This week, hundreds of people gathered to honor and celebrate Loann Crane’s life. She was a champion, advocate, philanthropist, feminist, art collector, entrepreneur, school board member, and trail blazer in addition to being a mother, grandmother, aunt, friend, and mentor to all who loved her.
As her daughter, Tanny, said, “She was a force.”
Loann’s impact on the arts in Central Ohio cannot be overstated. Her memorial was held at The Columbus Museum of Art, where she served on the board for decades. At the memorial service, Nannette Maciejunes, executive director and CEO of the Columbus Museum of Art, shared that no consequential decision at the Museum was ever made without Loann’s counsel. As Nannette said, it was not because she expected to be asked, but because the decision would be better and stronger due to her insight and wisdom.
As a philanthropist, Loann approached fundraising with a “What are we doing about it” kind of mentality. While serving on the board for ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, she said to me, “I don’t care if you have typewriter ribbon, but I do care who is on the stage,” which was a direct reminder to focus on the mission and to remember why donors are inspired to give. She was never blind to the need for general operating support and when a small deficit was projected during a board meeting, she divided the amount by the number of board members and asked who was in to write a check.
Everyone raised their hand.
Loann was a source of encouragement for so many. After I started Mollard Consulting, she would always ask who my clients were whenever she saw me. She genuinely wanted to know how it was going because she cared, but also because she understood what it meant to start and run a business. Of course, her family knew a few things about business, with Crane Plastics and then Crane Group, but more than that, she, herself, was a business owner. She founded Winning Images, an art consulting business that she launched with Babs Sirak and Suzy Saxbe years ahead of their time.
As a consultant, I had the honor of working closely with the Crane family on the vision for Reeb Avenue Center. I’ll never forget the ribbon cutting ceremony where Loann was gathered with her family in the glorious sunshine on that morning with people filling the street, sidewalks, and every corner. She sat poised and she beamed with pride as she knew the impact her family had on making the vision for the South Side neighborhood a reality.
Just a few short years ago, a group of women created a PAC called The Matriots to get more women elected to office in the state of Ohio. I attended a planning meeting, and one of the people sitting at the table was Loann. At that time, she was in her early 90s. Every finance committee meeting was at her apartment for more than a year.
She was, indeed, a force. She was incredible.
She will be remembered not just because of her accomplishments or the lasting impact of her philanthropy, but because of the what the Maya Angelou quote so poignantly captures: “…people will never forget how you made them feel.”
When you were with Loann, you were with someone who was fully present, who was eager to share opinions and ideas, and who had an insatiable desire to learn, grow, think, and do.
Thank you, Loann, for your impact on the community that you loved so well.