Hanna M. Crafton

The Notre Dame Prep graduate taught sailing and led white-water rafting trips

March 21, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Hanna M. Crafton, an outdoorswoman, writer and Celtic musician, died March 12 after being injured in an automobile accident near Laurel. The former longtime Reisterstown resident, who recently moved to Severna Park, was 20.

The auto in which Ms. Crafton was a passenger was traveling near Laurel when it drifted off Route 198 and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ms. Crafton was born in Baltimore and raised in Reisterstown. During her seven years at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, she made a lasting impression on teachers and students.

"She was a young woman with incredible promise and potential, and all of us here at Notre Dame Prep are mourning her loss," said Sister M. McCarron, head of school.

Ginna Alderman, the school's guidance counselor, recalled Ms. Crafton as something of an introvert. "Hanna was exceedingly kind and creative in so many areas, and really excelled in writing, music and the visual arts," she recalled.

Danielle R. Jablonski, an English teacher at the school, taught Ms. Crafton her freshman, junior and senior year. "She was very, very bright and was in my creative writing class her senior year. She was an absolutely fabulous writer and very imaginative. She had a gift at using words to create pictures and images, and always used them to their greatest potential in her work," she said.

Ms. Crafton was also a staff writer for Esprit, the school's literary magazine.

During her senior year, a requirement of her architecture class was creating a three-dimensional design and building a model.

"Most of the girls designed and built houses, but not Hanna. She designed and built an outdoor patio with a pergola," said Anne J. Walker, who taught architecture and was also her homeroom teacher. "Working in an open space spoke to her interest in the outdoors."

Joan G. Carlson, who teaches religion and is the school's campus minister, most admired Ms. Crafton's challenging mind and refusal to accept convenient answers to questions.

"I loved Hanna, who was one of these people who had questions about everything. She was very introspective and looked deeply at things," Mrs. Carlson said. "And through her questions, she was challenging us to be better people and thinkers."

Mrs. Carlson added: "She was always very willing to share her ideas and loved diversity. She loved being different, and that was part of her charm."

After graduating from Notre Dame Prep in 2006, Ms. Crafton attended the University of Maryland, College Park for a year before withdrawing.

"She wanted to find herself and explore other options. She loved animals, especially cats, and since January was working for the Tri County Humane Society in Delray, Fla.," said her mother, Lisa T. Crafton of Severna Park.

Ms. Crafton had studied violin and had attended fiddle camp in Nova Scotia, a place she had come to love, her mother said.

She was an accomplished sailor and a certified instructor who enjoyed teaching sailing to at-risk children at the Downtown Sailing Center and Getaway Sailing in Baltimore.

After becoming a certified white-water rafting guide, Ms. Crafton led trips in Harpers Ferry, W.Va. She also enjoyed rock climbing.

Nat Kennedy, who works with Outward Bound in tech support, is also an accomplished sailor and a friend.

"She was fantastic and very confident when on a boat. She enjoyed teaching sailing to those children, taking them out, and passing on her knowledge," said Mr. Kennedy, who also taught sailing in Baltimore and now lives in Knoxville, Frederick County.

"These were 10- and 12-year-old kids, and she connected with them. They were attracted to her, and it was always fun watching them handle the boat as they came back to the dock," he said.

Mrs. Crafton said her daughter always wanted to "challenge herself" and that she "found that challenge in the outdoors."

Mrs. Walker recalled how shocked she was when she learned of Ms. Crafton's death. "Since I've been at NDP, we've lost several students. You just never, ever get used to it," she said.

At Ms. Crafton's request, her ashes will be spread outdoors.

A service celebrating her life will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today at Oregon Ridge Lodge, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville.

Also surviving are her father, James B. Crafton of Severna Park; paternal grandparents Richard C. and Mary Ellen Crafton of Severna Park; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

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