In Memory

William B. Crane

William Bradford Crane Jr.
Napa High School Band Director

Beloved retired Napa High Band director, William “Bill” Bradford Crane Jr., passed away on Saturday morning, August 22, 2015. He was born December 6, 1927 in Boston, Massachusetts to William and Harriet Crane. He moved to Ferndale, California in 1933 where his father was a music teacher. He enlisted in the Navy in 1945, serving in both WWII and Korean War on the USS Iowa. In 1949 he married his Ferndale sweetheart and the love of his life, Wilmoth Gillespie. He received his BA degree at Humboldt State and his Master’s degree at Teacher’s College at Columbia University in New York City.

In 1954, he and his family moved to Napa, where he taught at Redwood Junior High, Napa High, and Napa Junior College. He taught many subjects, but his greatest passion was music. His style was “to teach a lot more than just music,” he taught life skills. He and Wilmy took many trips with the band to Europe and throughout the country, happily working together as a team. He retired in 1993 after 39 years of teaching in Napa Valley Unified Schools.

Here are a few of his accomplishments that lead to his legacy: Bill was a member of the Napa Valley Symphony, where he played violin and French horn, and participated in the First United Methodist Church choir and bell choir. He was also a member and president of the California Band Directors Association and received many honors, including Director Life Time Achievement Award, Napa County Man of the Year, and Napa High Teacher of the Year.

He loved the outdoors, including bicycling, gardening, hiking and trail blazing the Westwood hills, horseback riding, cross country skiing in Montana, trips to Alaska and Antarctica, and taking camping trips with his family.

Bill will be greatly missed by his brother and sister, Frank and Alice and their spouses June and Joe; his children, Terry Crane McDonald and husband Clay, Pamela Crane, Ginger Crane Faust and husband Bill, Nancy Crane, Lisa Crane; grandchildren Marriah, Noelle, Jessica, Kendall, Adam; and many great and great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his adoring wife, Wilmy in 1986 and his son William “Brad” Bradford Crane III in 2009.

He was a long time member of the first United Methodist Church. Services will be held at their temporary home, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 1105 G Street, Napa on Sunday, August 30 at 3:00 p.m.

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11/24/15 12:40 PM #1    

Loral M. Moore

"A saint is a person who makes goodness attractive." Mr. Crane did that, and very well indeed. I propose that henceforth in honor of his blessed memory, his birthday, Dec. 6, be officially declared, "Napa High School Band Day". I would also suggest that the colors of the day be blue and gold, and that you wear them proudly. And, at whatever time of the day band class met for you, if you still have your musical instrument, that you take it out and play (or at least attempt to play) a Bb scale for William B. Crane. And, if you don't have an instrument handy, just take a minute to sing, "Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do---"

01/17/16 01:43 PM #2    

Pamela L. Baldwin

This is belated--but I just read Loral Moore's tribute to Bill, and it is so fitting and wonderful....Mr. Crane and Mr. Hildebrant did so much to further the love of music for thousands.....It was quite a generation of dedicated teachers. I love the idea of Dec. 6th being "music day". I attended our 40th reunion's picnic in the park, and I am sure many of you that were there remember this spritely ole guy with the blue hat walking up and saying " I bet you don't remember me!"...Well, I never took a music class in my years at Napa High--but knew of him well, and today when I clicked on the "music" at the front page of this site, there came tears listening to old "Fight, Fight , fight, for Napa High" and the band---and I imagined Mr. Crane forefront with that baton...

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