On Tuesday, February 4th, 2020, Michael Cronquist passed away surrounded by family, at the age of 72, due to complications from pneumonia.
Mike was born on March 6th, 1947, in Coeur d’Alene, ID to parents Malcolm and Earlene Cronquist. He attended Montana State University where he played football and was part of the Big Sky Conference’s 1969 All-Conference Team. After receiving his degree in Civil Engineering, Mike traveled the world for the majority of his career, primarily working for Fluor Constructors in oil refineries. Upon returning home to the Flathead Valley, he participated in numerous local projects, including the O'Shaughnessy Center, Whitefish Library, Iron Horse development, and the Whitefish City Hall.
To those unfamiliar with Mike, he may have appeared to be an “ornery old cuss,” never separated from his trusty cowboy hat and boots, but those he let in will remember his kindness, honesty, stubbornness, and his dry, mischievous sense of humor. A loyal ally of the underdog, Mike would never hesitate to intervene in an unfair situation.
His life-long love of sports led him to volunteer as an assistant coach for numerous seasons of All-Stars Softball, where he served as a tough but supportive mentor. Mike was an avid outdoorsman, spending his spare time maintaining his ranch, horseback riding, hunting, and taking long drives up the South Fork.
Through it all, Chris LeDoux's classic country song, “Ten Seconds in the Saddle," speaks not only to Mike's younger bull-riding rodeo years but also to how he chose to live his life. Mike lived the lyrics, in particular, "It's better to ride even if you get throwed than to wind up just wishing you had."
That was Mike -- a man who would rather take ten seconds in the saddle than merely watch from the stands.
Mike is preceded in death by his parents, Malcolm and Earlene, his brother-in-law, Greg Kristof, his best friend, Bob Hilt, and his eldest son, Mark, with whom he is now riding tall in the saddle, atop their favorite horses.
He is survived by his wife, Patti; his children, Matt, Michelle (Chris), and Michonne (Bill); his grandchildren, Harper and Colt; his sisters, Kathee, Terry, Laurie, and Patty Kay (Lee); several nephews, a niece, and their children (all of whom he would likely tell to “quit blubbering” over his passing).
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 15th, 2020 at St. Richard’s Catholic Church in Columbia Falls at 10 a.m.
Mike was an unwavering supporter of the US Military. In lieu of flowers or donations, please consider contributing to the USO (uso.org) or the American Red Cross (redcross.org) in his memory.