PERRYSBURG — Perrysburg Schools Foundation is the recipient of its largest gift to date from the estate
of Mary Cranker, Perrysburg High School Class of 1935.
While the exact size of the gift is still being finalized through the estate, the anticipated gift of
more than $1 million will create an endowed fund that will be used for early introduction to the arts
for Perrysburg elementary students.
Cranker died in October 2017 and spent her entire 99-year life in Perrysburg. She was an avid supporter
of the arts and quite the artist herself. She had a great appreciation for poetry, music and fine arts.
Cranker worked at Owens-Illinois as an executive secretary until she retired in 1975. While at Perrysburg
High School she was active in student government, the National Honor Society, the Somethin’ student
newspaper, science club, Latin club and dramatic club.
“While the relationship between Perrysburg Schools and Mary began when she started school back in the
early 1920’s, we had the chance to introduce Mary to the efforts of the Perrysburg Schools Foundation
and the opportunity to support the arts here in Perrysburg a few years ago. It was a pleasure to get to
know her and learn about her passion for doing good in our community,” said Jeff Abke, director of
development for Perrysburg Schools and the Perrysburg Schools Foundation. “It is neat to think about how
her generosity will be felt throughout the entire community.”
This gift, made in memory of Cranker’s maternal grandfather, Edwin H. Simmons, will be part of a
comprehensive fundraising campaign for the arts at Perrysburg Schools, from preschool through grade 12.
It will include gifts made to the arts booster groups, the Perrysburg Schools Foundation and the school
The goal is to raise $3.5 million in private gifts prior to Dec. 31, 2021, and will be formally launched
Wednesday at an event for supporters. Cranker’s gift brings the total raised to date to nearly $2
“To have someone include Perrysburg Schools Foundation in their estate plan, at any level, is humbling,”
said Rich Jambor, PSF president. “That is a very personal decision and it means that they deeply connect
with our mission, which is to support the students and teachers of Perrysburg Schools. For Mary to
entrust us to continue her legacy in this way is a mission that we do not take lightly.”
Along with student discovery of the arts, the campaign will focus on providing an enhanced student
experience in the arts, program growth and program sustainability.
“This gift and the corresponding campaign is a milestone in the history of Perrysburg Schools,” said
Superintendent Tom Hosler. “We have always had terrific arts programs at Perrysburg and set the bar
high, and now having the flexibility to push the boundaries even further is very exciting. Through this
gift, Mary is becoming the patron saint of the arts at Perrysburg. The students starting in preschool in
the fall, will graduate from PHS 100 years after Mary did, yet her impact will be felt directly by them
and for generations of Yellow Jackets beyond that. We are so grateful to Mary for making this happen.”
To learn more about Perrysburg Schools Foundation, visit www.perrysburgschoolsfoundation.org. To find out
more about the campaign for the arts contact Abke at 419-874-9131 ext. 2274 or
Information can also be found at http://www.perrysburgschools.net/ArtsCampaign.aspx