John was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, graduated in medicine from Queens University, Belfast (1955), and immigrated to Canada in 1957. He served as a surgical resident at St. John’s General Hospital and then went to St. Anthony to work for the Grenfell Mission. He then changed his focus to Anesthesiology as the need in Northern Newfoundland was great. He completed a residency in anesthesiology over several years, completing an exam in Dublin and study periods in Montreal and various locations in the UK. In St. Anthony, John met Wendy (neé Clegg) a nurse from England. They married in 1961 and raised four children together. John worked at the hospital in St. Anthony for over 35 years, both in anesthesiology and in developing the critical care unit.
Dr John Cronhelm was one of the pioneers in the Newfoundland Health Care system. He was the first physician in the province of Newfoundland to ventilate premature babies. He also became of one of a few pain specialists in the province. John was heavily involved with the MUN Medical School and mentored many medical students and medical residents. During the latter days of his career, he was granted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from MUN, and life memberships from both the CMA and NLMA in recognition for his dedication, compassion and service to the Newfoundland people.
John will be remembered for his compassion in his work and in family life. He had a deep personal faith, was an active member in the United Church of Canada, and supported Wendy in pursuing a vocation in ministry. He was also an amateur radio operator (VO1JCC) and enjoyed talking to other “hams” around the world.
John is predeceased by parents Dr. Henry Josiah and Mae Evelyn (neé Armstrong) Cronhelm, and brother Claude. He will be missed by his wife Wendy, children Anthony (Pam), David (Melissa), Heather, and Susan Kolesar (Trevor), grandchildren Gregory, Nicholas, Angela, Alexander, and Rebecca, sister Jane and family, and sister-in-law Sandra and family. A Celebration of Life service will be held at St. James United Church in St. John’s, on Thursday, June 27th at 2:00pm.