Merrilee Patterson Crain, secretary and board member at Pensions & Investments' publisher Crain Communications Inc. and wife of Crain President Rance Crain, died Nov. 2. She was 69.
Mrs. Crain was active in charitable, business and family activities. She started the Gourmet Gala for the March of Dimes in Chicago and was a board member of the Hubbard Street Dance Company and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. She also ran the benefit and auction for the Lake Forest (Ill.) Symphony and later served on the board of the Orlando (Fla.) Museum of Art.
Mrs. Crain was born Nov. 27, 1942, in Providence, R.I. She grew up in Winnetka, Ill., attended the University of Illinois and graduated from the Katharine Gibbs School in Boston. She worked in the engineering department of IBM Corp. in Evanston, Ill.
Mrs. Crain met her husband, Rance, in 1965 on a blind date arranged by Rance's brother, Keith. They were married eight months later. The couple raised two daughters, Heather and Cindi, and now have six grandchildren.
“Merrilee was an extraordinary woman. It's very rare that a person combines creativity and intuition with a practical side, but Merrilee did. She came up with elegant solutions to problems that eluded the rest of us, and people gravitated to her for advice and counsel. We will miss her love, her pixieish sense of humor, her generosity and her invincible can-do spirit,” her husband said.
Christopher J. Battaglia, P&I publisher, said: “Crain Communications is a family-owned company, and Merrilee Crain was not only a longtime supporter of Pensions & Investments as a Crain board member, but she also infused her personal touch into our corporate culture, which has made Crain Communications a great place to work. “
Mrs. Crain is survived by her husband; her mother, Frances (who turned 100 in July); her brother, Pat; her daughters, Heather and Cindi; and six grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Nov. 12 in Craigville, Mass. n
This article originally appeared in the November 12, 2012 print issue as, "Crain board secretary Merrilee Crain dies".