Gary Crane was a Footscray man through and through. Whether for football, cricket or community he threw himself into work that benefited those involved with the organisation for which he was working.

Born in South Melbourne on 19 July 1950, Gary Maxwell Crane moved to Footscray just up the road from the Western (now Whitten) Oval. As a teenager he became involved in the Footscray Cricket Club initially working in the scoreboard then as scorer and ultimately moving through the committee to become secretary of the club in 1974. He was to hold that office for many years and his sterling work resulted in life membership of the club.

As an infant Gary suffered a lung infection that was to affect him for the remainder of his life. One way to help his lungs was running and through running he discovered umpiring. Beginning as a boundary umpire in the VFL Reserve Grade between 1965-69 he transferred to the field in 1970 and in 1973 was promoted to the VFL Senior List.

Between 1973 and 1977 he umpired 87 matches in the VCFL with one final – the First-Semi in the Waranga-North East Football League Reserves. After a year off he returned to the Reserve Grade for 1979 and then moved onto the VFA for a single season before retiring from the field.

Gary’s connection with football remained strong, firstly through his involvement with Footscray in the role of Coterie Secretary Western Bulldogs Top Dog Kennel Group a position he held from 1990 to 2006. Gary was also a long term match manager of VFL/AFL Little League/AusKick between 1983 and 2006 where he could often be observed racing the kids onto and from the ground at half time of VFL/AFL fixtures.

Having served five years as a VFLUA member Gary took the opportunity to take up associate membership of the AFLUA from 2006 and by doing so qualified as a nominee for life membership.

Gary passed away quietly at home on 10 January 2011. His life membership was ratified by the members at the 2010 Annual General Meeting in March 2011.