“My birthday was actually last Dec. 20,” Crandall said at his home Wednesday.
The retired veterinarian’s accomplishments are wide-ranging, according to those who know him. Many sports trophies and service awards adorn his home.
His latest accomplishment rises out of his love of music. Although age is taking its toll so that he can no longer play piano and accordion as he once did, he still supplies music and sings with the Mocking Birds at the Nathan Littauer Hospital Extended Care Facility Fridays at 2 p.m.
“He’s very dedicated,” Director of Recreation Linda Rohne said Thursday. “He’s been coming here for years to sing with the group.”
Rohne said the Mocking Birds group sings older songs the residents can relate to and often they sing along with the group.
“They have a passion for music when they perform,” Rohne said. “Doc is a doll.”
Fulton County Senior Chorus member Sue Furlong was picking up her copy of the CD “America” which includes a recording of Crandall’s song “I Love to Hang Around You” dedicated to his late wife Cora.
“I’m an alto and sit in front of Doc,” Furlong said. “I never knew how artistic he was.”
Crandall said he was “just a country boy” who liked music and had help putting the song down from Barbara Mauro and pianist Doris Dingman.
“I got in at the beginning,” Mauro said. “He had the words and I wrote the notes down. I do arrangements for the chorus. I think it started four or five summers ago and we sang it at our summer concert last year at Foothills [United] Methodist Church where we practice now.”
Chorus Director Betty Green said she appreciated Crandall’s dedication to the chorus as well.
“[Crandall] is wonderful,” Green said. “He’s very faithful and supportive. He always makes an effort to come when we sing at nursing homes.”
Pianist Dingman said she helped with the song as well.
“She put the final touches on the music,” Crandall said.
The song has been recorded by Hill Top Records in compact disc form with a professional singer, but Crandall said he preferred the rendition by Gloversville singer Anthony Ferraro.
“I think he puts more feeling in it,” he said.
The tune came to “Doc” many years ago when he was playing his accordion and then the phrase, “I love to hang around you and watch over you every day,” came to him, Dingman said.
Crandall said he had a picture of a cardinal put on the front of the sheet music because that was his wife’s favorite bird.
Besides the Fulton County Senior Chorus and the Mocking Birds, Crandall had sung with the Singing Rotarians for over 15 years and had paraphrased the song “Red Sails in the Sunset” for the Rotarians’ theme song.
“They told me they would put it in the Rotarians’ International song syllabus,” Crandall said. “I don’t know if they ever did.”
Crandall quoted some of the words from the song Wednesday:
“Blue, gold are our colors throughout Rotary,
“We try to help someone even over the sea.
“Service is our motto, friendship is our goal.
“We’ll meet on the morrow, our plans to unfold.”
Crandall said these days he was “wrestling with health issues” but in the past he has been active with many sports including tennis, bowling, volleyball and golf. He has a shelf full of trophies to prove it.
“We were the ‘B’ class champions at West Point in 1951,” he said.
He also has published a book of his experiences as a veterinary.
“My book, ‘The Holy Beaver’ tells about my experiences in veterinary medicine along with some comments on society,” Crandall said. “I comment on things like how we celebrate Christmas and how we treat our neighbors.”
Crandall counts among his accomplishments membership at the local YMCA for 45 years and 50 years at North Main Methodist Church.
“I was a trustee there 50 years ago,” he said.
He traces his musical background to playing piano as a boy on a farm in Stillwater.
“I never got good at it but I pursued it because I have a musical bent,” he said.
He said he operated his veterinary practice from his home for 20 years then opened Glove Cities Veterinary Hospital on Steele Avenue, operated today by Mark Will.
Crandall said he has kept up a garden for 15 years and has been active as a woodworker, giving away 25 jelly cupboards over the years to charity and family members. He is also a past Liberty Bell Award recipient for Fulton County.
“Today Doc drives his car, keeps his home and has been active in the Rotary Club since 1942,” Dingman said. “Not bad for being 95 years young.”
Richard Nilsen is a general assignment reporter and can be reached at email@example.com.
The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen
Having had some success with accordion and piano keyboards, Mark “Doc” Crandall tackles a computer laptop keyboard in his home in Gloversville Wednesday.