George William Crane, 87, of Yountville, beloved husband, dad and grandpa, went home with Jesus on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. George was born in St. Helena to George W. Crane, Sr. and Rose (Blodgett) Crane and was orphaned at age 3 1/2. He was welcomed into the family of his cousin, Elita (Botts-Watson) Bean, and was raised in Strawberry Valley with Elita’s own three children, Ralph, Jack and Barbara Watson. Elita, teacher at the one-room schoolhouse in Strawberry, taught the children through the eighth grade.
George graduated from Oroville High School in 1942 and entered the Navy at 18, training at Farragut, Idaho and San Diego as a fire controlman.
In March of 1943, he became one of the original crew of a new Destroyer Escort, the Fessenden, with service in convoy and escort duties in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, during which time he received two battle stars.
George married his sweetheart, Donna Akers, of Napa, on Aug. 15, 1945, one day after World War ll ended and just after he turned 21 and she 18. After his Navy duty, the Cranes returned to Napa and George became an electrical apprentice with Arthur Tockey at Napa Electric. George later became Vice President and General Manager, continuing the work of electrifying the Napa Valley until his retirement in 1989, after his 43 1/2 years “on the job.”
George served in Napa Kiwanis for 29 years and in Yountville Kiwanis since retirement, being recognized many times for service and spiritual leadership.
He loved cruising, RV traveling with SIRs #149, fishing with his sons, grandsons and friends, hosting his Bible Class at his backyard Alaska wild salmon barbecues, volunteering at the Yountville Chamber Visitor Center, telling visitors about our beautiful Napa Valley, watching the Cactus League baseball games in March in Arizona (a big Giants fan), selling raffle tickets at all the fundraisers in Yountville, cooking a big turkey for the family at Thanksgiving at Twain Harte, and just being a helper and friend to any one with a need that he could fill.
George leaves his wife of 66 years, Donna; their children, Michael and Chyrle Crane, Robert and Helene Crane, Steven and Deborah (Crane) Wallace; grandchildren, Shari and Enzo Duscenne, Michele and John Truchard, Jesse and Monica Crane, Peter and Samantha Crane, Magdalena Crane, Clint and Brianna (Wallace) Cleveland, Brandon, Micah and Melody Wallace; great-grandchildren, Valentina and Giada Duscenne, and Hudson, Liberty and Taylor Truchard; sister, Barbara Lyle; and cousins, David Zumwalt and Robert Botts.
Memorial services will be Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at First Christian Church, Napa, where George has been a member for 70 years.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to First Christian Church, 2659 First St., Napa, 94558; Kaiser Vallejo Hospice, 1761 Broadway-Ste. 101, Vallejo, 94589; or Yountville Kiwanis, P.O. Box 2416, Yountville, 94599.