With 96- and 98-year-old siblings, “youngster” Milton Crane is still cranking out his best life as a member of the Bad Boy Bikers Club and breezed through the Peachtree Road Race at 88.
At 89, he appeared in Temple Sinai’s “Dancing with the Stars” with professional partner, Valentina. In addition to winning the genetic lottery, Crane shares his lifestyle tips…
Crane grew up in Stoughton, Mass., a suburb of 6,000, located 18 miles from Boston, with only 46 Jewish families. He recalled, “We had a full-time rabbi who prepared bar (no bat) mitzvah students for three years, three days weekly, individual lessons at his kitchen table while he sipped hot tea with sugar cubes.”
Crane went on to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, majoring in economics, and in 1948, he met his future wife, Evelyn Postman, freshman week. He then served two years in the Air Force stationed at Brunswick, Maine. After the service, he moved to Lynn, Mass., one block from the beach, which was at the time unusable due to a major polio epidemic.
After earning his MBA, he transferred to Atlanta in 1956. Crane recalled, “I almost turned down the promotion due to segregation, but very happy that we made the move.”
A snazzy dresser himself, Crane first had a career in the women’s fashion business, when the Merchandise Mart opened in 1960, as a regional manager. He later joined the corporate world with Portman’s Apparel Mart 1989 as executive director of mart relations, until retirement at 75.
Crane’s road map for longevity: “Daily exercise for the body and the mind. I started running in 1967 with the JCC Early Birds who met at 6:30 a.m., before there were running shoes. Took part in the first Peachtree Road Race! After a 1975 trip to the Big Sur in California, I was exposed to “rolfing” or structural realignment, and tai chi, to which I attribute my good health today. After running, I started biking with Bad Boy Bikers where I am still a member.”
Crane volunteered many years with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Emory University as the “best brain exercise,” where he served on the board, curriculum committee, and as a teacher for his popular class, “Meet the Authors,” where he brought in seven regional guest authors. He remains as a consultant.
Ever personable, Crane appeared in two TV productions, “Lodge 49” and “Wonder Years,” and was member of a senior acting ensemble, memorizing and writing lines. He believes in long-term projects like belonging to their couple’s book club for the past 43 years; the club is currently reading, “Signal Fires,” by Dani Shapiro.
Crane follows the “Yen Diet,” and explained exactly how that works.
“If I ever have a yen for something (steak, lamb chops, dessert) I feel that it’s my body telling me it’s needed to balance nutrition, and I should indulge, but only in a very small way…supplemented with the same variety of vitamins since 1975.”
Crane has been a member of Temple Sinai since 1970. During his 80s, he became a board member, then secretary, and ran other activities involving aging and fine arts. The Cranes have three daughters, three grandchildren and two grand dogs.
Quick round with Crane:
AJT: Idea of a fun night?
Crane: Saturday matinee at Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center followed by dinner at Select or Brooklyn Café.
AJT: Idea of best vacation?
Crane: Pre-pandemic was going to New York City for five days seeing Broadway shows, museums, restaurants; traveling in Maine, feasting on lobster.
AJT: Favorite pleasure trips?
Crane: France, Italy, Greece, Israel, and business trips to Colombia, South Korea, Spain, Canada, the most recent as consultant critiquing their efforts to design for the American woman.
AJT: Secret to a happy marriage?
Crane: Just celebrated our 70th anniversary. Having the same set of values, supporting each other, realizing it is always a work in progress, with pleasure along the way. May help to have a wife who’s a psychologist!
AJT: Fondest old memory?
Crane: Riding in the rumble seat of a friend’s 1932 Pontiac coupe.