Emily Townsend Crane, a long-time resident of the Plymouth area, died on the morning of July 4, 2013, at the age of 91. She was fortunate enough to be in excellent health until just before she died; the cause of her death was a stroke, or, in the words she would have used, an acute intracranial hemorrhage.
Born in Boston on May 9, 1922 to Dr. James H. and Amy B. Townsend, Emily grew up in the Boston area, where her father practiced medicine. The oldest of three children, she attended Shady Hill School, Winsor School and Smith College. With the United States entering World War II, she completed college in an accelerated fashion and immediately entered medical school in New York City. There, she met her future husband Hank, as she told the story, “during a black-out.” Emily married Henry DeVoe Crane, Jr., on June 13, 1944, and both subsequently graduated from Cornell Medical School. Emily interned at Bellevue Hospital in New York, and continued her medical training at Cambridge Hospital in Boston. She and her growing family moved to various locations during Henry’s naval service and surgical residency: Pensacola, Fla.; Quonset Point, R.I.; Norwich, Vt.; and Cambridge, N.Y. With the family and training complete, Henry and Emily moved to Plymouth, a location familiar to Emily from many summer visits to her family’s place (known to many as Webster Farms) in Bridgewater. They remained in central New Hampshire for the rest of their lives, especially enjoying the mountains, the farm and Squam Lake. When the many rooms of the house on Rogers Street in Plymouth were empty and Henry retired from medical practice, they moved to the cottage at Webster Farms with its surrounding vegetable gardens, flower beds, pine woods and family memories.
Over the years, along with raising her large family, she volunteered in many capacities: as the site supervisor for local Red Cross blood drives, as a Girl Scout troop leader, and as organizer for the local Wednesday night duplicate bridge club. She was a passionate bridge player, with a busy schedule of regular games with friends and family, until the day she died.
Emily was involved in the skiing world in many ways: using her medical background helping in the clinic at Waterville Valley, getting her children (and then her grandchildren) to their races on time, serving as secretary for the clubs at Waterville Valley and Loon Mountain, and ultimately working as administrator for the New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association, a position she still held at the time of her death.
Emily instilled in the family deep appreciation for both family ties and natural surroundings. Although a private person, living independently until she died, she cherished firm friendships with those of all ages. She was humble, kind and supportive.
She leaves her sister, Bettina Sawhill, and brother-in-law Buzz Sawhill of Bath, Maine; her sister-in-law, Nancy Townsend; one son, Bruce Crane and wife Anita of Park City, Utah; and five daughters (Suzanne Gilman and husband George of Holliston, Mass., Charlotte Crane and husband Eric Fox of Chicago, Ill., Cynthia Crane Fisher and husband William of Bridgewater, Dr. Margaret Mumford and husband Christopher of Plymouth, and Dr. Joan Barthold and husband Scott of Lyme); 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and numerous other relatives that she would not have considered distant. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. Henry Crane, and her brother, James H. Townsend, Jr.
A gathering celebrating her life will be held at two o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center in Plymouth. In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be made to the New Hampshire Society for the Protection of Forests Land Action Fund, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, or the New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association.