Jeffery Brian Cranford - 1958 - 2019


Born July 23,1958, Jeff “Biggie Strong” Cranford left a hospital bed for Heaven on August 5, 2019. By now, he’s checked out all the best golf courses, joined St. Peter’s Volunteer Fire Department, hugged and held loved ones, and, of course, made many new friends.
Jeff was born in Portland, Oregon, to Rolan “Bud” and Marjorie Cranford. When he was 2, he moved to McMinnville, Oregon, where he attended grammar school, made neighborhood friends, played sports of all types, and graduated from high school in 1977.
Jeff was destined to be a fireman. He grew up a few blocks from the McMinnville fire station, and whenever he heard the sirens blare, he’d run with abandon down First Street to see the engines roar, on their way to save someone in trouble. Helping others appealed to Jeff, so he joined the Explorers Fire Training Program in the late ’70s. In the '80s, he moved to Umatilla, Oregon, where he was a volunteer firefighter. Afterward, he returned to McMinnville, where he spent most of the rest of his life serving in various roles at the fire department.
Jeff was a big guy with a big heart who loved serving others. He gave everything of himself for all the right reasons. Distributing smiles, hugs and a helping hand, he made everyone he met feel important, like they mattered. Jeff was always giving, seldom asking for anything in return. He was a hard worker, fully committed to all he took on.
Jeff loved youth. He was a softball coach at MHS for several years. There, he shared his love of sport and brought relentless positivity to practices and games. For several years, Jeff delighted kids as Mac’s Fire Department Santa in the city’s Santa parade. Jeff’s big-cheeked smile and infectious belly laugh made him one of the best Santas in history.
Jeff loved smashing a golf ball, watching speedy cars racing and crashing in countless NASCAR races, watching ESPN, comedy, concerts and hearing the sound of waves hitting the sand on the Oregon coast. But mostly, he loved his family. He put family first. And, like his many friends, they could count on him for just about anything. He loved his life partner, Jane Seely; her son, Adam Howard; Adam’s wife, Julia Howard; and his best friend and grandson, Cayd Howard.
Jeff had a big family to love. He leaves behind sisters, Beverly Asbury, Debbie White and Elaine Almon; as well as brothers, Rolan “Buddy” Cranford and Ross Palm. Jeff was preceded in death by siblings, Linda Shirley, Robert Shirley, Neil Dorst; and his parents. He also leaves behind aunts, uncles and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, August 17, at First Baptist Church, 125 S.E. Cowls St. in McMinnville. A potluck reception will follow at American Legion Post 21, 126 N.E. Atlantic St., also in McMinnville.
The family asks that donations be made to any charity Jeff would support.



Such a wonderful man. I will miss seeing his smiling face. I am grateful for his help training students to be safe.

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