Luetta Mae Crane, 82
As the sun rose on Sunday Jan. 11, 2015, Luetta Mae Crane, 82, passed away peacefully at her farmhouse in Fennville.
She was born on Dec. 7, 1932, to Vera (Feight) and Leland Harding in Chariton, Iowa. She was their third daughter, tagging along behind sisters Gladys and Leta.
The Hardings moved with Leland's job almost once a year during Lue's growing up years. She never moved again after she met and married fruit farmer Bob Crane.
Fennville has been her home for those 63 years. Side-by-side, they raised five children and ran Crane Orchards Fruit Farm. In 1968, when small farming was more challenging than ever, the Crane's bought a cider press and started selling their fruit directly to the public in the form of apple cider, bags of fresh apples, and beautiful fruit baskets. In 1972, with Bob at her side, she opened Cranes Pie Pantry Restaurant and Bakery in their barn. She wondered if anyone would come. They came in droves.
Lue was a champion of Fennville Public Schools and was especially supportive of her 14 grandchildren's' academics, athletics and art shows. Her community involvement and commitment to her family ran deep.
In her later years, she paid more attention to her own artwork. She sent out hundreds of hand-painted cards to many over the years. She painted everything from apples on the floor of the Pie Pantry, to calendars, milk cans, aprons, furniture and even herself. She could take something ordinary and turn it into a thing of beauty.
She was preceded in death by her parents Leland and Vera, along with sisters, Gladys Sexton Taylor and Leta Chamberlain.
She leaves behind her husband Robert Crane; son Gary Crane and wife Sandy; daughter Rebecca Crane; daughter Laura Bale and husband Scott; son Robert Crane Jr. and wife Maria; and daughter Nancy Crane Roe and husband David. She also leaves behind her grandchildren, Erin, Mia, Eric, Cory, Tai, Rob, Morgan, Ben, Cody, Lucas, Chelsea, Hannah, Trevor and Taylor; along with 17 1/2 great-grandchildren. She is also leaving numerous nieces and nephews. She was also Aunt Lue to many other young people who worked at the Pie Pantry for more than 42 years.
Visitation is at Chappell Funeral Home in Fennville on Wednesday, Jan. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. The memorial service is at Chappell's on Thursday, Jan 15, at 11 a.m., with a luncheon following at Crane's Pie Pantry restaurant in Fennville.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial donations to the Fennville Educational Foundation at P.O. Box 231, Fennville, MI 49408.
An online registry book is available at www.chappellfuneralhome.com.