Marion-Don Cranston passed away on Tuesday, April 24, 2018 at 10:24 a.m. at the VA Medical Center, with his loving wife of 49 years, Nancy by his side.
He was born on February 3, 1935 in Campaign, IL to Jean and Louise Cranston and married the love of his life, his best friend Nancy (Drzal) Cranston on May 17, 1969 in Chicago, IL.
Don served in the Army and was in the same unit as Elvis Presley while serving in Germany.
He always liked to say that Nancy found him in the yellow pages, he and his father had a Printing (graphic arts) business, when Nancy looked for a printer close to the Airport so she could stop and look at the planes, she found Don that day, they married a short time later and she joined their family business. That was just the beginning of their lifetime working together.
With their love of airplanes, they both had their Pilot’s licenses and he had owned two planes, a Cessna Skyhawk and a Piper Comanche. While still working in Chicago, they would spend their weekends flying to Southern Illinois where they had fallen in love with the Lake of Egypt and had bought a home there. They finally decided to make Southern Illinois their full time home and ventured off in the restaurant business with their first restaurant Brown’s Chicken in Carbondale. In 1979 Don and Nancy bought Tony’s Steakhouse and owned and operated the very successful restaurant until Don’s retirement in 1999.
He loved traveling, socializing, mingling with his customers and he loved his time spent at home at the Lake of Egypt.
He was baptized on December 24, 1999 at the Lake of Egypt Christian Church, where he was a member. He enjoyed his time spent at the church and made some special friends there.
Survivors include his wife, Nancy; his daughter Stephanie (Steve) Arey of Chandler, AZ; grandchildren, Steve Arey, Michael Arey, both of AZ, Michael Cranston of MO; and great grandson, Stephen Arey III; sister, Nancy (Everett) Kocher of Wheaton, IL; sister-in-law, Jacki (Ken) Van Cura of Tulsa, OK.
He was preceded in death by his son, Donald Michael Cranston; brother-in-law, Richard Drzal; parents, Jean and Louise Cranston and his in-laws, Martin and Irene Drzal.
His only regret in life was not getting to spend as much time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchild as he would have liked to. He dearly loved his family and all his furry kids.
Don’s request was to be cremated. There will be a visitation at Blue Funeral Home in Marion on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 from 11am-12pm followed by Military Rites being performed at the funeral home at noon. Burial will be at the Drummer Township Cemetery in Gibson City, IL on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at noon.
In lieu of flowers, Memorials may go to Lake of Egypt Christian Church or St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and will be accepted at Blue Funeral Home.