BORN 1929 DIED 2022
CRANE Benjamin Field. Benjamin Field Crane, 92, of Santa Fe, NM, Brooklyn and Cold Spring, NY, died peacefully in his sleep on February 18th. Ben fell in love with the American Southwest and Santa Fe during a family trip in the early 1970s. He built his dream home for his retirement near the Opera in 1991. Ben was born on May 5, 1929, in Holden, MA, and grew up in Sterling, MA, Canon, GA, and the Bronx. This included a stint at Leake & Watts children’s home (now Rising Ground), where he and his brother Fred lived in the orphanage’s dormitory while their mother worked as its dietician (they visited her on Sundays). He attended Creston Jr. High School and the Bronx High School of Science. After one semester at the University of Iowa, he enlisted in the Army in September 1946 at age 17. When his service as a radio announcer in Livorno, Italy ended, Ben returned to Iowa and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in May 1951. He worked as a DJ, reporter, home football game announcer, and a member of the Central Party and Entertainment Committee, which brought bands led by Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and others to campus. After a debating tour in England, Scotland, and Wales for the English-Speaking Union, he attended NYU Law School on a Root-Tilden Scholarship, graduating cum laude in 1954. Ben was a lawyer with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP for 40 years , from 1954-1994, working on corporate financing transactions and mergers and acquisitions for major global corporations. He was in charge of the firm’s Paris office in 1965-66. Ben genuinely enjoyed his career, his colleagues, and his clients at Cravath.
He is survived by son Michael (Kate), daughters Betsy and Susan (Karen), grandchildren Cameron, Benjamin, and Harrison Crane; Noah, Alexander and Elsa Mushkin; and Lily Crane-Newman, as well as his sister-in-law Catherine Molloy, CND, his longest-standing pal Peter Leavy, cherished friend Marcia McHam, and many more family members and friends. Ben’s life during the past 8 years was enriched by Melissa McHam Green, a dear friend who provided wide-ranging experiences and all aspects of his care, as well as special caregivers Henrietta Cassie and Lorna Gillett. Ben was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 52 years, Sally Molloy Crane, and his “smarter than I am” brother Fred.
Ben was the most generous person any of us have ever known, not only with his extended family but to others all around the world. One of his favorite charitable activities was sending children’s books to a library founded by his sister-in-law Catherine in Kumbo, Cameroon. He also helped many relatives with their education, as he believed his life had been changed forever by his educational opportunities. Ben was an early proponent and leader in establishing the Brooklyn Bridge Park on old piers along the Brooklyn waterfront and was so happy that it became a reality. He took part in many other civic activities over the years. He and his wife Sally had wonderful friends in each of the places they lived and had an incredibly busy social life (he said he had been an introvert, but Sally changed all of that!) Ben collected Native American pottery, textiles, and prints; Japanese prints and art from the Pacific Northwest; Hudson River School paintings; and many books and antiques. Ben also had a fabulous sense of humor, a sharp mind, and deep empathy for others. He and his family traveled all over the world (he didn’t want to take vacations anywhere close to NYC and risk being called into the office), and he reveled in learning about other cultures. Inspired by Sally’s example, Ben wrote his own memoir several years ago. He was continually amazed, humbled by, and grateful for how his life evolved. He was greatly loved by his family and friends. While he will be hugely missed, he will have a lasting impact on all of us and is finally reunited with his greatest love, Sally. In lieu of flowers, donations in his honor may be made to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, Planned Parenthood of Greater NY, or the Santa Fe Opera.
A celebration of Ben’s life is planned for May 16, 2022. If you would like to attend virtually, please RSVP by email to: [email protected]
Published by Santa Fe New Mexican on May 12, 2022.