In Memory of Pat Croner
I am heartbroken to share news of the passing of one of the most beloved and respected members of the NWS family, our dear Pat Croner. Pat served the symphony in numerous capacities (including President of the NWS League) and was known for her bountiful energy, passionate commitment, and a warm smile that made everyone feel welcome. She was a remarkable woman who will be missed by us all. But no one will miss her more than Harry, her treasured husband of 68 years. Their story is one of love, dedication, and lives full of service.
Pat met Harry in Baltimore at a Johns Hopkins Mixer. She wrote her mom about this cute guy at the dance. When Pat was a Junior at what’s now Arcadia University, Harry called to say he was “cleaning out his address book” and came to see her. The rest is history. They married upon her graduation in 1955. After years living back east— near Boston, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia, also in Connecticut and Maryland, Pat and Harry moved to Westlake Village in 1973.
An incredibly tireless member of our community, Pat worked as College Career Advisor at Agoura High School until her retirement in 1991. Then she started The College Match, her business assisting area high school students and their parents in choosing and applying to colleges. She became a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, chairing the Education Committee, and in 1999 was recognized as the Chamber’s Woman of the Year. Among her countless volunteer roles through the years, Pat was one of the founders of the Holiday Homes Tour for the Wellness Community. A chance meeting with Nancy Israel introduced Pat to the New West Symphony League. Within a month, Pat was chairing the Pre-Concert Dinners, which she did for more than ten years. In December 2021, Pat and Harry were honored by the Symphony along with their dear friends Marilyn and Stan Sutton during our inaugural Winterfest.
“It is hard to say goodbye to my good friend, Pat,” says Marilyn. “She was such a sweet and loyal friend to me and so many others. She had tireless energy and considered her illness an aggravating inconvenience. We were so proud to be involved in the acceptance of the national award from the League of American Orchestras in Dallas for the New West Symphony League’s unique program, the Pleasure of Your Company. Pat was one of those very special, irreplaceable people and she will be greatly missed!”
Pat’s laughter, energy, and ability to recruit volunteers were contagious. One of her “recruits” was Dr. Denise Danne who later became the President of the League and a contributing member of the New West Symphony.
“As we hear about the passing of Pat, we readily realize just how diminished we are by the loss of this completely selfless and always kind human being,” says Denise. “Over the years we planned many amazing events and all our members marveled at the generosity, kindness, and ebullient energy of our wonderful Pat. She was telephone royalty. No one could accomplish what Pat got done in a phone call or two — or many. She brought in volunteers, funds, ideas, dedication, and so much more. She made it all look so easy, but we all knew it was her magic touch. Our beloved Pat will never really leave us; she will live on our cherished memories forever.”
Pat and Harry’s support of the NWS also included their participation in the Adopt A Musician program and since its inception they have been “parents” to violinist Lisa Dondlinger.
“Not only have they been champions for me on the New West stage, but they have also supported and cared about everything in my life including my solo projects and my family,” says Lisa. “Pat and I would correspond every few months to check in on each other. I feel so fortunate to have known such a vibrant, passionate, go-getter of a woman. The symphony will truly miss all the incredible work Pat did behind the scenes, and there will be an empty seat in my heart at each New West concert missing her.”
Family was the heart of Pat’s life. She leaves her children, Larry and Terry, five grandchildren— Ben, Meghan, Jessi, Michael, and Tess— and as Pat often said, “one very amazing great grandchild,” Charlotte. Pat and Harry lost their daughter Julie in 2020 at age 60 because of complications from the radiation therapy she received for Hodgkin’s Disease as a teenager.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, musicians, teachers, students and volunteers, let me express our deepest condolences to Harry and his family. I’m grateful to have known Pat for the past 15 years. I am sure all of you who read this and those who had the privilege of knowing Pat feel the same.
Natalia Staneva, CEO
New West Symphony