Thursday, March 1, 2007

Obituary for Myrtle E. (Ketchum) Cragun

The following is the obituary for Myrtle E. (Ketchum) Cragun published in the Sacramento Bee on 5/10/2006. It is archived by

CRAGUN, Myrtle E. (Ketchum)
Born on January 4, 1909 in Newark, NJ, she died on March 13, in Sacramento, after a stroke. She was married for 53 years to Marvin W. Cragun, City College librarian who died in 1984. She is survived by three sons: Lawrence, Richard, and Robert. She had three grandchildren: Kevin, Darryl, and Anthony; and two great-grandchildren: Spencer and Cameron. Also surviving are her sister-in-law, Louise Clousing Cragun, and her nephews: Dutch Cragun, Milton and Howard Farney. She grew up in Groton, New York, and came to Santa Ana, California in 1924. She attended the University of California Southern Branch, which became UCLA during her senior year. As a certificated English teacher, she taught briefly at Oxnard High School and at Whitman College in Washington. For eight years, she was the executive secretary of the Sacramento Teachers Credit Union. She made many sacrifices for her family. When one son had to stay in San Francisco for a series of operations and a recovery lasting many months, she moved into a boarding house nearby to provide daily comfort and support. When another son, left high school early to attend the Royal School of Ballet in London, and then became a world-famous ballet soloist in Stuttgart, Germany, she arranged frequent visits and supported him in a truly difficult profession. Another son chose the Peace Corps and was assigned to teach in the Philippines. In his third year, he and a local co-teacher decided to marry. Myrtle had never traveled that far alone before, but she wanted to witness the ceremony and to meet her new in-laws. It was a courageous decision. Since that trip to the Philippines, she has become a world traveler: Asia, Europe, Russia, and the Americas. In her nineties, she learned how to use a computer. She was excited to travel on the internet and to send emails around the world. Her philosophy is best expressed in the poem Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant: "So live that when thy summons comes to join that innumerable caravan which slowly wends its way through the silent halls of death, thou go not like the quarry slave at night, scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams." In keeping with her wishes, there was no funeral. Remembrances may be sent to the Sacramento City College Foundation Scholarship in her name.
Published in the Sacramento Bee on 5/10/2006.

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