Former professor and Starpoint School director Laura Lee Crane was remembered Wednesday as a gracious woman and an inspirational teacher who made children a top priority.
“She was a remarkable person,” said Robin Davis, a teacher at the Starpoint School and a former student of Crane. “She had the ability to analyze the needs of every child and figure out what worked for each child. No matter what, she put children first.”
Madge Thomas, a teacher at Starpoint and also a former student of Crane, said Crane would use as much time and resources as necessary to help her students.
“There was never a time that she didn’t know what to do,” Thomas said. “She found a solution for each child and knew which direction to point us.”
Crane’s body was found Tuesday in Oklahoma after she was abducted from a Fort Worth grocery store parking lot Friday, police said. Crane was director of the Starpoint School from 1969 until her retirement in 1990 and was also an English professor.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Thomas said.
Crane’s vast knowledge and understanding of children, especially those with learning disabilities, made it easy for her to connect with the children, Davis said. Crane emphasized to her students that they could accomplish anything.
Thomas said Crane would arrive at school before anyone else and would turn on the lights and get the building ready for the day.
“You came into a building that said ‘We’re glad you’re here,’ ” Thomas said. “After she retired I missed that.”
Crane’s warmth and compassion extended beyond humans to animals as well. Thomas said that during her time at TCU Crane would feed and take care of the cats on campus.
“She always had a positive aura about her,” Thomas said. “She sought out ways to make the ordinary extraordinary.”
As a professor, Crane constantly challenged her students and always had an answer for every question. She constantly investigated new ways of teaching and pushed her students to do their very best, Davis said.
“She instilled the love of teaching in me,” Davis said. “She made me want to be the very best teacher I could be.”
Thomas said Crane exemplified the model of an excellent teacher.
“You always wanted to do your very best for her,” Thomas said. “As a professor she had very high standards and she set high standards for herself, too. You knew she was working as hard as you were.”
After retiring, Crane tutored children of all ages, from 5-year-olds to graduate students. A curious person by nature, she constantly took classes up until her death. Davis said she was a technology whiz and even took classes online.
“When she retired from TCU she didn’t retire from working,” Davis said. “She never quit moving, learning or wanting to know.”
Davis said Crane’s impact on the school was phenomenal.
“There is nobody else like her,” Davis said. “She was remarkably beautiful, both inside and out. She was Starpoint.”