Maritta and John Cronin

The fragrant red climbing rose growing by John and Maritta Cronin’s back door, a wedding gift from five decades ago, had just started blooming, and in the front right of the house, the couple’s latest project, a new garden, was starting to thrive where a large Norway Spruce had died.

Even coronavirus restrictions and a hot day did not disturb the sense of retreat found in the mature gardens that the couple has tended and expanded since they had their house built while they were away on their honeymoon.

The same unwavering sense of order, attention to detail, and hard work that the Cronins have brought to their garden is reflected in their lifelong dedication to Milton.

John Cronin grew up on Thompson Lane, and Maritta Manning Cronin, a farm girl whose family owns Thatcher Farm Dairy, grew up just a stone’s throw away from their current home on Wendell Park.

Maritta is the town’s longest standing voting Town Meeting member, with 58 years of perfect attendance. She is the cousin of the late M. Joseph Manning, who served as a state legislator for 30 years.

John first served the town as a parks commissioner in 1961 and worked for 34 years until his retirement in 2002 as its executive secretary, the early equivalent of the town administrator’s position.

Together, the couple, who are in their 80s, are among the residents who make up the heart and soul of the town of just over 27,000 residents.

A scoutmaster for many years, John had a role in shaping the lives of many youngsters who grew up to serve the town, such as former Select Board members Tony Farrington and David Burnes. The couple’s three sons all attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

(Read the Milton Times July 9 in print and online for more on this story.)

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