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VIEWPOINT;GERTRUDE CRAIN

Published on .

Gertrude Crain's smile warmed hearts, lit up rooms, lifted spirits.

Her loveliness and charm radiated from eyes a-twinkle with warmth, spirit, a delightful sense of adventure, of fun, fair play and love.

And her commitment to the values of this company, editorial excellence and corporate good citizenship, was total.

She's gone now, having passed away-in her sleep-on July 20 at age 85, but oh, what a legacy of accomplishment and inspiration, and what memories, she leaves with us. In cities around the world, you'll meet people in your business who can entertain you with their recollections of Gertrude Crain and her visits. She enjoyed breaking away to sample life outside the meeting rooms-maybe to climb into a race car to see what it feels like to zip around a track at 160 miles an hour, or go off to climb the winding stairs in an old Russian church steeple for a better view of St. Petersburg. Or to joyfully make her way to the nearest stream, rod and reel in hand, to pursue her favorite hobby.

The solid, steady leadership she provided to Crain Communications Inc. during the 22 years she served as chairman following the death of the company's founder, her husband G.D. Crain Jr., enabled this family-owned media company to become a vital global enterprise. When she first moved up to the chairmanship, Crain consisted of Advertising Age, Automotive News and a handful of other publications. Today, it produces more than two-dozen business, consumer and trade titles and, with Gertrude Crain's enthusiastic encouragement, a variety of daily electronic news delivery services.

As the company added publications, she would modestly credit its growth to its "good employees, their dedication, interest and skills," ignoring the fact that it was Gertrude Crain herself who attracted, inspired and encouraged us in the first place as she nurtured a growing company's "family" atmosphere.

And many years ago, with no fuss, no fanfare, she saw to it that at this company women would get those promotions into top jobs-editors, publishers, department heads. This was simply "as it should be," she would say. As a working mother 45 years ago, she grasped the concept of fairness in the workplace long before it became a movement, just as she kept us all focused on her late husband's credo of serving readers' needs, aggressively, honorably and respectfully.

Outside her Crain duties, she took time to enjoy a loving, active family life with her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, her sons, Rance and Keith, and daughters-in-law. As she grew into a confident, talented business leader, she also was indefatigable in traveling near and far to carry out her commitments to a number of associations and charities, and to accept the honorary degrees and awards that came her way, among them the Magazine Publishers of America's prestigious Henry Johnson Fisher Award for lifetime achievement in publishing.

It can't ever be exactly the same without her presence, but we'll be guided by her personal style and values, the way she lived her life and led this company and the publishing industry. So we'll manage to keep smiling, as she'd want us to. Rest in peace, Gertrude. With our love.

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