Suzanne E. Crane

December 20, 1923 ~ May 26, 2023 (age 99) 99 Years Old


Suzanne E. Crane, a dedicated and beloved high school teacher, school administrator, aunt and fourth generation resident of Marin County, died peacefully May 26 at the Lourdes convent for Dominican sisters in San Rafael.  She was 99.  

Sue was born and raised in San Rafael. After completing her undergraduate studies at Dominican College, she entered the order of the San Rafael Dominican sisters in 1946.  Her earliest assignment as Sister Matthew was to assist in the establishment of the Dominican Sisters’ Santa Catalina School on a new site in Monterey.   The school opened in the fall of 1950 on a 36-acre campus the order had acquired from a local rancher. Sue was instrumental in the school’s gaining prominence as one of California’s top prep schools for girls.   She taught English, and while she was a demanding teacher, she had a strong rapport with her students. They knew she cared. She was proud that many of her students went on to have successful careers in a variety of fields. Even in her later years, her students continued to stay in touch with her. 

She later taught at Dominican schools in Stockton and Reno. Along the way, she obtained two masters degrees, one from Dominican College and the other from University of Nevada at Reno. 

She left the order in 1970 and moved to Southern California, where she taught at schools in Los Angeles and Redondo Beach. She was known for her fondness for teaching the  “naughty boys.”   They thrived under her tutelage.  They said she was “tough but fair.” Many were grateful for her putting them on a path toward future success  She later became involved in school administration. When she retired in 1990, she was principal of Redondo Beach’s adult education school. 

She returned to San Rafael and enjoyed nearly 30 years of retirement in her home town, doing volunteer work at St. Raphael’s parish and keeping up with the neighbors she loved and her dear friends at the Dominican Convent.  She would often be seen walking around town with her two Maltese dogs. Her daily routine was to attend Mass, walk three miles and consume books. She would read at least two books a week. 

Throughout the years, she was a confidant of her nieces and nephews and was always willing to listen and give thoughtful and sage advice. 

All will remember her for her keen intellect and wry sense of humor. She was at her best discussing  the world’s issues and offering her prescriptions for its ills over her gin ‘n tonic. 

Sue cherished her parents Joseph Warren Crane and Alice Elizabeth Crane, both natives of San Rafael. 

Sue’s ancestors were among the earliest Europeans to settle California.  They were members of the Anza expedition that brought the first non-native American settlers to San Francisco from Mexico in 1776.   Her great grandmother Maria Guadalupe Antonia Jacoba y Delores Castillo was born in Monterey around 1820 and later moved with her husband, James Carr Crane, to Bolinas. James Crane’s ancestors came from England to Massachusetts in the 1620s. 

The family is grateful for the warm and loving embrace Sue received in her final days from the sisters of the Lourdes convent. The care she received from the Lourdes staff was second to none. 

The family requests those who wish to remember Sue consider making a donation in her name to Dominican Sisters Retirement Fund, 1520 Grand Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901. 

Funeral services will be private. 

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