COVID-19 inspires alumna to fulfill dream, support future educators

four ever friends

Darlene Lipovec DeCrane '69, '79 pens book to encourage children to read, help them cope with pandemic

By Kandace York

foureverfriends 1A love of reading, a concern for young readers and a Bowling Green State University education have led to “The Four Ever Friends,” a book Darlene Lipovec DeCrane ’69, ’79 has penned.

Inspired by DeCrane’s granddaughter and her friends, the book follows four friends who maintain a thriving friendship during the global COVID-19 pandemic, mixing flexibility and determination to negotiate their growing-up. The book has the candid feel of author Beverly Cleary (who is also one of DeCrane’s favorite childhood authors).

Instilling a love of books in young readers is important, DeCrane said from her home in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. “Kids need to feel that, through this pandemic, what they’re experiencing is OK.” As a lifelong educator, she said, “I just wanted to encourage kids to read.”

DeCrane earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the College of Education and Human Development. She followed that up with a master’s degree in educational supervision and administration. After a 30-year career in education, she retired in the early 2000s.

With DeCrane was her husband, Gregory, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in college student personnel, both from Bowling Green State University. He is also the former advisor to spirit crew, SICSIC. The DeCranes are Falcon Flames and recently marked 49 years of marriage.

“We met on a blind date,” Darlene DeCrane said.

The book,“The Four Ever Friends,” (targeting ages 6-10), was published in August, 2020, and several books have already been utilized as fundraisers and donated to community organizations to encourage young readers. The second book is due out in November, 2020. The third book in the series is to be released in spring, 2021. foureverfriends 2

Partial proceeds from the book sales help support an EDHD scholarship in Darlene DeCrane’s name, encouraging future educators to nurture the next generation of young readers.

Despite the years that have passed since DeCrane was a student, she said she remembers the moment she decided that Bowling Green State University was “her” college. Appreciating the beauty of the campus, “I stood in the middle of campus by the seal,” she said, “and I just thought, ‘This is where I’m coming.’”

DeCrane has returned to the University multiple times since then, and she said that each time it is like "coming home." Remarking on the recent renovations to University Hall and to Hanna Hall which is now part of the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business, she said, “They kept the integrity of the old buildings but brought all the modern technology to it.”

And, referring to the Starship automated food delivery bots that traverse the University and surrounding area, she said with a laugh, “I love the robots.”