We celebrate the life of Keith Edward Cross born to George Edward Cross and Susan Margaret DiNatale Cross on August 14, 1951 in New Haven, CT. Keith departed this life at Whispering Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on January 16, 2021. Keith’s early education was obtained in the New Haven Public Schools. As an adolescent, he was selected as an Ulysses S. Grant Scholar, and he graduated from James Hillhouse High School in 1970. He attended the University of Connecticut (UCONN) and was a graduate of Albertus Magnus College.
Keith and his high school sweetheart, Linda J. McLaughlin, welcomed their only daughter, Stephanie Y. Willis, on August 12, 1970, and the two embarked on a lifetime journey of co-parenting and providing the very best for their “little flower.” Keith and Linda ensured Stephanie was afforded the best opportunities despite being young parents, and together, they always made Stephanie their priority. Keith was a devoted father, and Stephanie was the apple of her father’s eye.
Following in his big brother, Gregory W. Cross’ footsteps, Keith enlisted in the United States Air Force in the late 1970’s. He completed his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, TX. Keith worked as a Specialist in the Command and Control Field. He did a tour in Germany and traveled throughout Europe during his time in the Air Force. Upon returning to civilian life, Keith worked for the Subway Corporation in Milford, CT, as an International Salesman. His position at Subway allowed him to further travel the world. He especially enjoyed his visits to Amsterdam, Spain, France, Scotland, Switzerland, Ireland, and Italy.
While Keith was a world-traveler, his heart was never far from home. In addition to being a loving dad, he was a doting son and loyal brother. Keith was incredibly close to his mother, who instilled in him a strong moral and ethical character. He and his father enjoyed the finer things in life just as much as a good book. Like his father, Keith was an avid reader. Keith’s brother, Gregory, was his personal superhero, and he could not do any wrong in Keith’s eyes, and the two shared a special bond. Keith’s ultimate goal was to make his parents, brother, and daughter proud. He accomplished and far exceeded that goal, leaving a mark on generations in the Cross family. The title Keith held dearest was that of Pop-Pop to his grandchildren. He enjoyed their company and shared many stories with them that will last them a lifetime.
Keith was an avid sports enthusiast who was a diehard New York Knicks, New York Mets, and New York Jets fan. He was a season ticket holder for the aforementioned teams. As much as Keith loved to see his favorite teams play live, his generosity led him to share the experience with his friends and family. Keith would often gift them tickets to sporting events. Keith was also a lover of the arts, and this love, too, he shared with others. Many credit Keith with nurturing their appreciation of the arts and remember fondly trips to museums, plays, and notable events like the annual Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall. He thought it was important to expose his family to culture and to have shared experiences that would become traditions. This included annual summer vacationing on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.
Keith leaves a legacy of love for family and friends, and the world will shine less brightly without him. He was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his brother, Gregory W. Cross – Retired Deputy Fire Marshal NHFD (Denise) of North Haven, CT; daughter, Stephanie Y. Willis (Vaughn M. – Retired Lieutenant of DOC) of Hamden, CT; Three grandchildren: Justin A. Willis of New Haven, CT; Nia Simone James of Hamden, CT and Vaughn Edward Willis of Hamden, CT; great-granddaughter, Maia B. Willis of Broomfield, CO; two nieces: Dori J. Dumas (Ronald Craig – Retired Assistant Chief of NHFD) and Amber A. Cross of North Haven, CT; great-niece, Chanelle D. Dumas of Washington, D.C.; great-nephew, Ronald C. Dumas II of Phoenix, Arizona; life partner, Linda J. McLaughlin; Godson Roland R. McLaughlin, Jr. of Orlando, Florida; favorite great-great-niece, Bailey Victoria Adams of Washington, D.C. and Honorary Godchildren, Kennedi Bowers Reid and Andre Charles Omar Gulley of Hamden, CT and a host of loving relatives and friends. Keith is absent from the body and present with the Lord. We all loved him, but God loves him best.
The family of Keith E. Cross extend a special thank you to the staff at Whispering Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center (East Haven, CT) who kept him safe, occupied and entertained. We are also grateful to Nicole Bowers-Gulley, Medria Blue Ellis and the many relatives, friends & colleagues for the numerous acts of kindness during our time of bereavement.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Keith E. Cross to New Haven Reads, 45 Bristol Street, New Haven, CT 06511 or www.newhavenreads.org
A Walk-through Viewing will be held Saturday, January 23, 2021 from 9:00-11:00 A.M. at Curvin K. Council Funeral Home, 128 Dwight St., New Haven. A Celebration of Keith’s life and legacy will begin at 11:00 A.M. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and to adhere to safety precautions, the Celebration of Life will be limited to a maximum of 30 people. The Celebration of Life will be live-streamed via the following link: https://youtu.be/nFEaItvssac
The burial will be private.