On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Julia Lee Kraner, age 85 passed into God's care at home. She was born in Cleveland, OH on August 24, 1932 to Vanstan and Frances (Conway) Lee.
Julia is survived by her beloved children, Jody Kraner, age 59, Jeff Kraner, age 57, both in Youngstown; grandson, Brian Kraner, of Ravenna, Ohio; sister, Sandra, age 82, of Olmsted Twp., OH; three nieces and their families all of the Cincinnati area.
Julia's father, Vanstan, was from Asbury Park, NJ and worked for the railroad. He also sang in a men’s chorus that performed all over the NE. One of his unique qualities was that he did most of the cooking in the household which was unusual for the time. Her mother, Frances, was a pianist at a ballet school, which inspired Julia to both play piano and study ballet. At one time Julia had aspirations to dance professionally but opted for other directions after high school graduation.
The music you now hear playing is titled, "First Piano Lesson."
John and Julia met at a church social in Lakewood, Ohio, playing ping-pong. He was from Columbus and they married in 1952. When Jody and Jeff were toddlers, Julia started giving private music lessons in her home. This lasted for fifty years. In her early thirties, Julia learned to play the guitar so she could bring music to the inner city Sunday school students. She never turned her back on them when she played piano; it wasn’t always safe. In 2015 when Julia relocated to Austintown, she joined a ukulele group at the local senior center and again found joy in sharing her music. Learning another instrument kept her mind sharp and she made many friends through this activity.
Along with John, Julia founded the TORCH group (Teen Outreach thru Christian Help) which worked in inner city homes and performed/led folksings at Cleveland area churchs, orphanages, bible school camps and later at festivals and fairs in rural Mantua. John designed the logo for this group, which still exists, on the dining room table. He used his art and photography skills to create fliers for the group and captured the performances over the years.
When Jody and Jeff were in high school, Julia worked as a secretary in addition to her twenty to thirty music students each week. When she retired from Kent State after twenty years of civil service, she continued to teach, literally until the week she passed. Although the number of students declined, this was what brought her the most joy.
On March 17th she shared her music during a performance with the ukulele group at the Austintown Public Library. It was only ten days before her passing when Julia, again participated in a group (guitar, ukulele) sing along at church. Two of her most recent students had their first performance that day alongside her which brought her great joy.
One of Julia's former students from Hartville that took piano lessons from her for nine years said she was like a “second grandma” to her. A parent wrote on FB this week, “ Such a wonderful and caring person. I certainly enjoyed all the music making memories we shared. All three of my children had lessons from her.” Another post from Colleen in Atlanta, who knew the family since second grade, wrote “(Julia) is one of the most inspirational and loving people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. ..I will always hold Julia close in my heart.”
Julia's family will receive friends and celebrate both her and her late husband, John's, lives on Sunday, August 5, 2018 from 1 PM until the time of the Service at 2 PM in the West Austintown First United Methodist Church, 6749 Mahoning Ave, Austintown, OH 44515.
Arrangements by Cremation & Funeral Service by Gary S Silvat Inc. Send condolences to Julia's family by visiting: www.cremateohio.com.