MARY CRANKER

Ms. Mary Edwina Cranker, born April 12, 1918, died as she lived, in the comfort of her home, on October 8, 2017. Mary lived her whole life in Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township. She grew up near what is now downtown Perrysburg. She lived there with her parents until the family home burned down and they had to move in with grandparents where she lived out her days (more than 85 years). Her grandfather, Edwin H. Simmons, built the home in 1887. She was loyal to family, and her greatest wish was to honor their memories. Mary saw many old homes in Perrysburg and the Township be lost to “progress.” She fought stubbornly to get her home on the National Register of Historic Places with the help of Bob Boyd, former president of Historic Perrysburg, then Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery and the Ohio Historical Society. She was proud of a framed citation commending her for preserving a farmhouse that has “earned a place in the Register because of its integrity of architecture and for the area’s early homesteading activities which it represents.” Visiting Mary in her home on Fremont Pike was like taking a step back in time, just as she wanted it to be. Mary was an only child and never married. In her words, “I never met a man who could handle my independence.” Mary retired from Owens-Illinois as an executive secretary in the 1980s and was proud of her service there. She was preceded in death by her parents, Alma and Clarence Cranker. She is survived by her cousin, Linda Hodge, in Michigan. Mary appreciated Linda’s efforts to touch base with her regularly. In Mary’s final days, she described herself as “The Last Leaf,” in reference to the poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes and the fact that all of her closest companions for most of her life had died before her. In her final years, this brought great sadness. At the same time, Mary was blessed with friends and caretakers who loved her dearly. She touched them with her sharp wit, kindness, fierce independence and feisty spirit. In her final days, she spoke often of these “true and loyal friends.” Lee Odegaard, his wife Jan, and their entire family embraced and supported Mary for more than 25 years, including her as one of their own family members, especially Lee who was like a brother to Mary. Phyllis Morton was a long-time and cherished friend, and Mary especially enjoyed their shared passion to preserve local history. Michelle Clossick met Mary through work with The Cocoon and they became fast friends. Michelle was blessed to spend Mary’s final days with her. Mary looked forward to calls from Alan and Vicki Merickel in France and proudly shared Alan’s book, “I M Natalie Who R U” often with friends. Mary stayed connected with the children/family of many of her oldest friends, and especially cared for Betsy Rubin, Alice Abraham and Gayle Moore. Mary looked forward to the weekly calls and holidays with her friend Roger Wyman until the week of her death. Bill Boden and his wife, Kathy, also took special care of Mary with yard work, special treats and more. In her last few years, Mary let Comfort Keepers come in a few hours a week and was grateful for the care that enabled her to stay in her home. She was especially grateful for the last week in which they stayed with her around the clock. This and Ohio Living Hospice enabled Mary to die at home as she hoped. Mary was grateful for the support and assistance of the Perrysburg Township police over the years. She trusted the officers with her life on many occasions and was deeply touched by the gift baskets at holidays. She trusted few but was a loyal friend to those she held close. Mary loved the music of Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole. She loved poetry and art and was quite creative herself, especially with watercolor and writing poetry. Every room in her home has examples of things she created with great talent, from a rug she made in her dining room to collages and watercolor paintings throughout the home. She was quite humble about her talent, but observers were always impressed. Mary also enjoyed travel and companionship of great friends throughout her life. Mary was an avid reader and critic of news and world events. She had great concern for the “discontent and rising tensions” in the world. Mary lived through many tragic losses with her family, the Great Depression, world wars, and the age of technology. She could not comprehend how young children could access guns and turn them on another and could not understand the current state of politics all over the world, something she remained deeply informed of and worried about until her death. Mary gave many gifts that will make a lasting difference in northwest Ohio in honor of her grandfather, Edwin H. Simmons. She  was one of the founding donors of the Perrysburg Area Historic Museum, helping to make the museum possible. She supported students in the arts at Owens Community College and students and faculty at Bowling Green State University. She was also glad to support Way Public Library and greatly appreciated that they house a book about her family history. Most recently, Mary was deeply troubled by the many hurricanes and storms that left so many homeless and uprooted, as it reminded her of when her family was left homeless due to a fire when she was a girl. She was aware of her great fortune in having family members who could take her and her parents in when they lost the family home. If you would like to make a gift in Mary’s honor, please support victims of the many hurricanes that struck the Caribbean Islands, Florida, and Houston. Mary requested not to have a funeral. She will be buried privately at Fort Meigs Cemetery with other members of her family. Arrangements were entrusted to Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, 222 East South Boundary Street, Perrysburg, Ohio (419-874-3133). Online condolences to the family may be made at www.witzlershank.com.

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