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Jack Crandall

The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Dr. Jack Crandall died peacefully Feb. 23, 2012 in St. George, Utah, after 88 incredible years on the bowed legs that had some asking: “Doc, where’s your horse?”

Born in Creston, Iowa on Sept. 22, 1923, Jack grew up in the nearby town of Afton. He attended Grinnell College and vividly remembered sitting in the cafeteria playing bridge with his buddies when news about the attack on Pearl Harbor came over the radio. Because he was pre-med, he went directly into the Army Special Training Program, which fast-tracked him into the University of Iowa Medical School. After finishing medical school, the war was over and he did his internship at the Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, followed by a residency (with focus on obstetrics) in South Bend, Ind. In 1948, he married Barbara Cash in Des Moines; together, they had three children.

Wanting to give back to his country for the medical training he received, Jack re-entered the military, serving as a flight surgeon in the Army and then the Air Force. After being stationed at Ellington Field near Houston and Landsberg Air Force Base in Germany, he and his family settled in Marshalltown, Iowa, where Jack opened a general medical practice. One of his patients was the mother of Ginny Horne, owner of the Prospector Lodge in Aspen. She told him how great Aspen was. An idea was hatched, and in the late 1950s, Jack and his family went to Aspen for a three-month stay. He drove over to Denver during the week to work at the Children’s Hospital.

After getting divorced, Jack returned to Aspen in 1962, first staying in a room in Mrs. Bibbig’s house. One of his first patients was avant-garde poet and mother of Fabi Benedict and Joella Bayer, Mina Loy, who Mrs. Bibbig was caring for. In 1963, he opened his office in the Katie Reed house (next to the Mill Street Plaza). On his daily walk to the post office he would stop by a CPA office located on what is now the Hyman Avenue mall, flirt with future wife Gesine, and continue the courtship in the evening at the Golden Horn, where she also worked. His sweet stubbornness paid off – they were married on Oct. 9, 1963 and their daughter, Kristine, arrived promptly, 10 months later. First they lived in what is now Bruce Berger’s cabin (designed by Fritz Benedict) on the west end of Main Street, then moved to an old miner’s cabin on King Street before building their unique round house on Willoughby Way in 1965. Jack and Gesine built the Patio Building (now the Crandall Building), designed by friend Tom Benton, where Jack had his medical office until he retired in 1990. He was known around town for driving the open-top, red Willy’s Jeep called the “Rollicking Rogue,” even on house calls in the middle of snowstorms.

With various challenging health issues over the last number of years, if you asked Jack how he was doing, he usually would say: “Not worth a damn, but otherwise I’m okay.” He enjoyed two beautiful years in his new home beneath the red cliffs of southwestern Utah, taking advantage of the warmer climate for the simple things he loved to do, including trimming the rosemary hedges, stacking firewood with his friend the packrat, and sitting in the sun.

Jack is survived by his wife, Gesine, of St. George, Utah; daughter Kristine Crandall of Ivins, Utah; daughter Julie Giove (Mike) of Sonora, Calif.; sons Tom Crandall (Belfast, Maine) and Jim Crandall (Chicago); four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and his sweet cat, Google.

His gentle, kind-hearted, and practical manner with his patients and people in general will be greatly missed, along with his unwavering positive spirit and natural Zen way. Jack’s big joys in life were his family, listening to jazz, closely following Colorado Rockies baseball, and reading. Friend Randy Gietzen has created a blog in memory of Jack. Please feel free to visit it, listen to one of his favorite jazz tunes, and share your memories: http://drjackcrandall.com. No plans for a public memorial service have been made at this time.


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