Alan Washburn McCracken

McCracken Alan Washburn McCracken, 80, of Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, died Tuesday, October 15, 2013, at Newton Medical Center. Born in Washington, DC, in 1933, Mr. McCracken attended the Saint Albans School where he sang in the boys' choir and began to develop his life's passion for music and the arts. Upon graduation from the Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ, Mr. McCracken followed his family legacy by enlisting in the Navy where he was trained as an electrician serving on submarines. Upon his honorable discharge from active duty, he went on to attend college at Ohio Wesleyan University and ultimately graduated from The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with a Bachelor of Arts in History. It was Mr. McCracken's love of classical music and arts that inspired his life's work. After completing a management course from the American Symphony Orchestra League, he started his first job managing the Abilene Texas Symphony Orchestra, and would go on to manage orchestras in Nashville, TN, Columbus, OH and San Diego, CA. In 1969, Mr. McCracken was attracted by the movement to save, restore and operate the historic Ohio Theatre in Columbus which would become the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. Given the tremendous success turning around the Ohio Theatre, Mr. McCracken was recruited in 1974 to become the Executive Director responsible for the beautiful restoration of the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, WI, which he would later manage for four years bringing wonderful music, opera, plays and other productions to Milwaukee. He would eventually go on to manage the famous Fox Theatre in Atlanta, GA, as well as performing arts organizations in Kansas City, MO, and Santa Barbara, CA, before finishing his career with the Strand Theatre in Lakewood, NJ. In recognition of his successful efforts restoring theatres, Mr. McCracken was named President of the League of Historic American Theatres. In addition to his love of music, Alan McCracken also had a joy of nature that evolved from his twelve years as a camper and counselor at Camp Tecumseh on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. He enjoyed many family vacations in the NH Lake Region and later chose the natural scenic beauty of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania for retirement where he lived for the last twenty years. Mr. McCracken was predeceased by his father and stepmother Admiral Alan Reed and Lillian McCracken, as well as his mother Charlotte Washburn McCracken, his brother Douglas Scott McCracken, and his sister Bonnie McCracken Dana. He is survived by his beloved wife of 30 years, Nancy Lingo McCracken; his daughter, Cynthia McCracken and son-in-law, John Harmon of Columbus, OH; his son, Christopher McCracken of Ithaca, NY; his daughter, Courtney and son-in-law, Tom Mignery of Columbus, OH; and his son, James Coffman and daughter-in-law, Jennifer J. Coffman of Westport, CT. Mr. McCracken also leaves six cherished grandchildren, Wyatt, Gillian, Blair, Jack, Alexander and Zachary. Services are private and under the direction of the SMITH-McCRACKEN FUNERAL HOME, 63 High Street, Newton, NJ. His ashes will be interred at the Graves-Washburn family plot in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC. Memorial donations may be made to the , 7 Ridgedale Ave., Suite 103, Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927. Online condolences may be offered at

Funeral Home

Smith-McCracken Funeral Home
63 High Street Newton, NJ 07860
(973) 383-4600
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on Oct. 20, 2013