David Tarleton Crane’s
family had come to New England from Missouri, sometime in the
1800’s. His paternal line traced its roots back to Tarleton Lee
Crane (b1783-d1849) and Mary Crane (b1796-d1844) both of whom
are buried in the Crane Cemetery, in Marion County, OH.
David’s middle name was
one of the family names, so he gave his son, Lee, one of them as
The Cranes came to
Providence, and their determined ways, and the insistence, over
generations, to ‘do the right thing’ in all aspects of their
lives, gave them the respect of their peers, and the ability to
do well in their family endeavors. David’s father, Tarleton, had
four sons, and three daughters. His part of the family business
was ship’s chandlery, and as sailing ships declined, he looked
to other ways to maintain his income. He expanded his business
to selling boats, as well as the boating supplies, and he worked
hard to make the entire business succeed.
David was the fourth of
the sons, and the fifth child in the very active Crane
household. Growing up, he was, like his siblings, encouraged to
look at all the possibilities that the world held for his future
career. Always drawn to the sea, helping his father in many ways
at the chandlery and in the boatyard, the young man found
himself looking to a career on the sea. A good student, with
good grades, he decided to try for the Naval Academy.
Unfortunately, an appointment was not offered, so David went to
Brown University, as a Political Science major, with the intent
of joining the Navy when he graduated. Knowing his passion for
the sea, his family encouraged him to do so. He excelled at
Brown, and on graduation, applied for and was accepted in the
Navy, as a candidate for OCS.
David found the course
of study at OCS both challenging and invigorating, confirming in
his mind that he was ‘right’ for the Navy. He looked forward to
his graduation and commissioning as an ensign. As soon as he had
his bars, he would marry his sweetheart, Helen Bradford, and
leave for his first posting, US Naval Base, Guam.
The young couple thrived
on the Navy life, and David rose to the rank of Lt. Cdr. fairly
quickly, based on several outstanding tours, and meritorious
incidents, which not only brought him commendations, but rise in
rank. It was shortly after he became a Lt.Cdr, that his son, Lee
Benjamin Crane was born. Helen had returned to Providence to be
with both families for the baby’s birth, and David was given a
two week leave to be with his wife following his son’s birth.
Helen was beginning what
she called the best time of her life. David was stationed at
Naval Station Newport, and they purchased a small home in
Providence. A bit of a commute for David, but it was what both
of them wanted. For Lee to grow up in their hometown, and it
enabled David to continue to build his career in the Navy. It
would also allow Helen to be close to home when David was
stationed on a ship, and out on maneuvers. At the base, David
also took several tours at the Naval War College, the Surface
Warfare Officers School, and Command Leadership School. By the
time Lee was five, David was the XO on the Orion a
surface transport ship.
It was on the Orion
that the steam pipe explosion occurred that took David Crane’s
life, and changed his wife and son’s lives forever.