CLEARFIELD – Gwen Crandell of Clearfield was named Woman of the Year at a dinner banquet Thursday at the St. Charles Café dining room.
She was nominated and then chosen to receive the award by members of the Clearfield Business & Professional Women’s Club. The club has given the award annually since 1944.
A vital member of the community for almost 40 years, Crandell has been involved in many groups, such as the American Association of University Women (AAUW), NON Club, Clearfield Woman’s Club, Clearfield Hospital Auxiliary, among others.
Crandell grew up in Smethport, Pa., and graduated as her class’ valedictorian. She went on to study English and drama at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
A teacher in Harrisburg, she later moved to the Clearfield area with her husband and four sons. Soon thereafter, she became a storyteller at the Joseph & Elizabeth Shaw Public Library.
Her story sessions eventually grew into puppet shows, which she took on the road to perform while visiting various community groups and organizations.
Crandell has been part of the St. John’s Players, Clearfield Arts Studio Theatre Inc. (CAST) and Reitz Theater in DuBois.
Since first starring as “Auntie Em” in the Wizard of Oz, she has been an actor, director and behind the scenes in over 50 local productions.
Additionally, she has joined local acts in dramatic readings and skits, as well as entertained at local events, such as downtown festivals and the Charity Ball.
Crandell, along with her family, has been especially vital to the AAUW organization in Clearfield. She’s served as the AAUW secretary and communications chair for 30 years.
More recently she’s been deeply involved with organizing the spring Books Sandwiched-In series at the Shaw Public Library.
“Whatever the future holds for Gwen, I know she will make our community a better place to live,” said Debbie Marino, Crandell’s friend and colleague.
“… She’s already taught our children to read, shared her love for books, entertained us in countless ways and most importantly she’s been a wonderful friend.”
Crandell is retired from the Clearfield Area School District. She resides in Clearfield with her husband, Bob and they have four grown sons, Dustin, Colin, Colby and Ben.