Isabel Crane Goldberg, one of Owen County's oldest and most beloved citizens, died Saturday, May 26, 2007, at her home in Spencer, Ind. She was 92.
Born in Spencer, Ind., on Oct. 24, 1914, she was the daughter of the late Edna Rice and John Freulingheusen Crane. She was the youngest of three sisters, Carol Shields Thorne and Halcyon May, both of whom predeceased her.
Married 57 years to Walter Sudranski Goldberg, who died in 1991, they were the parents of two daughters, Peg (Mrs. Joseph E.) Longstreth, of Naples, Fla., and Madi (Lynn) Arnett of Gosport. A granddaughter, Diana Lynne (James) Markland, and two great-grandsons, Jacob and Elijah Markland, also survive, along with one nephew, Conrad Shields of Marion, Ind.
Her ancestors were among Owen County's first settlers, where her great-grandfather, Wiley Coffey, moved to serve as a circuit-rider for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), bringing with him his family, all of whom were musicians, artists and writers. During the latter portion of the 19th century, they founded the Spencer Opera House in the tiny community. Later, Rev. Coffey helped found the First Christian Church of Spencer. A member of the First Christian Church for 80 years, Isabel was also actively involved in the Owen Valley Christian Fellowship.
A true Renaissance woman, she was possessed with boundless energy and creativity throughout here life. While still in high school, she was the first female lifeguard at McCormick's Creek State Park. Following graduation from Spencer High School in 1933, she became a secretary at Breeder's Gazette, where she met her future husband. Following four years in Illinois and Michigan, where (Walter) served as a troubleshooter for two large corporations, the couple returned to Spencer, where (Walter) managed the Farm Bureau Printing Corp. for many years, while Isabel worked at the Glenn J. May Agency/May Insurance Services, owned by her sister and brother-in-law.
In addition to working full time, she uncomplainingly assumed the responsibility for the care of two mothers, was more than a full-time mother to her two girls and still made time for a vast number of creative and civic projects.
It was through her efforts that a Summer Recreation Program was created in Spencer. Tennis and basketball courts sprung up to supplement the children's activities. When her children were growing up, their school was without band uniforms. Soon thanks to her efforts, a committee was formed to raise funds for the purchase of uniforms. When her daughters wanted to participate in Girl Scouts, she became a Scout leader. For several years her artistic talents led to the creation of some of the most sought-after "senior cords" in the county's history.
A talented, self-taught pianist, she co-founded the "Ike-ettes" with her sister, which spread throughout the country and composed the campaign song for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. (She also wrote several songs for her daughters to perform while she accompanied them and wrote arrangements for a number of musical events in the community.)
She co-founded the Owen County Civic League, whose first project was to rescue and restore the historic former Robinson House in Spencer. She was actively involved in the Alpha Delta chapter of Tri Kappa.
Highly regarded as an artist, she was selected to exhibit in the Hoosier Salon and at the Swope Gallery, was a co-founder of the Owen County Art Guild, a co-founder of the Hoosier Hills Art Association in Bloomington, Ind., and was a member of the Brown County Art Association. To further her artistic skills, she studied under the guidance of Curry Boehm of Brown County.
Always possessed with a way for words, in later years her lifelong passion for books expanded to include writing. She penned many poems and short stories and, most recently, just completed a magical novel entitled "The True Life Adventures of a Bear Called Charlie," currently in process of illustration.
Throughout her lifetime, countless abandoned and abused animals luckily found their way to the family's doorstep. Her family's love of animals resulted in Isabel and Walter joining with other citizens to create the Owen County Humane Society.
In the best sense of the word, she was a philanthropist. She was unfailingly generous and kind, giving freely of her talents and energies to scores of people in desperate need of emotional and financial support and to organizations to whose causes she was committed throughout the world.
She took great pleasure in the simplest of God's bounties: the scent of old roses and freshly mowed grass, the first fall breeze, twinkling Christmas lights and the coming of spring.
All these and a thousand more visions of beauty, she instilled in her family. We have been honored and blessed to call her our mother.
Calling was from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Wednesday at West & Parrish & Pedigo Funeral Home, 105 N. Montgomery St., Spencer, IN 47460. Funeral services will be held Thursday, 10 a.m., on May 31, 2007, at the First Christian Church in Spencer with Pastors Robert Wilson, Bill Grandi and Brad Polley officiating. Burial will follow in Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle, Ind.
The family request that contributions to honor her life and legacy be made to the Owen County Humane Society, the Owen County Art Guild, the Owen County Heritage and Culture Center and either of the two churches listed above, c/o West & Parrish & Pedigo Funeral Home.