Norman Dale Craig
HAUGHTON, LOUISIANA – Norman Dale Craig, age 81, entered the Gates of Heaven, July 4, 2021 on the tail end of fireworks honoring his love of country. His true love was holding his hand and he was surrounded by family who love and deeply miss him.
He was born in Albany, Kentucky on August 2, 1939. He attended school at Ballard Memorial where he met his sweetheart at the age of 16 years old, doing as Elvis Presley said and Loving Her Tenderly.
Upon graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps, a title he wore with PRIDE an HONOR. Once he completed Marine Corps service, he married that high school sweetheart, attended Southern Illinois University to earn his Master’s in Education and raised (3) three children.
After much debate, he moved his family to Bossier City, Louisiana where he helped to create successful businesses with his father. Red Chute Auto Center, Craig’s Auto & Truck Sales, Craig’s Equipment Sales and Craig’s Powersports were the business decisions that were questioned to him for starting a business owner career without a business degree. However, he assured success with an intelligence, impish smile, love of talking to people, irreverent sense of humor and a set of stunning blue eyes that could make anyone fall in love with him.
Those businesses led to many charities and community organizations he took active roles so his family could live in a community full of opportunities. Many of his community services and organizations consisted of Bossier Optimist Club, Bossier YMCA, Bossier Chamber of Commerce Board, Bossier Dixie Baseball Board of Directors, Bossier Parish 9-1-1 and the Bossier Parish Police Jury.
In true Norman style, like a type-cast character in a movie, he stepped from the service role of Marine, business/community leader to another type of service. Like it was somehow seamless, he went from protecting and serving his country to protecting and serving his community by “deciding” to enter the Bossier Parish Police Academy at the age of 69, wanting to prove to all that he not only still had it, but he would be top of his class. Once again, he wore another uniform with PRIDE and HONOR as he put on that Bossier Parish Sheriff Department uniform.
Being a part of the Bossier Parish Sheriff Department allowed him to continue ways to improve and protect the community that his wife, kids, grandkids and great grandkids were building their lives. He helped to build, as well as serve as the Commanding Officer for the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Young Marines Program. The excitement he felt by being able to use his love of his United States Marine Corps to give an opportunity for area youth needing to build self-respect in themselves by using bootcamp style discipline with consequences and rewards. This love and dedication of our youth gave him another opportunity where he served as a Bossier Parish Sheriff School Resource and D.A.R.E Officer at Princeton Elementary in Haughton, Louisiana. He wore this position with complete love, passion and dedication like a superhero logo.
To know him, was to love him. His love and dedication had no range for his God, family, friends and his country. From his family, friends and all who knew him, he was seen as a man of unshakable conviction, integrity, honor, laughter and many, many stories! Stories that sounded inflated in memory and were grown over mythic and/or comical details sounding like they had been created from reads of Tom Sawyer or a Wild Wild West movie (might be why he loved old westerns). The best ones came from tales of a life of freedom and hard work made easy by clever selling abilities and quick wit. He would and did sell anything that wasn’t bolted down if it would make money. The acute awareness of the importance of a life lived with the ones you love making memories over any material possession was only cast aside during episodes of Gunsmoke.
Of all the people he touched, both willingly and unwillingly, his most proud achievement in life was marrying his high school sweetheart, Mary Suzanne Owens Craig who supported him in all his hey-day glory and crazy ideas and lovingly supported him physically during their last weeks together. In their 61 years of marriage, he helped build them beautiful homes (one in which he sold out from under her – one of those stories you think is an exaggeration.…but wasn’t). He promised her that he would build their home in Heaven and have it ready for when she arrives. If you were present in his last few weeks, you know that he had been actively building that Heavenly Home.
He is also survived by his three children oldest daughter, Linda Craig Boyd and husband Dennis, son, Judge Michael Owens Craig and wife Dorothy, youngest daughter, Julie Craig McCoy and husband Gary; eight grandchildren: Lindsey Boyd, Buddy McCoy and wife Sarah, Cody Boyd and wife Gabrielle, Hannah Malone and husband Zack, Bailey Boyd & fiancé, Jorge, Haden Craig, Craig McCoy and wife Blair, and Colt McCoy; (8) eight great grandchildren: Molly Claire Simmons, Brooks Allen, Posey Belle and Theodora Eloise Boyd, Jack Malone, Sutton Monroe McCoy, Madison Denise McCoy and Lottie Dale Boyd; (3) three sisters: Linda Craig Houston, Donna Kile and husband Dennis, Barbara Ledbetter and husband William “Bill” and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Newman E. and Mary Evelyn Craig as well as maternal and paternal grandparents. His legacy will continue to be honored by his family living their lives to the fullest and living as though other see Jesus in them.
Pallbearers will be Clint Robbins, Don Pittard, Bruce Teutsch, Kirkland Parks, Steve Manuel and John Burns. Honorary Pallbearers will be Cecil Campbell, Rick Lott, Clyde High and Jerry Moher.
MARINE NORMAN DALE CRAIG REPORTING FOR DUTY (as he will say when entering the Pearly Gates of Heaven).
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, the family ask that donations be made to the Make A Wish Foundation. One of his greatest memories was when he was able to be a part of the foundation in making a terminally ill teenage boy’s wish come true.