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Donald Neil Crain 1927 - 2004

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Old August 4th 04, 02:53 AM
John Hanson
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Default Donald Neil Crain 1927 - 2004

I'm reposting the latest issue of RDC's Powermag.


August 2, 2004
__________________________________________________ _______________

My memories of my father, Donald Neil Crain 1927 - 2004

His love for weightlifting as a teenager in the early 40ís started in
the small town of Clayton, Ok. His love later turned to a passion that
stayed with him his entire life. It was fueled by reading all the
weightlifting magazines and along with Dink Dollens, his childhood
best friend, they trained constantly to get as big and strong as all
the guys in the magazines. Dink carried his passion on to become the
first Oklahoma bodybuilding champion in 1951.

He joined the Coast Guard after a year of college at O.U. and his
passion for weightlifting continued to grow. His buddy, Pete Moale,
and he traveled to York, Pa., the eastern mecca of Bodybuilding and
Olympiclifting. He watched and visited with all the great bodybuilders
and members of the U.S. Olympic lifting team that trained under Bob
Hoffman at the York Barbell Club. While there, he bought a small
weight bar and two 50 lb. plates. This became his traveling gym for
the next few years for Pete and him, as they traveled in the Coast
Guard. Making it all the way to Anchorage, Alaska, training on their
Coast Guard Cutter, you could tell he was serious.

After getting out of the service, he returned and graduated from the
University of Oklahoma. Playing trumpet in the marching band and going
to the Cotton Bowl was indeed one of the highlights while attending

After graduation, he married Mary Nell James of his hometown.
Everywhere they moved he trained. He sought out the best places to get
serious with the iron. First the San Antonio YMCA, then the Phoenix
YMCA, Berkeley YMCA, Denver YMCA, his own small gym in Colorado
Springs (the first real gym there), Rapid City YMCA and full circle
back to Oklahoma at the Shawnee YMCA; and the past number of years his
own home gym in Clayton. Each place is a story in itself. Training
with and getting to know, some of the better Bodybuilders,
Powerlifters and Olympiclifters in the country. He had a few favorites
and always had a story about each of them. Paul Anderson, John Grimek,
Steve Reeves, Bill Pearl, Dave Draper, Tommy Kono, Sergio Oliva were
just among a few of his idols.

I can remember when he used to take my brother and I to the Berkeley
YMCA on Saturdays. We would do all three Olympic lifts and all three
powerlifts; then it was off to get our weekly Nutty Buddy ice cream
for our reward (and even if the workout was not a good one, we still
got it-and all for 12 cents). One time at the Berkeley YMCA my brother
and I were misbehaving after a workout and after several warnings he
pulled out his weightlifting belt and gave us each a spanking (we
never did that again). Sometimes he would take us to the park and he
would get other kids in the park to race us, most of the times we
would win. This helped us both to be better athletes in high school.
He was very adamant to show coaches in the 60's how weight training
would make you faster, and not to believe the rumors of the stereotype
muscle-bound ideas floating around and being taught. And he was

He was an IPF Master World Record holder in his own right and his
legacy included the only brother-sister IPF World Champions ever,
Rickey Dale Crain and Gayla Crain In the early 1980's all 3 Crain's
held IPF World Records at the same time; This has "never" been
duplicated. Randy Lee Crain, was a state and regional powerlifting
champion and Mr Wyoming in bodybuilding. Rickey Dale's son, Rickey Lee
and daughter, Samantha Jo, both became youth national and world
champions. CRAIN was their name and IRON was their game.

He wrote many articles and sent in many pictures and results for
numerous magazines, Strength and Health, Muscular Development, Iron
Man, Lifting News, Powerlifting News and PLUSA. He was an IPF
International Referee in Powerlifting, an AAU National Referee in
Bodybuilding and Olympiclifting. He was involved with all aspects of
the Iron games. In the 40 years I competed, he attended and coached me
at almost every powerlifting meet, always offering encouragement and

In each place he lived he left a legacy of friends and champions in
the Iron game. You know who you are and what he did for you guys. Even
though his master lifts at 165 pounds of 490 squat, 380 bench press
and 580 deadlift were pretty spectacular lifts, he was more famous for
coaching all of his world class children as they lifted. Weightlifting
was just the common bond he would use. Once he shared your interest in
weightlifting, he would then share his faith in Jesus Christ. Many
believers are scattered around the country because of his servant hood
to the Lord. God, family and weights were his 3 loves in life and he
always kept them in the proper order. He was a loving father and a
devoted husband without question. He pushed us to the limits to
succeed and we did. His influences on my life, his familyís lives and
his friendís lives will be felt for many years to come. Truly his last
wish would be that not a single person he knew would leave this life
without knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior. That was what he lived
for and what made him happy.He taught all of his kids to have a
serious commitment for God through not only their lifting but their
music and reading of the WORD. He took education seriously (He
graduated from high school at age 16) and produced a legacy of
children and granchildren who all have college degrees.

He was my father; he was my mentor; he was my inspiration and
spiritual guide. I miss you dad. I miss you so much it hurts. I have
cried for many days and will for many more to come. As Jesus said to
the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise." Dad,
you are in paradise right now with Jesus. And someday I will be in
paradise with you kneeling and worshipping at the feet of our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ.

Bye Dad,

Your Son,

Rickey Dale Crain

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