Robert L. Crom

February 15, 1926 ~ April 27, 2021 (age 95)


Robert L. Crom, age 95, of Geneva, Illinois, passed away on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Bob, as he was known to most, was born February 15,1926 in Hampton, Iowa, son of Lloyd M. and Alice (Froning) Crom. He grew up on the family farm near Chapin, Iowa and graduated from Hampton High School in 1943. Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After receiving an honorable discharge as a second-class petty officer, Bob earned an undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Iowa State University. On graduation day, June 9, 1950, he married Lucille (Lucy) Ritter of Reasnor, Iowa.

Bob began his professional career as a farm broadcaster for radio station KGLO in Mason City, Iowa and then for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. He spent the next 40 years in various faculty and administrative roles within the land-grant university system. Thirteen years were as Director of Communications at North Dakota State University (1953-66), the last seven of which he was also Assistant to the President. During this period he earned advanced degrees from NDSU (M.S.) and Michigan State University (Ph.D.). He spent the next 22 years at Iowa State University where he served as Director of Alumni Affairs (1968-71) and Dean of Extension and Director of the Iowa Cooperative Extension Service (1981-88). His last professional assignment took him back to Washington, DC, where he served as Director of Extension and Outreach for the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.

In 1993, Bob and Lucy retired and spent the next 19 years at Ten Mile Lake near Hackensack, Minnesota before moving to GreenFields Retirement Community in Geneva. Bob enjoyed family history and genealogy, was active in his church, and participated in many local organizations, often with a leadership role. He loved to meet people and always had a genuine interest in their life experiences and pursuits.

Among his honors and distinctions were the Iowa State Cardinal Key Honor Society, North Dakota State University’s Alumni Association Heritage Award, NDSU’s Blue Key Doctor of Service Award, FarmHouse Fraternity’s Master Builder of Men Award, and Iowa’s State 4-H Alumni Recognition Award.

Bob is survived by three children—Penny Crom (Chris Mroz) of Grand Junction, Colorado; Linda (William) Kearney of St Charles, Illinois; and Dr. Randall (Randy) Crom (Julie) of Las Vegas, Nevada; five grandchildren — Alisa (Mike) Heitman of LaGrange, Illinois, Scott (Kaitlin) Kearney of Naperville, Illinois, Nick (Laura) Kearney of Chicago, Hilary (Quint) Shaw of Firestone, Colorado and Max Mroz of Salt Lake City, Utah; and five great-grandchildren. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Lucy, a son, Richard (Rick), and his brother, H. David Crom.

A celebration of life will be held in Geneva at a date to be determined. Inurnment will be at the Ames (Iowa) Municipal Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Iowa 4-H Foundation, designated for the Robert and Lucy Ritter Crom 4-H Volunteer Endowment Fund, at the Extension 4-H Youth Building, 1259 Stange Road, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011-3630.

Arrangements handled by Malone Funeral Home in Geneva.  For more information, please call 630-232-8233 or visit

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