Around the office, Gertrude Crain often was called the Queen Mother. It wasn't an accurate title, but people meant in the nicest possible way. If you'd met her you'd understand why. Mrs. Crain, who passed away July 20, had a cultured, dignified presence about her. You might expect that from the wife of G.D. Crain, the founder of our parent company, Crain Communi-cations, and the mother of Keith and Rance Crain, the brothers who run the business.
She was very active in the company-indeed, she was our chairman until she recently retired. And no one of her age was more active in life, riding in a race car at 160 mph at age 75 and parasailing on her 80th birthday.
My fondest memory of Mrs. Crain comes from a meeting of Crain publication editors a few years ago in Cleveland. With Mark Dodosh, editor of Crain's Cleveland Business, I helped run the conference.
As one of the hosts, I got to sit next to Mrs. Crain at a dinner one night. We talked about a lot of things, and children was a topic of mutual interest-her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, my kids. I mentioned that my eldest son, about 12 at the time, was obsessed with bird watching and identification. I told her about how he could recognize about every bird imaginable just by their silhouette.
Mrs. Crain said she had a book about a fellow who was able to photograph hummingbirds despite losing his sight. She told me it was an inspirational story and my son might find it interesting.
Mrs. Crain promised to send the book to me, and the evening activities moved onto speakers, awards and other events.
I promptly forgot about her promise. Really, how could I expect the busy chairman of our company to remember such a small thing?
Two days later the book arrived, a copy autographed by the author with a personal note of appreciation to Mrs. Crain.
That's who Mrs. Crain was to me, as she was to many others whose lives she touched: a kind, thoughtful person. She was appreciated and certainly will be missed and remembered.