Husband, father, father-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, accountant, fixer of broken things. Born Nov. 8, 1915, in Belmont, Ont. Died Sept. 1, 2011, in London, Ont. of old age, at 95.
Roy Craig was born in a small farmhouse a few miles south of London, Ont. The work ethic he learned on the farm in the twenties and thirties became deeply ingrained in his character. Everyday life on the farm included early mornings spent milking 40 head of Jersey cattle by hand, working in the barn late into the evening, growing food, cutting firewood for winter and never taking a day off.
A good student, Roy went to Westervelt Academy in London to learn accounting and graduated in 1936. In 1938, he took a job in Chatham, Ont. working for Chatco Steel, a company that made, among other things, hand grenades for the war effort.
Shortly after moving to Chatham, Roy met Phoebe Gray, a farmer’s daughter from Dresden, Ont., at a young people’s meeting. After marrying in 1941, they raised four children: Fraser, Spencer, Douglas and Jo-Anne.
Chatco went bankrupt and in 1956 the family moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where Roy got a job at Roddis Lumber. He worked as chief accountant for various owners of the company until his retirement in 1980. His work ethic and understanding of accounting instilled in him a need to contribute each and every day to make the business profitable.
When Roy and Phoebe moved to the Soo, they thought they were leaving the civilized world and going to the ends of the earth. But the family settled comfortably into their new life, making new friends while enjoying a family-focused lifestyle.
Many times Roy was called upon to repair things around the house. His children remember helping him in an unheated garage in the depths of winter as he fixed the transmission in an old Austin car that had found its way to the Soo. Roy owned the car for five years, and although it had a beautiful leather interior, its mechanical workings were spectacularly unsuited for northern Ontario’s winters and it was a constant challenge to keep it operating.
Roy and Phoebe celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last April along with their children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, all of whom have benefited from Roy’s wisdom and belief in hard work and self-reliance.
Roy loved to play cards and was ruthless at winning dimes at family euchre tournaments. He was a great believer in vitamins and joked that when he retired, he invested some money in mutual funds and the rest into vitamin C, a philosophy that must have had some bearing on his living for almost 96 years.
A quiet, patient person, Roy was an astute and well-read observer of the world around him. We will miss his humour and quiet counsel.
By Fraser and Elaine Craig, Roy’s son and daughter-in-law.