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Gary Cranston, 72

Gary O. Cranston, 72, of River Falls, formerly of Fergus Falls, Minn., died with strength, grace and humor on Thursday, Jan. 1, at the River Falls Area Hospital.

He was born the son of A. Roy and M. Irene (Hensel) Cranston on March 24, 1936, in Minot, N.D.

Gary received a full academic and athletic scholarship from the University of North Dakota. He played basketball and baseball and graduated in 1958 with a degree in electrical engineering.

On June 9, 1956, he married N. Gail Sannes in Minot, N.D.

Gary worked for the Ottertail Power Company in Fergus Falls for 28 years. When asked, Gary would say his two greatest accomplishments were raising four healthy and strong children and quitting the corporate world to start a concession business from scratch and growing it into a successful family business.

He was a pioneer in Fergus Falls hockey. Gary started girls hockey in northern Minnesota in the '70s and coached youth hockey for 30 years. His coaching provided kids not only the skills of the game but a positive development of character. Gary was also instrumental in the development of the Pebble Lake Golf Course in Fergus Falls.

He will be missed by his wife, Gail; children, Catherine (Bartt Palmer) Cranston of Somerset, Matt (Amy) Cranston of River Falls, Amy (Dave Nathe) Cranston-Nathe of Fergus Falls, Minn., and Joe (Sue) Cranston of River Falls; grandchildren, Abby Cranston, Patrick Cranston, Lily Cranston, Alice Cranston, Sally Cranston, Joe Cranston-Nathe, Jack Cranston-Nathe, Roy Cranston, Walter Cranston and Irene Cranston.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Irene, and sister-in-law, Judy Monson.

A celebration of Gary's life was Wednesday, Jan. 7, from 4-6 p.m. at the Olson Funeral Home, 711 Pebble Lake Road, in Fergus Falls.

Arrangements were with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls and the Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.