Mary Cram A Civic Leader, Philanthropist, Devoted Wife and Renaissance woman, Mary Ellen Nielsen Cram passed from her earthly home on September 16, 2012 at 82 years of age. Mary was born in Detroit, Michigan to John and Helen Nielsen. Mary grew up in Brown City, Michigan graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Nursing, lived in Texas, California and Germany before moving to her home in Albion where she lived on Irwin Avenue for over 40 years before retiring to Duck Lake. Mary was a courageous woman, full of life, who lived with increasing disability from multiple sclerosis for over 20 years with grace and wisdom. She was intelligent, resourceful, kind, hospitable and brave. Mary loved and served the Albion Community holding positions of leadership on many local boards including the Albion Community Foundation and the United Way. She volunteered with the Albion Ambassadors and the Hospital Service League and was a member of Entre Nous and P.E.O. She was a loving wife, a den mother, a Brownie leader and a Sunday School teacher at Salem Church. Mary's impact on Albion included the renovation, with her husband, of an 1870 farmhouse on Irwin Avenue. She assisted in the construction of two medical office buildings and a housing subdivision near St. John's. She led the preservation and restoration efforts of Albion's Historical train depot and for her work she was nominated for the Michigan Volunteer of the Year Award and received the George Award in 1986. Mary spearheaded the construction of the addition to the District Library and the relocation of Homestead Savings to its current home on Superior Street. The Albion Chamber of Commerce established an annual Mary Cram Leadership Award to honor her contributions to Albion. Mary was also instrumental in starting the annual Luminary display of lights on Irwin Avenue on Christmas Eve along with other displays of civic pride in Albion. She had a broad range of interests including architecture, gardening, sewing, interior decorating, real estate, reading, politics and stock investments. Mary was a founding member of the all-women's Great Expectations Investment Club. She was well traveled and was her husband's first nurse when he began his medical practice. She was inquisitive and funny, a farmer's daughter, a Bay City Beauty Queen, a "forward" thinker, and a friend to many. Her favorite color was yellow. Surviving family members include: husband Ralph of 59 years; daughters, Virginia Cram-Martos (Walter) of Divonne-les-Bains, France, and Katherine Reeves (Tom) of Albion; son, Ralph Cram (Carolyn) of Northbrook, IL; sister-in-law, Elfrieda Nielsen of Croswell; and grandchildren, Margaux Dever (Jason), Kelley, Stephen, Shawn and John Reeves, Alexandra and Walter Cram-Martos, John and Rachel Cram. Visitation will be held at J. Kevin Tidd Funeral Home, 811 Finley Drive, Albion, Michigan 49224 on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 from 4:00-7:00 P.M. A Memorial Service will be held at St. John Catholic Church, 1020 Irwin Avenue, Albion on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 5:30 P.M. with Dr. Lorraine Grinnell officiating. Assistance with Memorial Contributions to: Salem United Church of Christ, Albion Community Foundation or Albion District Library is available at the Funeral Home. www.kevintiddfuneralhome.com
The Guest Book is expired.
Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Sept. 19, 2012