Carmen Craig died a mere eight days shy of his 88th birthday at his home in Wickenburg holding his wife's hand. He was born Aug. 24, 1933, in Creston, Iowa: graduated from North High in Des Moines in 1952; and was promptly drafted into the Army. Carmen served two years after which he took advantage of the G. I. Bill and attended Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, graduating with a bachelor's degree. He accepted a job as personnel director at Nebraska Clothing in Omaha, which was the beginning of a very successful career in the men's apparel business. His work in this field included acting as a lobbyist in Washington, D. C., for retail association; serving as a manufacturers representative; and being a shop owner in Palm Springs.
In Minneapolis in 1982, Carmen boarded a Northwest Airlines night flight to Los Angeles and was assigned an exit row seat on a DC-10 across from flight attendant Jeanne Johnson who was on a jump-seat. There was an instant mutual attraction. Their 39 years together were full of crazy, but fulfilling adventures. Jeanne flew for 35 years during which Carmen became very adept at "pass travel." In addition to domestic travel, Carmen was so excited to experience Seoul, Beijing and most major European cities. In his 50s, Carmen returned to college, attending St. Martins University in Olympia, Washington, in order to teach school. He taught elementary and secondary school in Shelton and coached women's basketball at Olympic College in Bremerton. After living in Palm Springs, Seattle, and Shelton, he and Jeanne moved to Minnesota where they created a nautical museum in Stillwater and developed a vintage nautical apparel business. Mount Dora, Florida, was a major hub for antique and classic boat shows so they bought a 50s house in Tavares where they lived for 18 years. At his brother Guy's urging, they explored Wickenburg and loved it. They found the hilltop home of their dreams in 2011.
In Wickenburg, they thoroughly enjoyed their retirement. They both joined the Wickenburg Art Club where they made so many wonderful friends. One of them, Vivien Klinck, captured his animated personality in the above painting. Carmen claimed the potlucks alone were worth the dues paid. Carmen and Jeanne made countless trips exploring Arizona, worked on their house and yard and fed the birds, and tried not to feed the javelinas and pack rats.
Carmen was predeceased by his parents Waldean and Herbert Craig; and by his two sons Michael McDowell and Mitchell Craig from previous marriages to Sally Griffiths and Beverly Miller. He is survived by his wife Jeanne Craig; his dear brother Guy and wife Diane of Surprise; his niece Blair Craig of San Francisco; and the "Custer Cousins" Steve, Peter, Rod and Roxanne of Pennsylvania, Iowa and North Carolina. Also surviving are his grandchildren Peter (Alissa) and Jessica and her daughter, Devin. He will be interred at the Prescott National Cemetery. A celebration of his life will be planned for a future date.
Carmen will be remembered by his family and friends for his curious, probing mind, his quick wit and his remarkable storytelling. He was a risk taker, a truth teller and a man of integrity. He was truly one of a kind and will be hugely missed.