KRANE, Melodie Elizabeth|
Our beloved Melodie Elizabeth Krane died on March 11, 2014, but not before she made an impression felt by many. Her calm demeanor brought reason to demanding situations and her clever wit added perspective and amusement to everyday circumstances.
Born in Tucson, Arizona, December 14, 1955, to Mercedes Hugonin Krane and Henry Krane, she spent a wonderful childhood in the small Louisiana town of New Iberia, with her parents and three sisters Debbie, Gene and Lori.
Melodie was salutatorian of her high school graduating class and an exemplary athlete, excelling in basketball, volleyball, swimming, and softball. She attended Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, where she graduated in three years with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and sociology. During that time, she made her first trip to Austin as a member of Northwestern's varsity volleyball team to compete against-and eventually beat-the powerful University of Texas Longhorns.
After graduating from college in 1976, Melodie became a social services caseworker for the Rapides Parish School Board in Alexandria, Louisiana; on her second trip to Austin in 1979, she returned as a graduate student at The University of Texas, earning a Master of Science in Social Work two years later.
Melodie spent a large part of her career in service to the State of Texas. From 1981 to 1986, she was a program analyst for the Texas Legislative Budget Board, where she enjoyed the camaraderie of co-workers, friends she adored the rest of her life. Later she was a spending analyst for the State Comptroller and director of budget at the Department of Agriculture, working for then-Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower, a position she held until 1990. When Hightower left office, she used her savings to attend law school at the University of Houston, graduating in 1993.
Melodie's legal career began as an Assistant Attorney General in the Tort Litigation Division of the Office of the Attorney General. During this time she met and married another Assistant Attorney General, John B. Lay, and became a stepmother to two children she loved as her own, Tom and Elizabeth. In 1998, Melodie joined the Office of General Counsel of her beloved University of Texas, where she became manager of the Health Law section representing the UT System's medical schools, health institutions, and physicians and employees. She worked at the General Counsel's office at the time of her death.
Although she was deeply dedicated to her work, Melodie also believed in living a life of balance: she loved travel, especially for flyfishing in Montana, and was practically unbeatable at the game of Scrabble. She once asked a surgeon about to operate on her also to implant in her the list of acceptable two-letter Scrabble words.
Melodie is survived by her husband John B. Lay, sister Gene Krane and husband Jim Evans of Austin, sister Lori Krane of Houston, stepson Thomas Lay and wife Katy Dunn of New York City, and stepdaughter Elizabeth Lay and husband Paul Stinson of Austin. Her uncle Irwin Krane, of Los Angeles, and his family, along with other cousins, also mourn her passing.
Melodie's legacy is the loving care and comfort she offered her family, friends, and clients throughout the years, and the grace, dignity, and determined fierceness with which she fought against the disease that killed her.
A memorial service will be held in the auditorium at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at six-thirty in the evening on June 16, 2014. Donations may be made to her favorite charities, Austin Groups for the Elderly (ageofcentraltx.org) or the Amyloidosis Foundation (amyloidosis.org).
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 20 to Mar. 21, 2014