Sailing from subject to subject much as he has sailed incredible ships from exotic port to port, Ed Crane is as entertaining and interesting as he is energetic.

For a man who's lived for 77 years and retired twice, Crane is as active as ever--so active he prints out a daily schedule of activities, which is posted beside his desk in his meticulous home office. The office walls are covered with memorabilia, photographs and awards--many awards.

As a captain of industry, Crane purchased South Georgia Pecan Company with partner Ed Worn following his retirement from Beatrice Foods, served as company president until 1988 and is currently chairman of the board.

As a captain of the seas, Crane has indulged his passion for the water, sailing for weeks each year to exotic ports in the Meditteranean and Caribbean, seeing the world as the first explorers did--from the bow of a ship.

But it is as a captain of charities that Crane has made his biggest contribution. Widely known as a tireless philanthropist, Crane has directed virtually every major capital campaign in Valdosta and Lowndes County, including the largest one ever conducted in the county: Valwood School.

"I just have a special knack for raising money. It comes from experience. I ran my first campaign 50 years ago for what was then the Community Chest, which became the United Fund and then the United Way." Crane has also worked on the fund raising campaigns for the Boy Scouts, the Community Soup Kitchen, United Way, Salvation Army, Valdosta Technical College and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. But it was raising the millions needed to build the entire new Valwood School complex that was both his biggest challenge and his greatest charitable achievement to date.

"Fifteen million was our goal. We still need another two to three million for the Fine Arts Building," he said. "Prior to this campaign, there had never been a one million dollar gift in this county."

Crane said the key to successful fund raising is realism. "Knowing what you can do and what you can't do is very important. You have to be realistic about it and do your research."

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