Prominent Toronto businessman Paul Kromer, a faithful Catholic and stalwart pro-lifer, died on Jan. 7 at the age of 89.
Kromer, founder of Kromer Radio, an electronics retail store in Toronto, took over Renewal Ministries in 1998, which organized the the Lift Jesus Higher Rally that sought to inspire Catholics through prayer, worship, and orthodox Catholic speakers.
In 2017, Paul Kromer and his late wife Dorle of 51 years, were among the rank-and-file pro-lifers recognized in The Interim as outstanding pro-lifers. It was noted “the couple inspired tens of thousands with their annual conference” which featured many pro-life speakers that encouraged “putting focus on the spiritual core of everything we do.”
Paul and Dorle received the highest award the pope can bestow, the Cross pro Ecclesia et Pontificate.
Jim Hughes, president emeritus of Campaign Life Coalition, told The Interim, about the first time he met Kromer. He called Hughes and beckoned him to his office at Kromer Radio, where he upbraided Hughes: “You sent this (Steve) Jalsevac to me for radios and television, why didn’t you call me yourself.” Hughes said he did not send Jalsevac, who sought the electronics for a fundraiser on his own accord. “There began a wonderful, supportive relationship.”
Hughes said on three separate occasions when he approached Kromer for loans to keep CLC afloat, the businessman provided $100,000 interest-free loans that were paid back within the year.
They became friends and Hughes recalled one time when Kromer backed out of his driveway, smashing into Hughes’ vehicle. Kromer insisted Hughes go immediately to a body shop to have it fixed and that he would reimburse Hughes. Hughes went home and fixed it himself with hot water and a plunger, which he bought for $14. Kromer insisted on reimbursing the cost of the plunger.
Hughes said he was honoured to be a pallbearer at Kromer’s funeral and spoke at the reception afterward. Hughes said Kromer was “inspirational because he was a respected businessman who was unafraid to be associated with what some would consider to be a ‘less desirable part of the Church’ in the pro-life movement.”
Kromer was born in Germany in 1934 and grew up homeless in the aftermath of World War II. He and his family escaped Soviet-occupied Germany, reaching Austria where the family was given sanctuary in a convent. He worked at a manufacturer of portable radios before immigrating to Canada in 1953. He settled in Toronto and after working in a number of jobs, opened Kromer Radio in 1957, an enterprise that would become one of the leading electronics stores in the city.
In 2012, Kromer retired and moved to Kingston, Ont., to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren.
Paul Kromer was predeceased by his wife Dorle in 2014, and is survived by his daughter Michaela, and four grandchildren.