Gifted in both music and sports, he was also the consummate gentleman

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ralph B. “Tim” Craig, Jr. ’54

Tim Craig’s degree in mechanical engineering served him well when he joined the Army after graduation and invented an innovative way to repair broken tank tracks in the field. After leaving the military, he brought his skills to General Electric before joining Craig Supply Co, Inc., his family’s business. Under his leadership the company grew to be the largest laundry and dry cleaning equipment wholesaler in New England.

Tim worked hard at his business, and always with integrity. His daughter Amy’90 remembers that her father “always tried to live by the Golden Rule and treat people with respect, and he taught his children to do the same.” With his first wife, Merle, Craig raised daughters Leslie Craig Hartley and Amy and son Steve. He helped his second wife, Ginger, raise her sons, Scott and Alex, and delighted in his 10 grandchildren.

Interested in music and sports throughout his life, in prep school at Mt. Hermon Craig sang in a choral group. “He had a beautiful tenor voice and was very popular,” says his sister Susan Craig Hastings ’58. “I went through the women’s division of Mt. Hermon known as ’Tim Craig’s sister.’ He was a wonderful dancer and all my friends wanted to dance with him.”

At UNH Craig was a member of the Salamanders, an all-male octet that sang at other colleges and for UNH alumni clubs. He was also an All-American lacrosse player — who impressed teammate Kent Keith ’55 with his ability. “Most of us didn’t know what a lacrosse stick was until we came to UNH,” Keith says. A talented tennis player, Craig later coached local players and continued to play spirited matches near his home in Hilton Head, South Carolina, after he and Ginger retired.

The Craig family have long been ardent supporters of UNH, beginning with Tim’s father, Ralph B. “Sam” Craig, Sr., who established the Craig Family Scholarship awarded annually to a scholar-athlete. Tim helped found Friends of UNH Hockey, and took a special interest in UNH’s Canadian hockey players while raising his own family. “He knew they were far from their own homes, so he would invite them to dinner and help them with homework,” recalls Amy.

Tim served as vice-president of his class for many years. “He loved the class reunions and getting together with his UNH friends,” says daughter Leslie. Class president Harriet Forkey ’54 says he remained active and involved with class affairs via e-mail and phone calls even after he moved to Hilton Head. “I can truly say that he was loved and appreciated by his classmates.”

Craig died at home on Dec. 8, 2015, after an 18-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Even as illness sapped his strength, he retained his interest in what was happening at UNH. Amy, who is married to UNH associate head athletic trainer and head athletic trainer for men’s hockey Glenn Riefenstahl, would call him weekly with in-depth updates on how the UNH sports teams, especially his beloved hockey team, were doing.


Originally published in UNH Magazine Spring 2016 Issue