The Reverend Joseph Ira Craig died on June 11, 2009 at the age of 82. Rev. Craig was born on October 9, 1926 in Youngstown, Ohio, to Ira B. and Dorothy D. Craig. After graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, Rev. Craig joined the US Army Air Force. He served as an aerial photographer in Italy from 1944 to 1946.
After attending Youngstown University, and the University of Dayton, he graduated from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio in 1953. He earned his Sacred Theology degree from Harvard University in 1957 and a Master in Library Science from the University of Maine in 1971.
Rev. Craig served Methodist Churches in Somerton, OH, and Enfield, NH, before being ordained at The Congregational Parish of Norton, MA (Unitarian) in 1957. In addition to the Norton Church, Rev. Craig served the First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Fitchburg, MA and All Souls Church Unitarian in Augusta, ME, before returning to school to earn his library science degree. He worked as a librarian at the Augusta Mental Health Institute for more than 20 years.
Rev. Craig answered the call from Martin Luther King, Jr. with many other UU ministers to participate in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, in 1965. He was a member of the Maine State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights from 1962 to 1969. He served the denomination as a member of the Unitarian Historical Society; as secretary of the Maine Unitarian Association from 1962 – 1965; and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast District of the UU Ministers’ Association from 1966 – 1968. In 1966, he held the position of Northeast District president.
Rev. Craig’s many interests included reading, theology, history, painting, fencing, and music. He played viola in the Augusta Symphony for many years.
Survivors include his daughter, Leslie Flores, and her husband, Rudy Flores, of Augusta, ME; his stepson, Daniel Cake, and Daniel’s companion, Karen Thompson, of Auburn, ME; his stepson, Jeffrey Cake, and Jeffrey’s wife, Laura Cake, of Bar Harbor, ME; and another stepson, Basil Cake, and Basil’s wife, Mia, of Augusta, ME. He also is survived by six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, two sisters, five brothers, his wife, Rachel, and his ex-wife, Jacqueline.
A celebration of Rev. Craig’s life was held in July 2009 in Hallowell, ME, with Rev. Helen Zidowecki officiating.