Obituary, Robert S. Crandall

Robert S. Crandall ScotiaIt is with sad regret that the family of Robert S. Crandall announces his death at age 90 on Monday, December 2nd at his home in Scotia, NY. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joan Marshall Crandall and their children, R. Scott Crandall, MD of Bedford, NH and Cynthia A. McOsker of South Portland, ME. He is also survived by his brother and wife, Clif and Linda Crandall of Ashville, NC. Bob was predeceased recently by his sister, Betty Fowler, with whom he shared a lifelong special bond. Born August 5, 1923 in Glens Falls Hospital, he was the son of the late Beatrice S. and James N. Crandall of Fort Ann, NY. Bob spent his early childhood living with his extended family on a 750 acre dairy farm in Fort Ann where at times they milked more than 100 cows morning and night. Bob graduated from Fort Ann Central High School in 1941 and lettered for the Cardinals in both baseball and basketball before leaving his agrarian roots and enlisting in the Navy on November 19, 1942. His participation in sports required completion of his daily chores before school and at night after practice or games. After basic training at Sampson Naval Training Center, he trained as a radioman in Bedford Springs, PA and was assigned to the aircraft carrier the USS Franklin, CV-13. He was part of the original crew. At this time, the ship’s company and the air group together composed the most complex combat team in the world. While serving in the Asia-Pacific War, he was involved in many battles with the Japanese Kamikaze divebombers and torpedo planes and witnessed firsthand the ravages of death and suffering during battles in the Bonin and Mariana Islands, Guam and Rota Island, Palau, Iwo Jima, Leyete Island, Manila Bay, Saipan, Eniwetok, Chichi Jima and on the carrier deck during bombing raids to within 100 miles of the coast of Japan. He was proud of the four stars on the Pacific Ribbon he wore as radioman 2nd class indicating his involvement in four major battles in the Pacific Theater. He completed his service to his country on the heavy cruiser, the USS Bremerton, at the war’s end sweeping for bombs in the Yellow Sea. He was honorably discharged February 1, 1946. Bob served under two presidents, (Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman) and was proud of his military service to America and advancing the universal hope of freedom and liberty for all. He worked diligently during the final years of his life to chronicle his war experiences in a personal memoir entitled, Big Ben the Flat Top: The Story of the USS Franklin. After his Navy duty, he attended the Agricultural and Technical Institute in Canton, NY for one year prior to transferring to Michigan State University where he graduated in June 1951 with a bachelor of science degree in science and agriculture. He married his college sweetheart, Joan Louise Marshall, on July 8, 1951. Joan coauthored his life and remained his best friend and confidant until his death. She provided a lifetime of unconditional love and most recently, extraordinary support and remarkable caregiving during the last two years of his life as he bravely confronted Parkinson’s Disease, depression and the myriad challenges of chronic disease and aging. After graduation from college, both Bob and Joan entered the classroom as teachers in Manchester, Michigan. Bob realized that a career in teaching science and agriculture was not for him. After a short stint in sales and advertising with the Yellow Pages, he joined the State Farm Insurance Company as an agent in Johnstown, NY until he relocated with Joan and their twins to Niagara Falls, NY in 1957 to become an agency manger with the company. He loved his position managing 18 agents in Western New York and created lifelong relationships with both his agents as well as their families. He completed his final decade with the company as an agent on Hamburg Street in Schenectady, NY, with Joan serving as his office manager. He served SFI as both an agent and manager for 42 years. After retiring from the insurance industry and seeking a hobby, he enrolled in art classes. He seemed to have an aptitude for this and worked mostly with acrylics and oil. In addition to painting on a traditional canvas, he loved to be creative and experimented with art on shirts and socks. He loved his jungle room at home filled with wall mounted displays of animals painted on palm fronds. His interest in aviation started during the war and he earned his pilot’s license flying extensively in the New England states and Florida. He logged hundreds of hours volunteering on the Restoration Crew at the Empire State Aerosciences Museum. He loved the warm weather and wintering in Cocoa Beach, Florida for many years where he and Joan loved the beach, dancing at the Port in Cape Canaveral, as well as entertaining family and friends. He was a lifelong Spartan and remained an avid Big Ten and Michigan State University supporter until his death. He was a lifelong active and engaged member of Riverside Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls, NY, as well as Union Presbyterian Church in Schenectady, NY, where he served in leadership roles and volunteered extensively. He loved to serve those in need through church programs and mission activities. He also volunteered at the Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, Proctors Theater and Habitat for Humanity. Bob loved gardening and landscaping on his property (especially working on his John Deere tractor), and maintained a small vegetable garden until his death. During his life, he also enjoyed boating, fishing and waterskiing with his family on the Niagara River from his Cayuga Island residence in Niagara Falls and later, the Mohawk River. Bob lived his life remembering that it is nice to be important, but more important to be nice and never asked anyone to do anything that he would not do, or had not already done himself. With faith as the foundation of his life, his behaviors and actions were characterized and framed by kindness, service to others and most importantly, love and devotion to his wife and their marriage. Care and concern for family, friends and community was always a priority. In addition to his two children, Scott and Cynthia and their spouses, (Judith T. Crandall of Bedford, NH and Thomas McOsker of South Portland, ME), he is survived by five grandchildren, Thomas McOsker of New York, NY, Ashley McOsker Picoraro (Jeff) of South Portland, ME, Bryce McOsker of Boston, MA, Lauren Crandall of Castleton, VT and Kevin Crandall of Henniker, NH. Calling hours will be held at Jones Funeral Home, 1503 Union Street (at McClellan St.), Schenectady, NY between 5 and 7 p.m. on Friday, December 13, 2013. A celebration of life memorial service will be held at the First Reformed Church of Schenectady, 8 N Church Street, Schenectady, NY on Saturday, December 14 at 2 p.m. with light refreshments to follow the service. Burial with military honors will be held in the spring in Moss Street Cemetery, Hudson Falls, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting consideration of a donation to the Wounded Warrrior Project in memory of all those who have served their country or the Thomas Corners Fire Department, 5 Airport Road, Scotia, NY 12302. To leave a special message for Robert’s family, please visit
Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on Dec. 6, 2013
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