Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Remembering Marine Colonel Robert Craig

Colonel Robert Craig on the market - a favorite photo he asked for.

Colonel Robert Craig passed away Sunday, April 1, 2012. He is survived by two sons Michael and Richard. He was predeceased by his wife, Virginia (Ginny) in May 2010. According to a long-time friend Anita Wilson co-owner of Burger in the Square Colonel Craig died at the UVA hospital in Charlottesville.

The Wilson’s became acquainted with Colonel Craig when he was selling his framed Roanoke scenic photos in Market Square. He gave that up as his wife became ill. Colonel Craig was a frequent visitor at the Wilson’s new Roanoke County location said Anita Wilson. His visits dwindled and the last time she saw him was about a month ago. “We’ll miss him greatly – Louis and I had the utmost respect for him,” she said Monday. Craig presented them with two framed photos of their new location that now grace the restaurant wall in remembrance.

The Colonel always outspoken would blog with the handle “curmudgeon.” He was a frequent antagonist at Roanoke City council meetings and briefings. As a Marine Colonel he was in charge of a budget much larger than that of Roanoke City. He found government finances messy and inconsistent with good government priorities. He argued that the city needed a Chief Financial Officer.

He ran for city council unsuccessfully as a Republican but garnered a respectable number of votes. The Colonel was blunt and at times gruff with his criticism but he was often right. Council admonished him when he pushed his point to the edge of decorum but once allowed him to present councilman Dave Trinkle with a not so flattering framed award.

In December of 2009 he spoke out loud at a council briefing saying that award of the Recovery Zone Bonds to councilman Dave Trinkle’s Shenandoah building was a “conflict of interest.” Trinkle eventually pulled his building from consideration.

His council meeting attendance dwindled and he was last seen at a council briefing where this reporter sat next to Colonel Craig as he fiddled with his iPad. As the briefing turned to one topic after another Craig with his deep commanding voice would mumble under his breath his displeasure. If it was an attempt to whisper he missed the mark because his whispers were heard by everyone.

On a personal note several years ago after losing the Democratic primary I received a call from Colonel Craig asking me to accompany him to the Republican Reagan Dinner. This was when he was running for a council seat as a Republican in 2010. He had two tickets and his ill wife could not go and she suggested that he take me. I was honored and suggested I would meet him there. He would have none of that and insisted on picking me up like a “real date so tongues could wag.”

On the ride home he admitted that he was politically an Independent. That was no surprise. There was no neat box you could lock Colonel Craig in – they threw away the mold for this fine officer and a gentleman.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Local Events


Comments (2)

Ben Pearman

April 4th, 2012 at 9:14 AM    

Well done, Valerie. I worked with Bob for a time around 2001-02 or so and to say he was unique is an understatement! I always enjoyed discussing politics and current events with him. Never ambivalent, always with conviction, “The Colonel” managed to add several pages to the collective insight of everyone he met. A true military man, a Marine’s Marine, but also somewhat of a Renaissance Man as well; I’m a better person for having known him. His death is truly a loss for our community.


April 4th, 2012 at 2:17 PM    

Thank you for your comment Ben.

It was important to me personally to get the essence of Bob just right with a little personal touch.

Comments are not moderated. Notify any abuse at put ABUSE in the subject and the offensive post.

Leave a Reply