Related | Click to read Mr. Crane's obituary
DALTON — Christopher Murray Crane, a sixth-generation member of the family that founded Crane & Co., and the first American inducted into the Currency Hall of Fame, died at his home on Friday following a long illness. He was 78.
A great-grandson of former state governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. Sen. W. Murray Crane, Christopher Crane held a variety of positions during the 44 years he worked at the company, which has manufactured currency paper for the federal government since 1879.
Last May, Crane was inducted into the Currency Hall of Fame, run by the Texas-based International Association of Currency Affairs, to honor distinguished contributors to the currency industry in the United States and around the world.
He is the first member of the Crane family to be inducted into the hall, which has only 11 members. Christopher Crane was vice president of Crane's currency papers division when he retired in 2001.
At the time of his induction, Christopher's brother Lansing Crane, who served as the company's CEO from 1995-2007, said the honor was a tribute to his brother's success.
"I think the family is so proud of our long relationship with the U.S. government and providing all its currency paper since 1879 and Chris was the guy who was the steward of that," Lansing Crane said.
"He personifies something that matters more to the family than almost anything," he said. "It's the bond that ties us all together, what the company achieved, and he sort of moved that forward in a very personal way."
One of Crane's favorite sayings was that anywhere in the world you can take a piece of Dalton from your pocket that will be gladly accepted for payment, according to his obituary.
A native of Dalton, Crane was a longstanding member of the Dalton Fire Department — and one of Berkshire County's first emergency medical technicians — where he helped train others, and volunteered for the ambulance crew.
He was named to the advisory board of the Dalton branch of the First Agricultural National Bank in 1972; elected president of the Western Massachusetts Ambulance Association in 1973; and was elected to a three-year term as a corporator of Berkshire Medical Center in 1980. He also served as a member of the town of Dalton's finance committee.
A lover of machines, Crane also spent many years in his shop, on his tractor, flying his plane, riding his motorcycle and driving his cars. Crane was also a member of the Lenox Club.
Born on Jan. 21, 1938, Crane was the eldest of five siblings born to the later Arthur and Cooley (Graves) Crane of Dalton. His great-great grandmother was the sister of Mabel Boardman, one of the organizers of the American Red Cross. Crane served as chairman of the blood program for Berkshire County's Red Cross Chapter in 1967.
He attended local schools in Dalton before graduating from the Eaglebrook School in Deerfield and the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. in 1956. He was also a graduate of Syracuse University.
Crane met his wife of 57 years, the former Gale Stanton of Clarks Summit, Pa., when they were both students at Syracuse. The couple was married in Pennsylvania on May 10, 1958.
Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.