Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Elizabeth Jones Crandall, M.D.

Elizabeth Jones Crandall, M.D., of Maplewood, N.J. and Shelter Island Heights, died on January 31, 2022 of complications of COVID-19. She was 98 years old.

She was born in Maplewood on Sept. 7, 1923, the daughter of Judge Benjamin Franklin Jones and Mabel Louise Stevens. She attended Tuscan School, Maplewood Junior High and graduated from Columbia High School where she was active in athletics and scouting. From her parents she learned the importance of community involvement and volunteering.

She was a freshman at Wellesley College when the bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor. The campus was transformed into a training facility for officers. Her older brother, Ben, came to visit her before sailing for Europe and impressed upon her that she would be responsible for her mother and elderly aunts if anything happened to him.

Instead of pursuing a career in science, she decided to go to medical school.

After graduating from Wellesley she entered Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons as one of 17 women in her class. There, she met a returning war veteran in the class behind her, who would become her partner for almost 70 years, Charles Eben Crandall. They married at the South Orange Methodist Church on July 26, 1947.

Slightly over a year later, the arrival of their first child required that Elizabeth take a year off. The couple graduated together in the class of 1950. They completed internships at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Elizabeth returned to Orange Memorial for residency in pediatrics and obstetrics and to Maplewood and the home she grew up in to raise her family.

After completing her training, she worked as a physician for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company for 10 years. She left industry and went to work for the next 20 years for South Orange-Maplewood School District and as a school physician and eventually as chief.

She served the same function for Our Lady of Sorrows for 30 years. During this time she also worked for the South Orange Keep Well Clinic.  In the mid- 1970s, Elizabeth moved into insurance medicine, serving for 10 years as medical director to the Prudential Insurance Company, the first woman to do so.

After leaving Prudential, she worked as chief medical director for American International Group and served as consultant to United States Life, Royal Life, Essex Life, Golden Life and American Centurian. After retiring from AIG, she joined the medical staff at Bankers Trust, which functioned as an urgent care for downtown New York and Wall Street.

Elizabeth was committed to her community.  She was Maplewood’s representative to the board of Planned Parenthood in the 1950s and 1960s where she was instrumental in reorganizing clinical services.  She and her husband joined with other physicians to vaccinate the community against polio when the Salk vaccine became available. 

She joined the Maplewood Recreation Advisory Committee in 1960 and served as chair from 1980-90 during the time the committee was spearheading the effort to build a community pool and served 25 years on the Pool Advisory Committee. In the 1970’s, Elizabeth became a founding member of the Drug Abuse Committee and served on the Family Services and Child Guidance.

Her most passionate commitment was the South Mountain YMCA. She also served as a long-term member of the board of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. In 1983 it occurred to her that the next generation of two-working parent families were going to need quality child care. She envisioned the YMCA as this resource for her community and threw herself into fundraising.

She was a lifelong volunteer with the Girl Scouts and was also active with the Boy Scouts.

Elizabeth was the first woman to serve as the President of the Board of Trustees of the South Orange (now South Orange-Vailsburg) United Methodist Church. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of Winchester Gardens where she was longtime chair of the Resident Quality of Life Committee.

She received the Distinguished Service Award from the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce in May 1989, the Maple Leaf Award from the Maplewood Civic Association in April 2010 and she was inducted into the Columbia High School Athletic Hall of Fame in May 2010 along with her husband.

At her summer home on Shelter Island, she was involved in the sailing program at the Shelter Island Yacht Club and was a trustee of the Union Chapel in the Heights.

In 2017, Elizabeth moved into assisted living at Lantern Hill in New Providence, where she became involved in resident governance.

Elizabeth was pre-deceased by her husband, Charles Eben Crandall, and two sons, David Jones Crandall and Richard Squire Crandall. She is survived by a daughter, Marilyn Crandall Jones, M.D., of San Diego; the Honorable Charles Steven Crandall of San Luis Obispo; a granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Washington, D.C., Abigail Elizabeth Jones and Florence Elizabeth Ferullo; a grandson, Warren Stevens Crandall of Los Angeles, and granddaughter, Joanne Elizabeth Crandall of San Francisco. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to: Peconic Land Trust,; Kennebec Land Trust (Maine); and/orFriends of the Great Swamp (New Jersey),

A celebration of her life is planned for later in the fall when it hopefully will be safer to gather.