There was no outsmarting Peggy Crane. A life spent raising children, traveling the world, and helping others made her a wise and happy woman. She also had a playful side. Her daughter, Carolyn, tells a story:

“When my daughter was around 3 years old, my mom picked her up at nursery school. Jenna refused to get into her car seat and put her belt on. So my mother said, ‘Fine. I brought a book.’ ”

At that point, the child was bewildered.

“My mother sat in the front seat of the car and proceeded to read her book until my daughter decided to get into the car seat and get fastened in," Carolyn said with a laugh. "My mother was always good for stuff like that.”

Mrs. Crane was 90 when she died from COVID-19 on Monday, April 20, at Springhouse Estates retirement community in Lower Gwynedd. The family had a virtual funeral on Zoom, and Jenna, now 23, recounted that story.

Mrs. Crane grew up in Hershey, Pa., and met James Crane at Hersheypark in the late 1940s. They married in 1948 and had three children.

Mrs. Crane with daughter Sally Ann, who died in 1984 at 34.
Courtesy of the Crane Family
Mrs. Crane with daughter Sally Ann, who died in 1984 at 34.

“She was always up for an adventure,” her daughter said, citing visits to Italy and Australia. “She liked to travel to see different people and different cultures. And they went through the Panama Canal one time. They said that was really cool, to go through all the locks and all of that.”

Mrs. Crane graduated from the business program at Elizabethtown College in 1947 and had extensive experience in retail. She worked at her father’s small store, Poser’s, at Park City Mall in Lancaster, and her husband’s company, James Crane Plumbing & Heating.

Her husband died in 2003, but Mrs. Crane hardly slowed down. Trips to Williamsburg, Va., to see Jenna at the College of William and Mary or to Conway, S.C., where grandson Derek Crane was a professor at Coastal Carolina University, followed.

Later in life she volunteered at Hershey Medical Center, taking books to patients and working in the gift shop. There were strawberry festivals, county fairs, and her grandchildren’s games and cross-country meets.

Mrs. Crane "was always up for going somewhere,” her daughter said.
Courtesy of the Crane Family
Mrs. Crane "was always up for going somewhere,” her daughter said.

She also did charity work and was an altar guild at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hershey.

“She was always up for going somewhere,” Carolyn said. “She had a good, long life.”

In addition to her daughter and grandson, Mrs. Crane is survived by son James, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by daughter Sally Ann.

— Ed Barkowitz, ebarkowitz@inquirer.com