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Larry William Craig gave humor and a helping hand to family and community

March 08, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back -- through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others -- at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Larry William Craig, who died Feb. 25 at the age of 68. His obituary was published in the Feb. 27 edition of The Herald-Mail.

Back in 1980, Larry Craig came into Linda Irvin's photography studio to arrange for some pictures. The encounter was pleasant enough, but there were no lightning bolts, she said.

"We became reacquainted in 1982, when I first ran for the Washington County School Board ... Larry was my treasurer," she said, adding that he also served in that capacity when she ran successfully for a seat on the Washington County Commissioners a few years later.

When Larry and Linda were both single again, their friendship grew into something stronger, and they were married in 1990.

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"Larry and I both had enjoyed being married, so we decided to try it again," Linda said. And for the next 18 years, the couple blended their two families and spent a lot of time in each other's company.

Linda's son, Woodrow "Woody" Irvin, was 21 when the couple wed.

"I was happy they found each other," Woody said by telephone from his office. "Larry always treated me like a son."

Although Ryanna Waugh technically was a stepdaughter to Larry, she said she never felt like one.

"I never looked at Larry as a stepfather. After all, he had been in my life for over half of it," she said via e-mail. "He taught me that a family doesn't have to share blood to have a bond."

Larry's daughter, Lisa Shank, said her father was actively involved in her life when she was growing up.

"If I got into something, he got into it, too," Lisa said.

As an example, Lisa said when she joined the Golden Majorettes in her younger days, Larry volunteered to drive the bus to parades.

She said she loved it when her father was around because he had such a great sense of humor.

But Linda said not everyone appreciated Larry's unique sense of fun. For example, Larry's first meeting as a member of the St. Mark's Lutheran Church council featured a pretend fight instigated by Larry and a female council member over the issue of women serving on such boards.

"Larry was in his element when he was bedeviling someone," Linda said.

Lisa said her father often "bedeviled" her dates. Like the time when she was upstairs getting ready and Larry was downstairs with the young man.

"Dad took the bowl the dog had been eating ice cream from and put it back in the cupboard with the clean dishes," Lisa said. That date never came over for dinner after that, she recalled.

Lisa's daughter, Brittni, was her Pappy's first grandchild.

"Pappy took me through Children's Village of Washington County when I was little," she said. "I got to ride the little cars."

One of Larry's pet projects was Children's Village, which he helped establish in 1991 as a not-for-profit safety education organization on Mount Aetna Road.

Larry also was instrumental in the Crime Solvers program where citizens can anonymously report crimes and receive rewards if criminals are identified and prosecuted successfully.

"Family and community were what mattered to Larry," Linda said.

For his efforts in the community, Larry was named Washington County's Most Wonderful Citizen in 1997.

Citizenship also was vital, and Larry was proud that he was able to cast an absentee ballot in the recent primary election despite his failing health, Linda said.

For the past couple of years, Larry had been active with the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association Rehab Unit 255, which brings coffee, cold drinks and food to emergency personnel.

"He loved running 255," Linda said.

Still interested in community efforts even as his health declined, Larry specifically asked about the recent fire that devastated several buildings in Boonsboro, Linda said. And Linda said he wanted to know if Unit 255 had been there.

On March 3, Linda marked what would have been the couple's 18th wedding anniversary. Sadly, it was without Larry, who died Feb. 25 at the age of 68.

"It was a wonderful ride," Linda said.

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