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Edmund Titus Cranch

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Cranch, Edmund Titus

Cornell Class of 1945: Edmund Titus Cranch died of natural causes in Florida on February 4, 2015, at the age of 92. Ed Cranch grew up in Westfield, NJ, and came to Ithaca as an undergraduate during the war years. After receiving his degree in Mechanical Engineering he married his high school sweetheart, served in the Navy, worked for Bell Labs, and then returned to Cornell to earn his Ph.D. Dr. Cranch taught courses in applied mathematics, strength of materials, and applied physics. He rose through the administrative ranks and was Dean of Cornell's College of Engineering from 1972-78. Thereafter, he was president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, founding president of the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies, and Granite State Professor at the University of New Hampshire. After retiring, he consulted in engineering education and distance learning. As an aspiring musician in the 1930s Ed Cranch frequented clubs and ballrooms in New York to learn the latest jazz arrangements. He enjoyed recounting the thrill of being close to the bandstand when the orchestras of Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Chick Webb, and Jimmie Lunceford held court. Ed played the cornet and considered it to be a special privilege to be in attendance when Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge took their choruses. Dr. Cranch also never lost his love of ice hockey, the sport in which he lettered at Cornell back in the days when the team played on Beebe Lake. Starting with the teams of the legendary coach Ned Harkness, Dr. Cranch and his wife had season tickets at Lynah Rink and rarely missed a game. Disheartened by the inhumanity he witnessed overseas in WWII, and with full professional knowledge of the threat of mutual thermonuclear destruction, Dr. Cranch studied the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and other thinkers who were trying to find a path towards international reconciliation. Thereafter, he and his wife became active members of the Ithaca Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Dr. Cranch is survived by his wife of 70 years, Virginia Harrison Cranch, who resides in Bonita Springs, FL. He is also survived by their three children, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Gifts in remembrance should be directed to the Cornell College of Engineering, c/o Cornell University Annual Fund, PO Box 25842, Lehigh Valley, PA 18003-9692. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.

Published in Ithaca Journal on Feb. 11, 2015
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