Ann K. Crane, personnel director

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Ann K. Crane, who went to the wrong place in Dundalk when applying for a job and ended up staying there anyway for nearly a quarter of a century, died Wednesday from heart failure at Oak Crest Village. She was 93.

The daughter of immigrant Lithuanian parents, the former Ann Kwedar was born in Baltimore and raised near the corner of Lombard and Pine streets, where her mother and father owned and operated a grocery store and restaurant.

"As a small child, she only spoke Lithuanian, and the kids used to make fun of her in school when she was asked to solve a math problem and gave the answer in Lithuanian," said a niece, Fran Burch of Kill Devil Hill, N.C.

"She told of being taught to read English by an African-American woman tenant, reading newspapers in a back room," recalled Ms. Burch.

A graduate of Southern High School, she also studied clothing design and became an accomplished seamstress. She won awards in sewing and cooking at the Maryland State Fair in the 1960s and sewed much of her own clothing.

After working in a railroad job for several years, Mrs. Crane traveled to the Point Breeze area to interview for a secretarial job at the Western Electric Corp. plant during World War II.

Mrs. Crane enjoyed telling how she went to the wrong address — to the nearby General Motors Corp. assembly plant on Broening Highway — and was offered a position there instead.

During her nearly 25 years at GM, she rose from her job as secretary to the automobile assembly plant's personnel director to head of the department.

She retired in 1965.

Mrs. Crane was married for 31 years to Richard Crane, who worked in pharmaceutical sales and retired as a drug inspector for the state health department. She volunteered as secretary of a pharmaceutical association in which her husband was active.

The couple lived on Eurith Avenue in the city's Gardenville neighborhood. After her husband's death in 1996, she moved to the Parkville retirement community.

She had been an avid vegetable and flower gardener throughout much of her life, and was garden club president at Oak Crest.

"At Oak Crest, she had a garden patch where she grew vegetables," said Ms. Burch. "She also organized trips for residents to visit gardens in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia."

"She brought the gift and enjoyment of nature to many and enriched their lives," said another niece, Lyn Ann Randers of Woodbine.

Mrs. Crane was a diminutive woman who seemed to have an endless reserve of energy.

"She was a sweet little lady who only stood 4 feet, 10 inches. She loved to shop and did so until I dropped," said Ms. Burch with a laugh.

Mrs. Crane, who was also a world traveler, was proud of her Lithuanian heritage and had been an active communicant and supporter of St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in downtown Baltimore.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the chapel at Oak Crest Village, 8800 Walther Blvd.

In addition to her two nieces, Mrs. Crane is survived by six other nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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