Three members of the Berkeley Piano Club, a Berkeley institution since 1893, share some of their fond memories of musician and philanthropist June Craycroft.

Ellen Hahn, past President, Berkeley Piano Club:

“June Craycroft was a most beautiful and gifted person. She had a smile that lit up the room and was a kind, thoughtful and generous woman. As a young woman she had lived and studied in Paris and talked frequently of that time in her life with great nostalgia. Not only was she a composer, but a fine pianist and violinist.

When she decided to gift a very magnificent Steinway concert grand to Cal Performances, she and Robert Cole, then the head of Cal Performances, went looking for pianos together. She was already suffering from the leukemia that eventually took her life. When the piano was finally on stage for its first use, there was a celebration in her honor in thanks for this extraordinary gift. I remember she was seated, beaming happily and proudly as many friends came by to greet and thank her.

She was a long-time active performing member of the Berkeley Piano Club to which she contributed a substantial gift for urgent rehabilitation.”

Dorothy Wechsler, past Treasurer, Berkeley Piano Club:

“When I was a new member in the Berkeley Piano Club and hardly knew anyone, June struck up a conversation in her warm and friendly way. She had heard that my husband and I enjoyed sailing on the Bay and told me she and her husband had sailed for many years… that she loved the wind and the rough water. It was a wholly different look at that fair skinned, delicate and meticulous woman.

I was Treasurer at the time she gave the club money for renovation of the buildings and garden. In that capacity I visited her simple and elegant house twice. Of course, the piano was the first thing to see inside.”

Virginia Bigelow, Berkeley Piano Club:

“I once asked June about her lessons with Rudolph Ganz. She said he never critiqued her playing… just listened.

At a luncheon in the 1980s June shared her life story with those of us sitting at the table. Among the things she shared were that she had had wonderful parents whom she adored and a very happy second marriage.”