Ruth Weeks Crane
Ruth Weeks Crane, a long time resident of Humboldt County who was active in a range of community affairs,, died Wednesday, February 3rd, in Portland, Oregon, where she has lived for the last twelve years to be near her son, Doug. She celebrated her 100th birthday in October, the first in her family to reach that milestone.
Ruth, as everyone knew her, was born in Canton, Massachusetts, where she attended elementary and high school. She then commuted by train to Boston University where she earned a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1941, and completed a year of graduate school in social work. Many years later, she earned a teaching credential from Humboldt State University in Arcata.
It was at Boston University that she met her future husband, Clarence Crane, Jr. ("Tige"), who was in medical school. She had joined BU's chapter of Alpha Phi sorority and a sorority sister set them up on a blind date. When Tige was assigned to the Pacific Theatre during World War II, she came to live with her mother-in-law, Stella Crane, in Fernbridge in 1943. After the war the couple and their two young children moved to Ferndale where Dr. Crane joined a medical practice.
Ruth had a particular gift with children and, as her three children went through Ferndale schools, she choreographed and scripted variety shows, sailor's hornpipes, minuets and tap dances for them and their classmates; she led her son Doug's Cub Scout troop. She loved parties and devised games and performances for family holidays and youth groups. One year she asked everyone who came for Thanksgiving dinner to be weighed before dinner and after they had eaten, then read off the differences! She loved taking the family's international doll collection to schools and talking about varied cultural traditions while dressing the students in authentic clothing that matched that worn by the dolls. Over the years she also tutored many children in mathematics.
She was a passionate birdwatcher and for many years participated in the Humboldt County New Year's Bird Count with her husband, children, extended family and friends--for which she always made Boston Baked Beans and coleslaw. She and her husband traveled to identify and observe birds in South America, Alaska, Texas, and the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. With her daughter, Janet, she birded in the woods of Hawaii and the Appalachians, the marshes of Florida and the Gulf Coast, and in Montana and eastern Oregon. She taught bird identification to her three children as well as to nephews, in-laws, and anyone who showed interest; it remains a popular family activity. She was active in the Redwood Region Audubon Society for many years.
Ruth loved the Episcopal Church and taught Sunday School at St. Francis Church after the Cranes moved to Fortuna in the early 1970s. She played the organ or piano on occasion in both the Ferndale and Fortuna churches. She played the piano by ear and organized memorable two-piano concerts for young pianists in her Ferndale living room.
Mrs. Crane was the descendant of prominent early New England families, including several Mayflower passengers. She was active in DAR as well as local book clubs and the Humboldt medical wives auxiliary.
Ruth is survived by her three children: Janet Crane, of Atlanta, Georgia; Dick Crane, of Payson, Arizona; and Doug Crane, of Portland, Oregon; six grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren. She will be interred in the Crane-McCully family plot, in Pioneer Cemetery, Salem, Oregon, next to her late husband. A private celebration of her life is planned for later in the year. Her children ask that in lieu of flowers you donate to The Audubon Society (www.audubon.org
) or The Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org