Celebration of Life
Obituary of Sheila Crane
Sheila Anne Crane
Dec. 29, 1938 – Sept. 4, 2018
Sheila Anne Foley Cunningham Crane passed away peacefully surrounded by family in Lady Lake, FL on Sept. 4, 2018.
Sheila was born on Dec. 29, 1938 in Manhattan, NY to parents Peter J. Foley and Joanna M. Byrne Foley, of County Wicklow, Ireland. Raised in the Bronx, Sheila played basketball and graduated in 1952 from Our Lady of Refuge Grammar School. In 1956 Sheila graduated from Aquinas High School, where she played varsity basketball, co-captaining her senior year.
Sheila’s lifelong passion for politics and community service was ignited after seeing Harry S. Truman in 1948 and John F. Kennedy in 1960 during their respective presidential campaign stops along the Grand Concourse.
Sheila married Robert E. Cunningham, of Brooklyn, NY, in 1961, producing five children: Joanne, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Rachel, and Sheila Anne.
In 1973 Sheila began work at the Stevensville Country Club in Swan Lake, NY, where she enjoyed a wide circles of friends. She helped lead the convention sales team, successfully broadening the hotel’s appeal to families, police and veteran groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.
Sheila married Lt. Col. (USA-Ret.) John R. Crane, of Liberty, NY in 1985. The couple’s melded family includes David and Judi Crane, Leslie and John Farrell, Stephanie Crane Gilmore and the late Stephen Gilmore, Jonathan Nord-Crane, and cherished grandchildren Katie and Dennis Blanchard, Dave and Jennifer Crane, Ana and Jon Shellem, Larson and Catherine Gilmore, the Farrell children: John, Karrie Ann, Amy, Jennifer, Jim, Tracy, and 12 great-grandchildren.
Sheila and John moved to San Diego, CA in 1986, later retiring in Gulf Breeze, FL where the couple focused on improving the lives of active duty service members, veterans, and their families. Sheila spearheaded passage of Congressional legislation for disabled veterans, helped co-found VFW Post 4407, and served as president of the VFW Auxiliary. Sheila was instrumental in founding the Veterans Village in Ft. McCoy, FL. She and John worked closely with VFW Post 4407 to erect monuments in Pensacola, FL honoring U.S. veterans who served in Korea and Vietnam.
Sheila’s commitment to the VFW Auxiliary spanned many years, culminating in her role as Florida Chair of the Voice of Democracy program, and election as the Florida President of the VFW Auxiliary Department from 2009-2010. Sheila revitalized the Voice of Democracy program, sending several Florida students to nationals, with one winning top honors in 2010. Sheila and John moved to Summerfield, FL where they embraced cherished neighbors and the active VFW community at Post 8083 in Belleview.
Sheila especially enjoyed spending time with their treasured grandchildren, close friends and family, and travelling extensively.
Sheila is survived by daughters Joanne Foster, Elizabeth Cunningham and partner Stephan Siletzky, Jennifer Cunningham, Rachel Cunningham and partner Richard Kitchener, Sheila and James Parks, and beloved grandsons Dylan and Liam; dear sisters Mary Measom and Eileen Foley, loving brother Peter J. Foley, Sr. and his wife Kay. Sheila is pre-deceased by her beloved husband John R. Crane, dear sister Joan J. Foley, and former husband Robert E. Cunningham.
Sheila treasured her many nieces and nephews: Ed Measom and Terri Miller, Christopher Measom and Timothy Shaner, Laura and Albert Martinez, Jeanne Measom and Guy Stephens, Maureen and Andrew Hunter, Peter J. Foley, Jr. and Teena Foley, Paul Measom and Marie Mayhew, their families, and adored Irish cousins.
A public memorial service to celebrate the life and service of Sheila Crane is scheduled for Mon., Sept. 10, 2018 at 9am at:
Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home
1511 Buenos Aires Blvd.
The Villages, FL 32159
352-350-7618 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A public internment ceremony follows at 2pm at:
Florida National Cemetery - BUSHNELL
6502 S.W. 102nd Ave., Bushnell, FL 33513
352-793-7740 or https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/florida.asp
In lieu of flowers donations can be sent to:
VFW Veterans Village
13005 N.E. 135th St.
Ft. McCoy, FL 32134
352-236-0823 or email@example.com