July 18, 2011
Dr. Jeffery L. Crain
Dr. Jeffery L. Crain of Midland, Texas, passed away at home on July 11, 2011. Crain, a Midland College professor for the Bachelor of Applied Technology of Organizational Management Degree, was 68 years old.
Twinkling eyes, unique spirit ... MC's Renaissance man
By Dr. Deana Savage
MC Associate Vice President of Career and Technical Instruction
Dr. Jeff Crain's blue eyes twinkled. They twinkled, and he had the countenance of a guru with mischief shining through. Unfortunately, the Midland College (MC) flag was flying at half staff for about a week as students and colleagues were saddened to hear of the sudden and unexpected death of MC's Renaissance man. Dr. Crain's friends are everywhere, from all walks of life, and MC joins with them in mourning the loss of this dear man.
Crain joined Midland College in February 2004 as a counselor in the Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC) at MC's Cogdell Learning Center. Approximately a year after joining MC, Dr. Crain became one of the first professors in Midland College's baccalaureate Organizational Management program and continued to provide the business counseling through the BEDC on a part-time basis. He had international cross industry management experience in finance, customer services, strategic planning, e-commerce systems and import/export. Crain held a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Management/Economics, a Master's of Business Administration (Finance) and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Applied Artificial Intelligence. He was an international speaker for the application of technology in business and society and was the key proponent to use artificial intelligence within the World Health Organization application systems.
Crain was an active member of the Midland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MHCC), serving on the Economic Development Committee and the Incubator Oversight committee. MHCC CEO/President Rachel Stone posted the following on MC's Facebook page: "I am still heartbroken to learn of my dear friend's passing. Jeff was a very good friend, not only to me but also to the many business entrepreneurs that would come through the doors of the Midland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I will miss our talks and the sharing of our dreams. Thank you, Lord, for bringing Jeff into my life even if it was for a short time!"
Before joining MC, Crain was a professor at a university in France where he taught business classes. After he moved to Midland, he still maintained a home in Bourgogne, France. "He so loved France and the French language!" exclaims BEDC Associate Director Betsy Fredericks.
In MC's Organizational Management program, Dr. Crain led students to recognize that their goals were worthy and that they could attain them. He advised, taught, encouraged and praised students throughout the program. Students in Crain's classes found challenges and expectations the likes of which most had not seen. He expected them to read carefully, expand their perspectives, apply what they learned and then stand up and tell others. When they did, there was a twinkling of those blue eyes and Crain's face shined with the same joy as theirs.
For colleagues, Crain was a source of energy and inspiration. He was congenial and interesting, with an informed and different world view. He shared work easily and was genuinely interested in other perspectives. Crain embraced tasks such as accreditation planning and student learning assessment as opportunities to grow and apply his hugely creative mind. He volunteered to lead groups and to serve on committees. He created thoughtful, data rich documents that demonstrated that he not only grasped the spirit and the letter of any request but also tested both against his own high standards of relevance. Dr. Crain led his colleagues to conclude that projects were worthwhile and connected to bigger spheres and important initiatives.
Dr. Crain, unassumingly led students and colleagues to realize their potential. When the news of his passing was announced on MC's Facebook page, more posts and comments were received relating to this announcement than any other single MC event in the past two years. MC Web Editor Jeff McDonald maintains the college's Facebook page and reports, "The outpouring of student and colleague comments over the past 10 days has been phenomenal!"
MC Professional Pilot Instructor Craig Patterson posted, "I really enjoyed talking with Jeff. He was great with conversations as I passed by him in the breezeway and the hallway on my way to the office. Miss you Jeff!"
Kelly, one of Dr Crain's students, left the following comment: "Dr. Crain will be missed by so many! He treated each student as an individual and truly cared about each of us and believed we could do more when we wanted to give up! He was not just a professor, but also a friend!"
MC student, Laura Hanson, commented, "Dr. Crain was a friend, teacher and mentor to many of us. He will be missed. He was so good to his students and was admired by may. He brought a new concept of learning to many of us and we excelled. He was never too busy to help."
One of Dr. Crain's students, Amme Cole, became his protégé in the faculty ranks and now assumes his role as leader of the program. He followed her through her academic career reporting gleefully when she and Patrick Repman, another early grad, became stellar participants in a nearby graduate program. Crain didn't just set high bars; he gave thoughtful needed support, reaching out to students to help them deal with life stresses without tossing their educational goals. Many, many students have stories to tell of how Crain's empathy, accommodation and encouragement got them through the program.
A Facebook post by Gloria Irene Rangel speaks of Crain's caring attitude, "Dr. Crain was truly one of the best instructors I have ever had (even though he made me read that terrible ethics book). When I was having difficult times at home, he allowed me to finish my courses when I could. He would always email me to see if things were getting better. I am ever so thankful for his compassion. I will always remember him."
The great devotion of Crain's students reflects his devotion to them. And now, their grief provides a measure of the loss suffered by the MC family. Dr. Jeff Crain was beloved professor, respected colleague, cherished friend and unique spirit.
Memorial contributions in Dr. Crain's honor can be made online by visiting Give a Gift or, you can mail your donation to:
MIDLAND COLLEGE FOUNDATION INC.
3600 N. GARFIELD • MIDLAND, TX 79705