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N. Owen and Mattie B.'s Story

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One of The Greatest Generation and his wife of almost 70 years have both passed away within days of each other. Nathan Owen Cranford, age 97, passed away on February 13, 2017, and Mattie B. Way Cranford, age 94, passed away on February 18, 2017. They were married on March 29, 1947.
Owen was born February 10, 1920, in Stanly County and lived here all of his life. He was educated in the Albemarle City Schools and joined the Army Air Force during World War II, serving over 3 years in both London, England, and Kaufbeuren, Germany. After the war, he worked in the Lillian Mills, making full-fashioned ladies' hosiery before he transitioned to building houses for professors at Pfeiffer College and working in the building supply business. From 1965 to 1983 he worked as a Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service. Owen was very talented with woodworking and made many fine pieces of furniture and clocks, eventually moving to woodcarving after his retirement, where he could take a block of wood and bring out some of the most intricate characters and animals. He won many awards for his talent.
Mattie B. was born February 9, 1923, in Elloree, SC, and came to Albemarle as a new bride. She was educated in the Orangeburg, SC, school system, then attended Winthrop College for two years before transferring to and graduating from George Washington University in Washington, DC, with a Bachelor's degree in Secretarial Administration. She worked at the US Treasury Department for six years prior to her marriage. Mattie B. was a homemaker for 12 years before she began her 25 year teaching career as the first teacher in Stanly County for the Special Education students. She taught the Trainable Class for 23 years and the Profound and Severely Handicapped Class for 2 years. She was active in the ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) and honored as the ARC Teacher of the Year in Special Education in 1984. She was also active in the AARP, Stanly County Extension Homemakers, and the Stanly Memorial Hospital Volunteers. Recognized by the Albemarle Junior Woman's Club in 1960 with the coveted "Woman of the Year" Award, she was also a member of the NCAE and the Retired Teachers Association.
Both were very active in the community and in their church. Owen joined Central United Methodist Church in Albemarle as a youth and Mattie B. joined after her marriage. Both have served the church faithfully over the years, with Owen for many years serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and chairman of the property committee, taking care of the building and grounds. He built children's furniture and created a large walnut cross which he made to honor his parents, NC and Delia Cranford. Mattie B. taught Sunday School, participated in Circle groups, was President of the UMW (United Methodist Women), and supported many, many fund raising projects, always priding herself on being the high salesman of tickets to a given event. She was chairman of the bereavement committee for many years, only recently passing that torch.
Owen and Mattie B. also participated together in the Meals-on-Wheels Program, Friends of the Stanly County Senior Center, and the Community Concert Association. They were active in the ballroom dance events at the Senior Center and Owen provided the music for the weekly lessons as the DJ. They participated in the Senior Games every year. For almost 70 years, they were a team, working and playing together. Their lives were so intertwined that they entered eternal life together.
Owen was the son of the late Nivin Clark Cranford and Delia Aletha Little Cranford. Mattie B. was the daughter of the late Allen Shuler Way and Isadora Pearlstine Barton Way. They are survived by their daughters, Marian Elaine Cranford, of Carrboro, NC; M. Louise Cranford Artman (John), of Edenton, NC; Martha Ann Cranford Cox (Marc), of Greensboro, NC. Owen is also survived by his brother, N. Sherrill Cranford, of Newton, NC. He was predeceased by his siblings, Evye Clegg Cranford Hathcock, Hoyle Blease Cranford, N. Lois Cranford Parker, Nivin Wilson Cranford, Rogelle Little Cranford, Joyce O. Cranford Ward, and Mary Grace Cranford Freund. Mattie B. was predeceased by her siblings Elodia Isadora Way Mueller, Allen S. Way, Jr., Mable Rebecca Way Bochette, William Fishburn Way, Marian Augusta Way Bochette Ducker, Bessie LaDella Way Clinkscales Clancey, Pelham Felder Way, Charles Seignious Way, and James Edward Way. Both were predeceased by their daughter, Sandra Jean Cranford Raney. They are also survived by grandchildren Marian-Kathryn Cranford of Carrboro, NC; Marcus Barton Cranford of Pittsboro, NC; Hamlin Trotter Raney, III, of Wake Forest, NC; Townsend Bennett Artman and Owen Brinkley Artman of Edenton, NC; Nathan Marcus Cox (Kathryn) of Huntsville, AL; Katelyn Ann Cox of Durham, NC; great-grandson, Ethan Owen Cox of Huntsville, AL; and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life service for Owen and Mattie B. will be Saturday, February 25, 2017, at 3 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, Albemarle, NC, with a reception following in the First Baptist Church fellowship hall for friends and relatives. Private entombments will be in the Stanly Gardens of Memory mausoleum prior to the service. Pallbearers are Bob Morrison, John Apsega, Steve Surratt, Steve Parker, Dick Freund, Tom Weakland, John Freund, Leon Allred, John Artman, Bennett Artman, Brinkley Artman, Marcus Cranford, Trotter Raney, III, Marc Cox, Nathan Cox and W. K. Morgan.
Owen will be remembered the most for his woodworks and Mattie B. for her blueberry buckle. Memorials can be made to Central United Methodist Church, 172 N. Second Street, Albemarle, NC 28001, to the building fund, the music fund, or the bereavement fund.
Published on February 22, 2017
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