Amherst Magazine

Jeffrey Stuart Crane
Jeffrey Stuart Crane

Jeff Crane died of heart failure April 19, 1999 in Santa Teresa, CA. He had been ill for several years with multiple sclerosis and diabetes and had retired from the practice of medicine in 1997 because of his disability. He had been in the hospital for a month when his leg was amputated at mid-thigh (he had earlier lost a foot to diabetes and gangrene) and was undergoing dialysis. I had known him from our first day at Amherst when we found our rooms on the second floor of Stearns. We roomed together sophomore year in South College and joined Theta Xi.

Jeffrey Stuart Crane was born February 22, 1936 in Stroudsburg, PA, and graduated from Stroudsburg High School in 1953. After Amherst he went to Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia from which he received his MD. I was at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia after Amherst, and so Jeff and I were able to keep in rather close contact. I presided at his wedding to Beth Margerum, June 17.1961 in Trinity Church in South Philadelphia, where I was assistant pastor. A week later he was the best man at my wedding. Following residency in Camden, NJ, and his service in the Coast Guard he joined the Kaiser- Permanente Medical Group, an early HMO, in 1968, moved to Sunnyvale, CA, and stayed there for the rest of his life. The job fit his character perfectly. He told me sometime later that he could have made two or three times the salary had he been self-employed, but he made a comfortable living and enjoyed regular hours. He spent his free time with his family and his elaborate model train layout, with the Boy Scouts, and in later years as elder and deacon of Raynor Park Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); Beth has also served as an elder and a deacon of the church. Jeff was first at Kaiser- Permanent's Santa Clara Hospital and from 1976 on was in its Santa Teresa Hospital where he helped expand the medical Staff from three physicians to more than eighty and organized the hospital's urgent care facility and served as its first chief.

We kept in touch by phone occasionally and would see each other from time to time when he came back East to visit. I remember that when his first son went off to college, Jeff called me and we talked about how traumatic that change is for the father.

I saw Jeff for the last time last May when he and Beth drove from California to Baraboo, WI, to see the Circus Museum there. We were living in Madison at the time during my brief retirement and we met in Baraboo. Jeff did not look well, but was his usual happy self. Lois convinced him that he should not walk in the heat over the large museum grounds on his wooden foot and so I pushed him in a wheelchair. (Beth was surprised that he agreed to the chair.) It was an odd feeling, pushing one's college roommate in a wheelchair. Many years had passed since we were relatively carefree Students at the Fairest College. As we said goodbye, I somehow knew that this would be the last time I would see Jeff, and I realized why he had had to make that long and exhausting trip halfway across the country. It was not just to see the circus, but he wanted to see us one more time.

We remember Jeff as invariably good-humored. He was the first to acknowledge that he never chose to work any harder than he had to, but being a bright guy he always managed not only to get by, but to get into medical school, to pass his exams, to be a serious and greatly loved physician and wise counselor to his patients. Requiescat in pace.

Jeff is survived by his wife Beth, their four children, Herbert, David, Jeffrey, Jr., and Dorothy, and four (soon to be five) grandchildren.

-Phil Pfatteicher '57
 

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