Harrisburg Mayor Dies After Cancer Battle


By Michelle Madaras
By Randy Livingston
By Amy Fox
By Joe Carr

UPDATED 10:30 p.m. THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014
HARRISBURG -- Harrisburg is remembering its mayor. Ron Crank died Thursday morning, just a year after being named to the job.
Crank served on the Harrisburg City Council for three years before he was named mayor in 2013. Recently, he was forced to step down to continue cancer treatments. Harrisburg's City Council meeting went on as planned Thursday night, but leaders took time to remember Crank and his legacy.
Hearts were heavy and emotions were high inside the Harrisburg City Council Chamber.
Harrisburg Commissioner Dale Fowler said, "It's a very sad day for the city of Harrisburg. Any time you lose the leadership of a mayor or a public official that's dedicated a large portion of their life to the city and the betterment of the city, it's a difficult time."
"He loved to hit that gavel up there and make sure everyone knew he was in charge when he was in the city council chamber," said commissioner John McPeek.
For four years, McPeek worked closely with Crank, serving on city council together. One of McPeek's favorite memories was when Crank was first elected.
"The very first meeting, he walked in with this really old red brief case and he kind of set it down on the desk and I thought right then, he's going to take this job really serious," said McPeek.
Colleagues say even when he was battling brain cancer, Crank stayed positive and strived to make Harrisburg a better place.
Fowler said, "Mayor Crank was always extremely upbeat even when he knew he had an extreme illness, he was always upbeat and his treatments were going to give him extended life."
Crank touched many people during his time in office, even in the final months. And, fellow leaders say he will be remembered for years to come.
"He's going to be missed. And, I think he was in here tonight actually because everyone was actually moved by what was going on. He's going to miss the city. And, everyone's going to miss him," said McPeek.
Visitation for Crank will be Sunday afternoon at Reed Funeral Home in Harrisburg. Services are set for 10 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church.
Harrisburg commissioner Ron Fearheiley is serving as interim mayor and will continue until the council makes a decision on a permanent replacement. No word when that might happen.
UPDATED 7:20 p.m. THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014
HARRISBURG  --  After battling brain cancer for more than two years, Harrisburg Mayor Ron Crank died early Thursday morning.

Crank served as mayor for just over a year, replacing Eric Gregg in July 2013.

Thursday was solemn at Harriburg City Hall. People paused to remember Crank.

Memorial ribbons covered the doors, but the lights are off in the office that once was full of laughter and positivity.
City Commissioner Dale Fowler says during his short time in office Crank made a big impact.
"He was always doing what he thought was best for the city of Harrisburg, most importantly he always had a great attitude. He was just always really excited about what was next," Fowler said.
Mayor Crank fought to bring in new business and revitilize Harrisburg even while losing his battle with brain cancer.
As mayor and a former sherrif's deputy, the 65-year old took pride in his city.
Resident Sherri Ramsey says Crank's death has taken a toll on the community. 
"He was a very well known gentleman. He was one that you could go to at anytime for anything or any problem," she recalls.
Fixing problems is what Mayor Crank always strived to do, even when he was too sick to attend the city council meetings.
Now, the council will have to continue to manage Harriburg without him.
"We not sure exactly what the council in time will in time make a decision as to how to progress. Right now, commissioner Fairhighley will remain pro-temp until a decision is made," Fowler said.  

UPDATED 12:10 p.m. THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) - The mayor of the city of Harrisburg in southern Illinois has died of brain cancer.

Reed Funeral Chapel in Harrisburg says Ron Crank died Thursday at his home after a year-long bout with brain cancer. Crank was 65.

A funeral will be early next week. Crank had been a Harrisburg police officer and Saline County sheriff's deputy. He served on Harrisburg's city council for three years before he was named mayor last year.

Visitation for Crank will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Harrisburg.

HARRISBURG -- Harrisburg Mayor Ron Crank has died after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.  Former Mayor Eric Gregg tells News 3 Crank died just after 7 a.m. Thursday.
Crank had recently stepped down to continue treatment for the disease.  He had served on the city council before being named mayor after Gregg was appointed to a position with the state in 2013.

Funeral arrangements are pending at this time.  Stay with News 3 for more on this story.  
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