- Professor Emeritus James Crane is a near Jackson native whose family moved to Jackson when he was seven years old. He attended Bloomfield school, West Intermediate, and graduated from Jackson High School, class of 1945. After serving as a Private in the Army Air Force he came home to Jackson and enrolled at Jackson Junior College while working at his Dad’s (Wescrane) service station. After a semester of graduate study he returned to Jackson and married his first wife (a JJC alumnae) Jeanette Forgie. Jim taught at East Intermediate for four years while he finished his degree, and looked for the college job he dearly wanted.
- Professor Crane’s long and distinguished career as teacher, painter, print media cartoonist-illustrator-designer, and writer has been documented over the years in work shown in local galleries and published in features and reviews in the St. Petersburg Times, motive magazine, Art Voices South, and other periodicals. He recently had a 50 year-plus retrospective of his work in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of his joining the faculty of Eckerd College. Prof. Crane has contributed strongly to the cultural life of the Tampa Bay community as teacher, founding member and trustee of the Arts Center, and member of the first city Arts Commission.
- Professor Crane writes, “Since communicating with you I have realized how important JCC was to me. The low tuition made it possible to stretch my GI bill into a BA at Albion and a semester of graduate study at the University of Iowa. Beyond that my teachers like Francis Henry, Ed Sussel, Sarah Lineburg Barbara Faussel and Miss Inglebright were among the best I had in two collages and three universities! They took hold of me when I was young and very green. They became my models and standard for what a good teacher is and does. It is not too much to say that even though none taught art, they helped me lay a foundation for my whole career. My highest ambition was to join them on the faculty of JCC. My shame is that I never told them and I hadn’t realized just how important they were to me. I wish that I could let the young teachers there know that there are diamonds in the rough in their classes – students they will validate and who will go on and someday make them proud of the good work
“Since communicating with you I have realized how important JCC was to me.”