February 14th, as many of us know, is Valentine’s Day. It is also the 53rd wedding anniversary of Jerry and Janeene Crane. Both have been very active in the community and are known by many people in town, but let’s go back a few years to see how this story began.
Jerry is from New Britain CT. His dad loved to fish and as a child Jerry would travel to lakes in the area fishing with his father. His dad discovered Lake Congamond and began to rent summer cottages there for the family. In 1954 his mom and dad purchased a camp property on the lake. After serving in the National Guard, Jerry continued playing guitar with his band, as well as being a disc jockey.
He began his aerospace career at Corporate Systems Center in Farmington, a division of United Aircraft, later known as Hamilton Standard, UTC. He was a project coordinator working on many projects with NASA navigation systems including the shuttle program. He retired in 1999.
Janeene was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her dad was a dairyman/farmer so she spent many years working at the farm and learning how to operate farm equipment and raise and show animals at the yearly livestock shows. Her other interests were playing in band, orchestra and singing a cappella. Janeene graduated from Colorado State University as an Occupational Therapist in 1967 and came to Hartford. She worked at Easter Seal, Children’s Hospital, CREC, Suffield VNA and The Hebrew Home and Hospital in West Hartford. After 40 years as an Occupational Therapist, she retired.
So how does a guy from Connecticut and a gal from Colorado meet? Janeene was living at the YWCA in Hartford working as an Occupational Therapist. Jerry’s best friend, Dave, was dating Ann who also was also living at the YWCA. Jerry was just back from a six-month deployment, so Ann decided to set him up on a blind date. Ann walked into the cafeteria on a Saturday afternoon and asked, “Anyone here want to go on a blind date?” Since Janeene was new in town, she raised her hand. She knew after the first date that Jerry was ‘the one”. Jerry was not so quick to realize this perfect match, but it was not too long after that, that he knew Janeene was “the one”.
After dating for two years, they were engaged and married, so Jerry asked his mom if they could live at the cottage on Congamond for a “few years”. They loved the lake life, boating and water skiing so they never left. For over 53 years, the cottage, after many improvements, has been their forever home where they raised their two children, Sue and Ken. They feel so fortunate to have both of their children living locally and to be able to have their six grandchildren living so close.
After Jerry retired, and while Janeene continued to work for another five years, they purchased a Candle Shop in Granby CT. “just for fun” and to experience being in retail. Freedom Candle Co. was a wonderful experience for 10 years – making many friends and providing the community with a wonderful product. Janeene ran the candle and gift shop while Jerry hand poured the candles in the basement.
Jerry and Janeene have been very involved with Citizens Restoring Congamond (CRC) over the last 35 years. Jerry was president for 20 years while Janeene took over as membership chair. Projects included lake clean-up, invasive weed control and renovating Babb’s Beach. Through the years CRC, Suffield and Southwick Mass have worked together to preserve and protect the lakes. And with the help of Suffield, Babb’s Beach has been preserved. In addition, Babb’s Beach is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. Jerry has also been involved in the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Suffield Rotary. Janeene enjoyed several years in the Suffield Garden Club, but her heart was drawn to volunteering at The Second Chance Shop. Over the last eight years she has worked with Chris Rago as Shop Managers.
Jerry and Janeene continue with their love of music and each other often enjoying their large collection of vinyl records in the music room listening to their favorites and maybe enjoying a martini.
Their motto has always been…. We love the life we live and we live the life we love.