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 Shirley Harris Craig

Shirley Harris Craig

Layton, Davis County, Utah, USA
Death 25 Sep 1987 (aged 77)
Layton, Davis County, Utah, USA
Burial Kaysville, Davis County, Utah, USA
Plot 2-8-B-6
Memorial ID 124545 · View Source
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A favorite snapshot - my Dad & me!

The following is a tribute from his great granddaughter:

It has been said that you don't know another man's trials until you've walked in his footsteps. I know that American Veterans who have defended our country by serving in our armed forces are unique in their bravery.

The history of this brave service is interesting to me because I wonder what it takes to be a "hero". Some people say a hero isn't afraid of anything. I think a hero is someone who does what's right, even if they are afraid. Those who've put their lives on the line to protect others are too sensitive and intelligent to have not felt the sting of fear.

My great grandfather served in the United States Navy during World War II. It was an awful time; when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, it was a savage attack; many naval men were killed. My grandmother said her father never talked about the fear, just the destruction of so many lives. When she asked him why he'd joined the navy during such a dangerous time, he would laugh it off saying, "Well, it was that or the air force, so I knew I could swim, and I sure as heck couldn't fly, so I decided to take my chances on a ship instead of a plane!"

My great uncle served in the air corps as a medic during the Korean War. He came home with post traumatic syndrome (shell shock) and even now, after nearly sixty years, he still suffers from it's effects. He doesn't talk about it but, I remember the family saying how it affected his nerves. He, many times, had to drag wounded men onto hovering helicopters while the enemy would fire at them, often shooting legs off a struggling comrade.

Once they were in the helicopter, it was Uncle Kim's job to save them long enough to get them to mobile medical units for emergency surgery. He still has nightmares about the brutality of the enemy, who routinely disregarded "rules of war".

I have read accounts of earlier wars, having had ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Civil War and the War with Mexico. It makes me feel more patriotic to know that my family members have thus served our country and I think it is important to honor them and not forget their sacrifices.

My family celebrates Memorial Day by decorating graves. Several times we've been involved in planning programs at the local cemetery honoring our veterans. We also participate in placing flags on over 300 veteran's graves.

Two years ago, we decided to go on a pioneer trek; the trail we took in Wyoming was part of a route the Mormon Battalion soldiers took in coming west to protect the United States in the War with Mexico.

My great great grandfather was one of those soldiers; as I walked that dreary desert, I knew I was walking in the footsteps of a hero. We should all cherish their memories, letting them never be forgotten!


Dad's father died when he was 3 years old and he was raised by a single mother who maintained a large farm with the help of her boys. The girls helped with the housework and were raised to be good mothers. Both of these facts shaped his view of male-female roles. It shaped his strong work ethic, honesty and dependability. His mother was a quiet Christian woman, who because of the full responsibility of caring for her children, was very exacting about routines and stability. The washing was on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, cleaning and dusting on Wednesday, etc. - baking on Saturday, Church on Sunday. Because she needed to expect order, they were a very orderly, but happy family. These stable relationships taught him to give his best and expect the best from others. He was quiet and kind in demeanor, but had a fun loving personality and endearing grin. His brothers and sisters loved one another and were close all of their lives, although Dad had to be away from his childhood home when he married because of his employment in the highway construction business. We learned early that he expected us to behave like ladies and gentlemen, because his family had been such. We also began to recognize his protective nature, especially toward my sisters and me. He was not a dominating male, but obviously believed it was the man's place to protect his family and make a living and the woman's to make a home loving and comfortable for her family. He did find pride in our education and accomplishments and was supportive of us girls having part time work while young, as long as it did not interfere with schooling and family plans. However, when we began to date, he was exacting in what type of boys with which we associated; and those who had good manners, good reputations, and an ambitious work ethic passed his scrutiny. He also did not approve of his boys choosing "silly", "pretentious" or "demanding" girlfriends. We girls understood that Dad expected us to choose a life mate who was well equipped to work honestly, and desirous of making a good living, so that we could raise a family without going out of the home to work after marriage. He loved to camp and fish and instilled the love of work and outdoors in all of us except for one, who was "sickly" and coddled by Mother until Dad gave up trying to make a man out of him. I guess you could say that most every family has one, who upon much effort is wasted. Dad never spanked us and rarely scolded. A glancing look of disapproval was all it took to know we had crossed the line in some way. Making him ashamed of me or my actions was the worst discipline I could imagine. On rare instances, we may have been grounded from seeing our friends, or from an activity, when we reached the defiant teenage years. Everyone who knew Daddy loved and respected him. His neighbors said there was never a more honest nor helpful neighbor. His friends loved to be around him and told us of the fun he had been since childhood, and that they could always depend on him in any instance. His workers told of how he would get down in the ditch and work alongside them, even when he was the Superintendent of any job. He was described as a man whose word was as good as his bond. Even many years after his death, we would encounter strangers who would exclaim that they knew him and that there never was a better guy than "good ole Shirl". His illiterate workers would call him "Mr. Shirley" because he had told them they didn't need to call him "Mr." Craig! His greatest sorrow was becoming disabled and bed ridden to the point that we needed to tend him day and night for a couple of years. We knew he would rather be dead than to burden his family, but it was a privilege to care for him, although it was a short time compared to the decades of care he gave to each of us. My goal in life was to see my children love me as much as we loved Dad.

Son of John David Craig and Laura Maria Harris; Father of five children. Married Rachel O'Brien.

Note: Thanks AGAIN to Renee for the Sponsorship of my beloved Daddy ~ what a generous friend to many.

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