Becky Cranmer (Florine Mardell Becker Cranmer) passed away on September 26, 2017 at the age of 96, surrounded by her family. She was loved by all who knew her for her compassion and contagious laugh. She loved her family and friends unconditionally and lived her life with great joy.
Becky was born in Seattle, Washington on September 23, 1921. She was raised in Gresham, Oregon and went to nursing school at Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon, where she met a handsome young medical student named Owen Cranmer. They were married in 1943. After Owen completed his military service, they moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1949 with their two young daughters. Owen joined a medical practice and the family soon grew to three young children. The coldest that Becky remembered ever being in Alaska was one New Year’s Eve walking home from a neighbor’s party with her children in tow, in total darkness and 67 degrees below zero!!!
In June 1952, Owen received a lengthy letter from his childhood friend, Dr. Ken Brilhart, who was chief of staff at Marcus J. Lawrence Memorial Hospital (now Verde Valley Medical Center). The small community hospital in Cottonwood, Arizona needed an OB/GYN to complete the medical staff at four physicians. The letter contained much discussion about sunshine, warm temperatures, and abundant recreational activities close at hand. The family moved to Clarkdale in August 1952, where Owen opened his medical practice.
Becky jumped right into life in the Verde Valley. Two more children were born. Becky was active on the Clarkdale School board for many years. In the late 1950’s, Becky found herself embroiled in the very first discussions regarding combining the three community school systems because of declining population and enrollment resulting from the closure of the mining and smelting activities in the area. She spearheaded a drive to join the Clarkdale, Jerome, and Cottonwood high schools. After many community meetings, Mingus Union High School was formed, originally housed in Clarkdale, and later moved to Jerome as the enrollment expanded.
In addition to being a devoted wife, mother, and community member, Becky loved being a nurse. Helping other people was always her passion and people were drawn to her because of her compassionate nature. Becky worked as a private night nurse, providing intensive care to extremely ill patients before hospitals developed specialized intensive care units. In 1965, she began working full time in her husband’s medical office. Later in life, she was a devoted volunteer for Northern Arizona Hospice, giving care and comfort to families and their loved ones going through difficult times. She continued as a hospice volunteer until the age of 90. Her final days were spent in the very beautiful Valley View Care hospice home, where the caregivers were exceptional and loving. She was often visited by those who had once worked side by side with her as hospice volunteers caring for others.
P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) was a big part of Becky’s life, as was St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Clarkdale. Becky was a very active member of the church, making prayer quilts for those in need, serving on the alter guild, providing housing for the interim priest, and being treasurer of the vestry.
Becky’s legacy included many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whom she doted on and who were a constant presence in her life and her house. She provided them with boundless amounts of love, energy, support, advice, and inspiration. She passed on her passion for cooking and knitting to many of them and influenced several to study and pursue careers in fields such as medicine and theology.
Becky was an avid jazz lover - the real traditional jazz where the artists would get up on stage and hold jam sessions. She was such a regular that she had her own table up front at the Weekend Jazz Party in Phoenix where she would make an annual trek with close friends and later her three daughters. Becky loved to play golf, sew, knit, cook, hook rugs, decorate for Christmas, and play bridge. She also liked to run, years before running was popular. She could often be seen taking the family dog to Peck’s Lake for early morning runs.
Becky is survived by her loving children: Vicki Dewbre (JW), Sue Ferebee (John), Rick Cranmer (Jeana), Liz Wolfe (Larry), and George Cranmer (Diane); Grandchildren, Jonathan Dewbre, Mike Ferebee (Heather), Chris Ferebee (Christy), Malia Cranmer, Briana Cranmer Howe (Weston), Nick Cranmer (Ryan Vidrine), Michelle Howard (Hyatt), Shawn Wolfe, Audrey Cranmer, Tyler Cranmer, Zach Cranmer. She also has seven great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life and mass for our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Clarkdale on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 2 PM followed immediately with a reception in the rectory of the Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations to St Thomas Episcopal Church, P O Box 1175, Clarkdale, AZ 86324 or to the Valley View Care (hospice home), 421 N. Willard St., Cottonwood, AZ 86326 would be appreciated.
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