March 6,1925-Oct. 23, 2020
TAYLORS FALLS — Private Mass of Christian Burial for Robert Cross will take place at St Joseph Catholic Church, Taylors Falls. Memorials to Prairie Home Hospice, Marshall, MN, 56258.
Robert died on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, surrounded by loving family. His six months on hospice were a shining example of allowing the end of life to be “natural.” He was assisted to heaven by daily prayer (morning and evening prayer as a Permanent Deacon for 44 years), frequent sacraments, the love of his huge family of 130, and hospice care he received.
Robert Merrill Cross, born March 6, 1925, in Kenosha WI, was the second child of Merrill and Dagmar Cross. Dagmar was born in Waukegan, IL, but her family returned to Sweden where she was educated. The Cross family claims ancestry in the United States before the Revolution, tracing back to John Hancock. Merrill served in the Army in WWI; Robert, in the Army Signal Corps, in WWII for 32 months. After serving, he attended Kalamazoo College where he met and married Nancy Cross in 1949. He graduated from Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA. He served the Antrim (NH) Baptist Church where he was ordained a Baptist minister in 1953. In 1957, he was accepted into the Presbyterian ministry and served the First Presbyterian Church in Flint, MI, for 10 years. With the Baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1961, he organized the Fellowship of the Concerned in that church. From 1951-1961 he fathered eight children. In 1967, he and Nancy adopted four children who had been orphaned. In 1969, he moved the family to Minneapolis where he worked as Chief Therapist in the Alcoholism Unit of Hennepin County General Hospital. Giving up his protestant ministry, he and the family became Roman Catholic in 1971. He was ordained to the Diaconate in 1976 and from that year to 2010, he served Archbishop Roach in the Archdiocese of St. Paul, Bishops Dudley and Carlson in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, SD, and Bishops Garland and Sample in the Diocese of Marquette. In 1981, the couple moved to Taylors Falls where he served St. Peter’s Church in Forest Lake (MN) for fourteen years. From there he served as Parish Administrator in Colman, SD, for three years. In 1998, he and Nancy retired to the home they named Crosswinds on Lake Michigan where he served St. Francis de Sales Church in Manistique (MI) and where the extended family enjoyed great times together. Alongside alcoholism therapy and prison ministries and constant church activities, his hobby was yard work — making home areas look “like a park.” In 2010, to be closer to family, they moved to Saint Croix Falls, WI, where they lived happily until they moved into The Lodge of New Hope Assisted Living in October of 2019. They lived there together until Nancy’s death on March 16, 2020. A month later Robert moved to his daughter Barbara’s farm in Marshall, and was admitted to Prairie Home Hospice the day he arrived. He lived an entire growing season on the farm and watched it with great interest from Barb’s porch as they prayed each afternoon. He remained mentally sharp up until the day he died.
He is survived by daughters: Barbara (Patrick) Verly, Marshall; Martha (Steven) Jacobson, Dresser, WI; Paula (William) Tomlinson, New Hope; Cheryl Odland (Kevin Shantz), Minneapolis; and Carol Cross, Dresser WI. And by sons: Philip Cross, Lindstrom; James (Elaine) Cross, Glencoe; Daniel (Angela) Cross, St. Paul; Alan (Cheryl) Cross, Apple Valley; and Bruce (Julie) Cross, Minneapolis; 34 grandchildren; 58 great-grandchildren, five nieces, and five nephews.
In addition to Nancy, his wife of 70 years, he was preceded in death by his sister Norma Remus, brother, James R. Cross, daughter Mary (Gerald) Kieckhoefer, infant son Lincoln, and by Dale and Joann Dorn, the parents of four of his children.