Vernon Crane

Obituary of Vernon Reed Crane

Dexter - It is with sadness that the family of Vernon Reed Crane announces his passing from heart disease at home in Dexter on April 24, 2023. Vern was born in Exeter to George and Mildred (Reed) Crane. A life-long Exeter resident, he attended school in Corinth and graduated in 1956 from East Corinth Academy. He enlisted in the Army before attending Southern Maine Community College in Building Construction and Drafting and graduated Valedictorian of his class. He married his high school sweetheart, Donna Jean Lyford, on May 15, 1959, and they would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this year. After living briefly in Saco and working at Diamond International as a manager, he returned to Exeter to the Family Potato farm, establishing Crane Brothers, Inc. with his brother, Neil, in 1961. He was still a familiar face around the farm, marveling at the new technology the next generation was using on the farm. He was particularly proud that from a humble beginning on the Crane Road homestead the farm has grown to 4400 acres in six counties in Maine. He and Donna moved in 1988 to Dexter across from the family camp on Lake Wassookeag, which he had built in 1969. He was proud of building the new home with his son, Gary. In 2001, they finally moved directly to the Lake beside the camp, where he enjoyed boating, fishing and watching the grandchildren play on the beach and family gatherings. His heart always remained in Exeter, though. Throughout his life he served on several committees and civic organizations. He was chairman of the board of selectmen in Exeter for 21 years, a role he enjoyed very much. He was on many state and national agricultural committees. In 1998, the Crane Family Farm was honored as the Maine Potato Industry Farm Family of the year. All the children and grandchildren walked in the parade or rode on the float with him. He joined Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis later in his “retirement.” He enjoyed fishing with friends in Maine and Florida, and thoroughly enjoyed being a snowbird in his home in Nokomis, Florida. He became a master woodworker and was in charge of the Kings Gate Club woodworking shop. Family and friends will remember him every time they look at his many woodworking creations. His beautiful turned wooden bowls were highly sought after and grandchildren enjoy the many intricate wooden toys. Vern was a private pilot, flying and owning several planes on the farm in his personal hangar. He liked to land on floats at Lake Wassookeag and frozen lakes around Maine on skis to ice fish. He passed his love of aviation onto his son, Jim, and grandson, Andy. Vern and Donna also spent many hours camping and fishing, especially on Moosehead Lake. Grandchildren have fond memories of pontoon boat rides and tenting on Deer Island. He had many memories of the yearly trip to Pierce Pond with good friend, Mac Dow. He was one of four members of the “Bent Rod Club.” Vern also was one of the biggest Dexter Tiger sport supporters, never missing a baseball, softball, basketball or soccer game in which his grandchildren played. The basketball tourney was the only thing that lured him home for a week in the winter. Vern is survived by his loving wife, Donna, of Dexter. He was very proud of sons, Michael and his wife, Susan (Leavitt), of Charleston; James and his wife, Brenda (Graham), of Exeter and sadly predeceased by son, Gary. He remained close to Gary’s wife, Brenda (Wheeler) of Exeter. He had one special daughter, Anne Marie (Crane) and husband, Kevin Jordan, of Dexter. Vern leaves his brother Neil and wife, Lois Crane; sister, Charlene Cooney; and several nieces and nephews. He was also predeceased by grandson, Michael A. Crane, and is survived by grandchildren, Ryan, Andy, Allyssa, Lauren, Casey, Abbey, and Jenna, as well as 9 precious great-grandchildren. He was a kind and gentle man. Graveside services will be private. There will be a celebration of life at the Crane Family Barn, 2314 Exeter Road, Exeter, ME on June 10th at 3pm. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis, c/o Susan Reed, Treasurer, 23 High Street Dexter, ME 04930. Arrangements are in the care of the Lary Funeral Home in Dover-Foxcroft. Condolences and memories may be expressed at
A Memorial Tree was planted for Vernon
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Lary Funeral Home-Dover-Foxcroft
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