Nearly 1,000 people gathered Wednesday, July 24 to celebrate the life of Crain Communications Chairman Emeritus Gertrude Ramsay Crain at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Mrs. Crain, 85, passed away July 20 on Cape Cod. She was remembered by friends, family, co-workers and colleagues as a woman who put her family first, whether it was her immediate family of two sons, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, or her second family, the 900 employees of Crain Communications.
Her younger son, Keith Crain, company vice-chairman, talked of his mother's love for her employees. ``Our company was her family. It was, it is, and will always be a family business,'' he said.
Company President Rance Crain commented on his mother's ability to use humor to make people feel special. ``Mom charmed the great, the near-great and the never-will-be-great with equal sincerity and warmth,'' he said.
Indicative of her role in advertising and communication circles, Mrs. Crain received many industry awards including publishing's highest honor, the Henry Johnson Fisher Award from the Magazine Publishers of America. She was also a founding member of the Committee of 200, an organization of the top 200 women business owners and CEOs in the country.
At the funeral mass, Bishop Timothy Lyne recalled asking Mrs. Crain which honor meant the most to her. She told him that the Magnificat Medal from Mundelein College was particularly special because Mother Teresa and Dolores Hope had received the honor before her and that she thought she was in pretty good company.
Granddaughter Heather Hanson told the crowd about having dinner with Mrs. Crain the night before she died and how her grandmother had enjoyed looking at photographs of a recent Fourth of July family outing.
She was also remembered as a woman who enjoyed life and loved to smile. ``She had fun; boy, did she have fun,'' Rance Crain said.
At age 75, Mrs. Crain joined race driver Tim Richmond for a 160 mph spin around North Carolina's Charlotte Motor Speedway. On her 80th birthday, she went parasailing.
Mrs. Crain, who retired May 20 as chairman of Crain Communications, spent 40 years with the company. She was named chairman in 1974 after serving as secretary and assistant treasurer.
The company, founded in 1916 by her late husband, G. D. Crain, Jr., publishes 27 business, trade and consumer publications, including Advertising Age, Automotive News, Business Insurance, Electronic Media, Modern Healthcare, Pensions & Investments, Plastics News, (add your book here) and business regionals in Chicago, New York, Detroit and Cleveland. It has 15 offices worldwide.
Donations in her name should be made to the Service Club of Chicago, 104 S. Michigan, #721, Chicago, IL 60603.