Nicholas Crane, a longtime University of Miami trustee and Orange Bowl Committee member, has died at 90.
Born in 1923 to a Connecticut chicken farmer who sold ice in the summer and fuel in the winter, Crane was the epitome of the American dream.
“He was the first person in his family to get a degree,” said his daughter Lisa Crane.
That degree came from University of Miami in 1951. Crane, who friends described as a self-made man, attributed much of his success to the university and gave back generously.
He was especially interested in providing education to the disadvantaged.
“Nick Crane was thoughtful, smart and just plain nice," said university President Donna Shalala. "He never gave up on his community or his beloved ‘Canes. He will be missed.”
Crane, who died Monday, was a member of the board of trustees and served on seven committees, including the executive committee, academic affairs, finance, and student affairs. He also was a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, the group that runs the athletic festival and annual college football game.
The University of Miami is definitely a better place because of him, said longtime friend and fellow trustee Arthur Hertz.
“He was generous in spirit and money,” Hertz said. “He would never say no to you.”
The same characteristics that made Crane an incredible philanthropist made him an amazing father.
“He was able to make whoever he was dealing with feel like they were the most important person,” she said.
Crane would drag Lisa and his son Nicholas (both UM graduates) to Hurricane football and basketball games.
Some of his happiest moments came when he was on the Orange Bowl Committee, the avid sports fan got to travel, represent the university and meet some of the most famous football coaches of the time.
Even in his later years, as he took his daughter to watch UM women’s basketball games, he was a loyal Canes fan.
Besides his son and daughter, Crane is survived by a granddaughter, Rachel.
A service will be 6 p.m. Friday at Stanfill Funeral Homes, 10545 S. Dixie Hwy. Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the University of Miami President’s Initiatives.
The University of Miami will host a memorial service in Crane’s honor in the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center at 2 p.m. Oct. 25.