JACK ROLAND CRANE
BENNINGTON — Jack Roland Crane’s wish came true on August 16, 2012, at 2:30 a.m., when he woke up “Safely Dead.” He was born to Mahonri Barnum and Mable Merrill Crane on January 3, 1920, in Montpelier, Idaho. He was a beloved and devoted son who helped his dad on the farm and hauled milk and freight. He spent almost his entire life in Bennington and his nearby ranch.
After eighth grade graduation from the old Bennington School, he attended Montpelier High School, where he served as student body president. He was active in sports and lettered in track, football, and wrestling. In 1938, he won the Montpelier High School Pentathlon and represented his school at the state meet in Boise in pole vaulting.
After a semester at BYU, he returned home and soon married Jennie Sparks on January 25, 1939, in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. They celebrated 65 years of marriage and created many family memories.
Jack worked for Boise Payette, J.C. Penney, and became assistant manager of the MH King store. King’s transferred him to Burley, Idaho, to train to be a manager for a store in Rupert. At that time he decided he really wanted to return home and buy a farm north of Bennington. That ranch became home for their eight children and a gathering place for extended family and friends. For several years he grew hay, wheat, and raised dairy and beef cattle.
In addition to farming, he worked at Allinger’s Clothing store, Western Auto, Jenkinson Equipment and Tri-State, Inc. He enjoyed greeting and serving the public and knew most people in the valley.
During World War II Jack was drafted into the Marine Corps and served on the USS General O.H. Ernst in the Pacific. He loved America and participated in patriotic programs. On Sept. 25, 2009, he was awarded a Montpelier “Citizen of the Year” award for his service by the Lions Club. He was also active in the Lions Club for many years and served as president.
Training and selling horses was a big part of his life. Inviting friends and family for horseback rides or sleigh riding parties brought joy to many. He built two cabins for family gatherings and developed two fish ponds, even though he didn’t like fishing or even eating fish.
Jack loved to create objects from implement seats and horseshoes. He made and gave away wooden craft items. His specialty was building “sawhorses” to be used for stools, tables, or chairs. He made and gave away over 2,500 as gifts and wouldn’t accept money for materials or labor.
He loved planting blue spruce pine trees at his farm, the Bennington Park and Cemetery, and along the highway. Produce from his garden was enjoyed by family, friends and neighbors and was delivered washed and ready to use.
Jack loved to help others whenever he could. If anyone needed a job done, he was the man to call. Evidence of his labor can be seen at the Bennington Park Pavilion and the Bennington Cemetery that once was a sagebrush and weed covered hill. He cheerfully showed up to help build several homes around the community. He was instrumental in bringing pipeline irrigation to dry farms.
Jack served as a bishopric counselor, ward clerk, dance director, Sunday school teacher, stake building committee member, priesthood adviser, ward missionary, and faithful home teacher. After retiring, he attended the Logan Temple regularly.
Jack will always be remembered for bringing laughter into the lives of others with his stories and jokes. His sense of humor was delightful — he had an anecdote for every situation. When he was in his 80s he was invited to be a greeter at the Oregon Trail Museum, where he entertained tourists and locals with his wit and humor.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, his sweetheart, Jennie, his daughter, Linda Crane Brittain and siblings, Julia Wright, Lynn, Merrill, and June Crane and three infant siblings. He is survived by a sister, Mary Lou Crane of Boise; his children, Steve (Charlotte) Crane of Bennington, Polly June (Lyman William) Willardson of Payson, Utah, Janet (Gail) Godfrey of Fielding, Utah, LaRee (Martin) Baker of Bennington, Kristi (Karl) Bartschi of Montpelier, Glenn (Debarah) Crane of Chubbuck, SunDee (Randall) White of Rupert; 32 grandchildren, and 74 great-grandchildren (and more on the way).
Funeral services will be held Monday, Aug. 20, at 11 a.m. in the Bennington LDS Ward Chapel, where friends may visit with the family on Sunday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Monday morning from 9 until 10:45 a.m. The interment will be in the Bennington Cemetery, with the services under the direction of Matthews Mortuary of Montpelier.