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Welcome to the memorial page for

Charles "Charlie" G. Cran

November 27, 1940 ~ November 1, 2017 (age 76)
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Memorial services for Charlie Cran of Warroad, Mn will be held on Saturday, November 11th, 2017 at 3 pm at Zion Lutheran Church in Warroad.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the services.  Interment will be at the St. Olaf Cemetery in Bode, Iowa at a later date.

Charles “Jo” Gary Cran was born November 27, 1940 in Humbolt County, Iowa to Albert Cran and Lucille (Larkin) Cran. He grew up in the town of Humbolt, IA and attended school there from kindergarten until he graduated in 1958. Education was always important to him. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, IA in 1963 and two education degrees from Mankato State University in Minnesota: a Masters Degree in 1970 and a Specialist Degree (PHD) in 1976.

Charles married Karen Helle on December 29, 1963. They made their first home in Northwood, IA as he taught in nearby Kinseth, IA. He took a brief break from teaching to work for Liberty Insurance Company. He returned to teaching in Morristown, MN. In 1970, he worked as a principal for the first time in the town of Frost, MN. He moved on to other high school principal jobs in Grand Meadow, Gibbon, and Warroad, MN. He then worked at Marvin Windows and Doors in Warroad until retiring in 2005.

Charlie enjoyed acting in plays. He became a founding member of Warroad Summer Theater (WST) and set up its funding aspects as the first treasurer. He acted in a number of WST plays including “Harvey” and “Arsenic and Old Lace”. He was honored recently as one of only 2 surviving founders.

Singing was one of his favorite things to do; he sang, hummed, and whistled all the time. He had a fine tenor singing voice and often received compliments at church and the Warroad Senior Living Center.

Family and faith were very important to him. As a young child, he got up Sunday mornings to bring himself to church on his own. His family eventually starting joining him. He loved children, especially his 3 daughters and his 12 grandchildren. He liked to teach them about science and nature and gift them with books, puzzles, and candy. He would often stop mothers walking by to compliment them on their darling children.

Charlie and Karen enjoyed several winters in Arizona and Texas, visiting relatives and old friends, as well as making new friends. When in Arizona, they would reconnect with Ana Cecilia and Lillian, exchange student sisters from Mexico who had stayed with them. Summers were spent fishing, boating, and doing yard work. He was always up for a road trip to visit grandkids in the Cities and relatives in Iowa. Norsk Hostfest Scandinavian Festival in Minot, ND was a fall destination. Other hobbies included cooking, playing cards, rummage saling, reading, and doing crossword puzzles.

He had been an active member of Zion Lutheran Church and Lions Club in Warroad since moving there in 1980.

He is survived by his wife Karen; his daughters: Kirsten (Kurt) Smith, Valerie (Nathan) Dahl, and Cynthia (Tyler) Baker; grandchildren: Nick, Ethan, Megan (Tim), Katie, Abby, Jessie, Carolyn, Jordan, Jessa, Kyren, and Henry; siblings-in-law: Danny Thompson, Michael (Charlene) Helle, Greg (Robin) Helle, Mark (Sharon) Helle, Susan (Frank) Bringleson, and Julie Helle; and many nieces, nephews, and long term house guests.

Preceding him in death are his mother and father; stepfather Mikkel Pederson; Siblings: Alberta (Don) Olson, Maxine (Lewis) Eller, Barbara Cran, Jan Thompson, Naomi Cran, John (Jean) Cran, and infant brother John; brother-in-law Gene Helle; granddaughter Nara Olivia Baker; and niece Victoria Thompson.

We are very thankful to the staff at Warroad Senior Living Center for their excellent and loving care.

 Service Information

Memorial Service
November 11, 2017

3:00 PM
Zion Lutheran Church
1301 Nelson Street NW
Warroad, MN 56751

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