MARY SPILMAN CRANE OBITUARY
Born December 29, 1923, to William and Ethel Stafford of Live Oak, California, Mary transitioned from our world on January 3, 2023, in Sacramento, at her daughter's residence, at the age of 99. She transitioned with her daughter by her side. Mary is just one of the 42,000 women and men who have lost their battle with metastatic breast cancer this past year in the United States.
Twin brothers, Leonard and William Stafford; husbands, James Maurice Spilman and Raymond Rosco Crane, predeceased Mary Spilman; and Agnes, Mary's beloved yappy little Chiweenie. Agnes's ashes have been interred with Mary.
She is survived by her daughter, Janet Spilman of Sacramento and Pennington; Stepchildren, Stanley Crane of Salinas, David Crane of East Biggs, and Kathleen Graham of Atascadero. We ALL will miss Mary greatly.
Mary grew up during the Great Depression and the Second World War. She told stories of her family's Victory garden and was a lifelong supporter of Women's Rights. Mary was involved with The International Order of the Rainbow Girls and Eastern Star, serving as a Worthy Matron, and received her 50-year pin in the 1990s. The Masonic Community was an essential part of her life. Mary's first husband, James M. Spilman, was also a Mason.
After graduating from Live Oak High School, Mary attended Yuba College and completed her college experience at Chico State College. At the outbreak of WWII, Mary enlisted in the Navy. She boarded the train in Live Oak and headed for Basic Training at Hunter College in New York. After basic training, she was stationed at Great Lakes outside Chicago for most of her military service. She was also stationed in Nashville and San Francisco for short periods.
After WWII ended, she returned to Live Oak and married James Spilman, who had just returned home from multiple tours in the South Pacific as a Marine. They built a home together on the Spilman Ranch in Pennington, California, and farmed Almonds. When her first husband died in 1976, Mary attended classes on Pomology, at UC Davis, to make progressive decisions for the continued orchard development on the Spilman Ranch. Mary also owned the Stafford family peach orchard in the Lomo area.
Mary was a charter member of the Military Women's Memorial at Arlington Cemetery, where her military uniforms have been gifted to the Military Women's Memorial in her honor. While attending President Obama's 2009 Inauguration in Washington, DC, Mary and her daughter Janet spent several days touring the National Landmarks. While at the Military Women's Memorial, a group of 3rd-grade girls approached Mary and asked her to tell her story. Mary gladly did so!
Mary spent many years involved as a Commissioner and volunteer for the Sutter County Museum. She came from a family with rich California history and enjoyed sharing through community service while her involvement with Sutter County Museum and Middle Mountain Interpretive Hikes, and California State Parks. Mary was a third-generation member of the Live Oak Women's Club; her grandmother was one of the founding members. Mary also belonged to "The Bridge Club," which became a monthly ritual with a number of other women from the Live Oak area.
Mary was active in golfing, fly-fishing, hiking, and spending the summers in Yellowstone and the Tetons with her second husband, Ray. However, Mary also had a love of roses, and she had over two hundred rose bushes in her yard. Her favorites were the Peace Rose, Mr. Lincoln Rose, and the Chicago Peace Rose. Mary was a passionate Rosarian, and when she was not filling her home with warmth and kindness, she could be found in her rose gardens deadheading the spent flowers. We will miss her greatly.
Mary firmly believed that to have a long life, one must partake in a glass of wine every day at 4:00 pm. So with that in mind, please raise a glass in her memory at 4:00 pm when you can.
"And when great souls die, after a period, Peace blooms." Maya Angelou
~The family requests that all donations go to: The Sutter County Museum, 1333 Butte House Rd., Yuba City, CA 95993 and/or Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust (SBRLT), PO Box 3359, Yuba City, CA 95992
A private graveside service was held at Live Oak Cemetery on January 13, 2023.