoes, and after that drive south more than 100 miles to sell them for a revenue in wealthier locations such as Bar Harbor.

Ad”It’s really easy to get dissuaded, however I always tried to determine the issue,”Mr. Cross informed the Portland Press Herald in 2017, after he had turned 100. “I didn’t range from it, and if I required assistance, I ‘d get it. And if I required to do more work, I did it.”

Born on Dec. 29, 1916, Woodrow Cross was the earliest of 3 brother or sisters and matured some 20 miles north of Bangor in Bradford, a town of then fewer than 1,000 individuals.

Through the 8th grade, Mr. Cross attended a one-room schoolhouse, where in cooler months he was responsible for filling the wood box to fuel the stove that heated the class.

His father, Melvin Cross, and mom, Mabel Speed, ran a farm up until the household opened M.W. Cross General Shop, not long prior to Mr. Cross ended his school years.

At 21, Mr. Cross became the shop’s proprietor, after his father died. He only left Maine to serve in the Army as a staff sergeant during World War II.

While house on leave, Mr. Cross wed Janette Loretta Bean on Sept. 7, 1943, in a ceremony at her household’s house in East Corinth, Maine.

At first, the Army sent him to boot camp in Texas. Mr. Cross was stationed in Austin and after that in Louisiana before being shipped to the Pacific, where he was part of the military campaigns in New Guinea and the Philippines. He likewise served in Japan as part of the US occupying forces after the war prior to going back to Maine.

Advertisement For years he marched in Bangor’s Memorial Day parade, only accepting ride in the procession after he was injured in a fall at age 99. Mr. Cross and his spouse had 5 children and settled in Bangor, where he

started his insurance agency. She passed away in 1992 and their boy Brent passed away in 2015. During her last couple of years, while she was being treated for cancer, “as important as the office was to him, he left and looked after her,” Jonathan remembered. “He set the bar incredibly high as far as caring for his spouse and making sure she had everything she needed.”

Mr. Cross established his insurance firm in 1954.

“I believed that might be something I might get thinking about,” he stated in an Eastern Maine Medical Center “Voices From the Past” interview that is posted online. Retirement never ever held any attraction.

“I’ve always worked,” he said in an interview when he was in his late 80s and his agency celebrated 50 years in company, in 2004. “I have no interest in going house and viewing tv.”

Throughout his life, Mr. Cross participated in Calvary Baptist Church in Maker, Maine, throughout the Penobscot River from Bangor, serving as an usher and church officer. He likewise was a benefactor of numerous Maine charities.

“He was the type of glue that holds a neighborhood together,” former Maine Governor John Baldacci

told the Bangor Daily News. Ad In addition to his grandson Jonathan, Mr. Cross leaves two daughters, Connie Guelich of Roanoke, Va., and Judith Cross Olson of Lexington; two children, Dennis of Orono, Maine, and Royce of Brewer; 13 other grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and a great-great granddaughter.

The family held a memorial service and a graveside military burial service.

For many years, even while running his agency, Mr. Cross was so directly associated with business that he chose to open the everyday mail.

“I ‘d get the mail, bring it in, and he and I would open it together. It was an unique part of the day,” his grandson Woodrow Cross II, who is now vice president of danger management for Cross Insurance, said of his early days with the company.

“Recalling,” he included, “the time I got to spend with him was important– sitting there, discussing what we had on the agenda for the day, listening to his life lessons.”

Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@globe.com!.?.!.Source: bostonglobe.com

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