Baylor Mourns Death of Philanthropist, Regent Emerita

April 19, 2007
News Photo 4039Dorothy Barfield Kronzer

Longtime Baylor University servant-leader Dorothy Barfield Kronzer died April 14 at the age of 84. Kronzer's 67-year relationship with Baylor was characterized by her dedication to leadership positions on the Board of Trustees and Alumni Association executive board and her faithful philanthropy to the university.

"Dorothy Kronzer was a true advocate for Baylor, always giving of her time and resources to promote the university she loved," said Baylor President John M. Lilley. "Aware of the significant issues that are important to a church-related university of the highest quality, she had always sought to defend Baylor University on issues associated with religious and academic freedom."

Kronzer, who graduated from Baylor University in 1944 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, served on the executive board of the Baylor Alumni Association for many years, and was selected the first woman president of the Baylor Alumni Association in 1976. She also was on the Baylor Board of Trustees from 1978-87 and attained Regent Emerita status in 1996. In these leadership roles, Kronzer co-founded the Herbert H. Reynolds Summer School for Retired Persons, was a member of the founding steering committee of the Baylor University Women's Association of Houston and served as the first chairperson of Baylor Fling.

In 1998, Kronzer was honored for her steadfast support of Baylor with the Founders Medal, the university's most distinguished award, which is reserved for men and women whose service and contributions have been unusually significant to the life and future of the university. She was recognized as a member of the Medallion Fellowship, first with the James Huckins Medallion in 1989, then the Pat Neff and Presidents Medallions in 1997. She also received the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service and the W.R. White Meritorious Service Award.

In addition to giving her time, Kronzer, with her late husband of 48 years, W. James Kronzer Jr., was a devoted financial supporter of the university. Along with other family members, she helped provide for the renovation and refurbishing of the Barfield Drawing Room in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Kronzer also supported the law school, recognizing her husband's profession with the Jim Kronzer Appellate Advocacy Courtroom, was a member of the Endowed Scholarship Society, supported athletics and provided the naming gift for the Kronzer Great Hall in the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.

"Dorothy was one of the Alumni Association's dearest friends and most stalwart supporters," said Jeff Kilgore, executive vice president of the Baylor Alumni Association. "She was a gracious and lovely lady, and this is an irreplaceable loss to Baylor and the Alumni Association family."

A leader in her community on top of her service to Baylor, Kronzer served on the board of the Greater Houston Council of Camp Fire Girls. In addition to having been director of volunteers for 15 years and a charter member of Baptist Haven Auxiliary, she was a member of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Women's Auxiliary to the Houston Bar. She volunteered for many years at the Buckner Baptist Haven retirement home. She also served on numerous committees at South Main Baptist Church and was director of the cradle roll department for 10 years.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Wally and Kathy Kronzer of West University Place, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Kim Kronzer and John O'Brien of Austin, Texas; sister, Lois Barfield Wimberly, who received her Baylor degree in education in 1942, and brother, David Durrah Barfield, both of Pine Ridge, Texas; five grandchildren, Chris, Chase and current Baylor student Corey Kronzer, and Hannah and Jake O'Brien; sisters-in-law Isabel Kronzer Mayer of Houston and Fancee Barfield of The Woodlands, Texas; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces, great-nephews and friends.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, in the Gold Room of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons in Houston. A memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 21, at South Main Baptist Church in Houston.

Memorial contributions in Dorothy Kronzer's name may be made to Baylor University, One Bear Place #97050, Waco, TX 78798, Alzheimer's Association or a charity of one's choice.

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