James (Jim) Walter Crane

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James Crane was born on May 26, 1930, in Hobart, Oklahoma, to Lydia Helen and Byron Elmo (B.E.) Crane of Roosevelt, Oklahoma. He received the middle name of Walter in honor of his grandfather, Walter Hawkins. He is preceded in death by his parents, his sons, Randall Joe and Richard Allan; and his ex-wife Jo Lee Francis Sewell. He is survived by his daughter, Jamie Ann Crane Morgan of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and his grandson, Jason Luke Morgan of Norman, Oklahoma. He had no siblings stating that as he was born during the Great Depression, he felt his parents were worried about the financial support of adding more children to the family. Jim was baptized during his eighth grade year of school at the Methodist Church. Jim's parents bought the Bessie Telephone Company in 1934, where they operated and managed the company including maintaining the phone lines out to the farmers. At that time, only about half of the farmers in the area actually had phone lines. Jim recalled at that time there were no street addresses in Bessie, they used Post Office box numbers only until the Power Company forced them to put up house numbers. B.E. made his own "air cooler'' in 1937, during the drought and severe heat. He made it to cool the switchboard. The switchboard operated 24/7, they rarely had family events, vacations,or if they did they held them at their house. They attended the annual Hawkins Reunion until his 11 grade year. A favorite childhood Bessie memory he liked to share occurred when he was 12 years old. He and his buddies LeeRoy Buffing and Gilbert Schimmel attempted to turn over the outhouse on the Crane property (1942). LeeRoy was in the middle and fell in the outhouse feet first and was soaked in the items in the hole. The boys would also swim in Moses pond and spend long lazy days fishing and "doing what boys do" on Boggy Creek. Bessie lost its high school when Jim was in the fourth grade. Grades first throught eighth were then taught in two rooms at Bessie. Jim chose to attend Clinton High School, where he graduated. His father, B.E., was on the Bessie school board and served two terms as mayor of Bessie. Jim would follow and later served two terms as mayor of Bessie. Childhood best friends also included Harvey Beartrack, who later joined the Navy and became a welterweight boxing champion for the Pacific Fleet. Harvey and Jim's mother wrote letters monthly during the war. Later in life, Harvey silently watched and communicated with Jim how his three children were after his divorce from Jolee. Jim’s first "crush" was in seventh grade with Patricia Everett, (he bought her a box supper at the Bessie monthly social). He said his first love in tenth grade was with Barbara Street, and he took her to a picture show in Clinton. High School memories of his included him and his cousin John Bonner, running the real to the theater in Clinton. He started working in the movie theater as an usher at the age of 16 and worked almost every day of the week. His cousin worked opposite shifts and they didn't have a lot of free time together. When they did they would go to Mount Scott and Mountain Park, driving the Model A. Jim would take two weeks off during the summer and drive a tractor that would pull the combine during wheat harvest. His other high school friends included Harvey Beartrack and Joe Marshall. While attending Clinton High School, he states his English teacher inspired him the most. She enticed him to join a three act play, where he had to kiss the girl in the final scene. He stated he played this part too well and was disciplined after the play. His English teacher helped him get a scholarship to the University of Denver, where he begin his studies of radio broadcasting. Jim graduated from Clinton High School in 1948. Jim acquired his love for radio from spending evenings listening to it with his parents as a kid. (There was no television in Oklahoma, until June, 1949). While studying at the University of Denver, he rented a room from a widower not far from the college and worked downtown at a candy shop.  He would take the cable car to Elitich Garden's to listen to live big bands performing. He took a dance class in his first year in college and learned the Foxtrot and Ballroom dancing. Jim was in his third year at the University of Denver when he received a "secret'' notice that his draft card had arrived. He immediately enlisted with the United States Navy. He stated to the Navy that he would like to be an officer and fly. They looked at his college transcript and agreed to flight and officer training. While waiting for his orders, his uncle obtained a temporary job for him with Fruehauf in Long Beach, California. He stated it was tough to get a job in western Oklahoma as no one wanted to hire someone waiting for orders to leave. His letter to report for duty included a train ticket from Oklahoma City to Dallas, where he was sworn in. He was then sent by train to Pensacola, Florida, in 1951, for the Naval Air Cadet Program. In Pensacola he was in class 1541 (Pre-Flight). He then went to Corpus Christi, Texas, for advanced training, living on cadet pay at ninty dollars a month. After completing the training for landing a single engine plane on Navy carrier ships he received his wings in Corpus Christi, where he was made a commissioned officer by the President's office and assigned to Fleet Air wing 14, Pacific Fleet, San Diego, California. His VP40 squadron's mission was to conduct South China Sea Blockade patrolin support of the Korean War. His advanced training was in the "old" PBM sea plane, yet the squadron was later equipped with the brand new PSM sea plane. He volunteered to fly mail to Langley Point in the Philippine Islands, flying the PBY52 as he just wanted to fly this plane. During his Navy career he attended the Atomic Warfare School at Navy Island, San Francisco. While on leave and visiting his parents in Bessie, he met his future wife, Jo Lee Francis Sewell, at the Clinton swimming pool. They married and rented a home near the navalbase in San Diego. His flight log ended in 1955, as he sought more family time with his growing family. Following his Navy years Jim had a successful career selling Fruehauf trailers in his assigned territory of New Mexico and west Texas. He lived in both Albuquerque and ElPaso for many years. He was promoted to Branch Manager and relocated to Dallas where he worked until he retired. He then returned to Bessie to care for his aging parents. At this time he served as mayor of Bessie for over two terms. He enjoyed writing and obtaining grants for Bessie, including $99,000 to buy equipment for a food processing plant in the old school house, resurfacing for main street, new playground equipment, new street and stop signs, and working diligently with the Department of Environment Quality to modernize the Bessie wastewater area. He was an avid fisherman during his retirement years and enjoyed traveling with his cousin, Ruth Wiser of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and taking his grandson to tour all three of his Navy training bases