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Obituary Collection
Characterizes Rev. Craig
As “Shepherd of the Hills”

Rev. John E. Craig was born at Independence, Missouri, March 23, 1873 and his spirit departed to that blessed realm beyond the dreary draperies of death, Friday, October 28th at his pastoral home in Campbell, Nebraska.

From boyhood, John Craig aspired toward the ministry of the Gospel and developed his education and training with that desire. He attended the Moody Institute in Chicago and was ordained in 1901.

October 10, 1904, Luella Cronk and Rev. John Craig, then pastor in the Congregational Churches of Farnam and Stockville, were united in marriage at the home of the bride in Curtis, Nebraska.

He also served as pastor during his Christian service at Cortland, Norfolk, Uehling, Wallace, Madrid, Doniphan, Dunning, Purdum, Halsey, Trenton, Taylor, Crofton, Long Pine, and was giving his final service at Campbell when this great souled servant of God fell into the eternal sleep alone with the heavenly Father he worshipped.

Six boys and two girls were born to Mr. and Mrs. Craig, Margaret, Robert, Dorothy, Herbert, Ralph, Alfred, Alvin, and Eddie. The little son Ralph passed away at Dunning, March 10, 1916.

December 14, 1928, a tragic loss came to Rev. Craig in the death of his beloved wife in the prime of life. Left alone with the responsibility of a young family, he bravely maintained the home and educated his family.

May 23, 1930, Reverend Craig officiated in a tenderly impressive ceremony, uniting his eldest daughter, Margaret to Lloyd Lewis at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Satterfield in Taylor, Nebraska.

One of the greatest joys of his life was his one and only grandchild, baby Gaylord Jon Lewis, six months of age.

Those who mourn the passing of this loving father and minister of friendship to acquaintenances far and near are the children, Margaret Lewis, Tayor; Dorothy Craig, Omaha; Robert, employed in the geology department of New Jersey Standard Oil Company, who is making final preparations for departure to Hungary in the interests of his company; Herbert, Sutherland; Afred, Elko, Nevada; Alvin, a student at Doane, Crete, Nebraska; and Eddie, a senior in the Campbell high school and the friends saddened are countless.

Funeral services hald at Taylor Congregational church Tuesday afternoon was impressive and beautiful. A profusion of flowers in elaborate design, simple sprays and sheaves were the silent expressions of high regard and love. The church auditorium was filled with friends from Campbell, Dunning, Halsey, Brewster and Taylor.

Rev. Kenneth Lemon made the opening prayer and read the scripture, Rev. Light of the Burwell Congregational church read the obituary sketch prepared by Marcia C. Smith and a tribute to the deceased written by Thurman A. Smith. Rev. E. Merle Adams, superintendent of Nebraska Congregational Churches delivered the finely spoken eulogy, theme, Acts 11:24, &ldqou;For he was a man and full of the holy spirit and of Faith.”

Interment was in the Kent cemetery. Thus closing the life chapter of Rev. Craig whose almost limitless Christian service to his people included more than nine hundred funeral services, the final service held on Thursday afternoon, the day before his death, at Halsey, Nebraska.

Rev. John E. Craig

Services were conducted at the parsonage at Campbell, Nebraska, at 9:00 A.M. Monday, October 31st. A ladies quartette sang, “Nearer My God to Thee.” A brief obituary was read by Rev. Harry Tweedy, pastor of the Doniphan Congregational Church. Rev. Craig once occupied the pulpit at Doniphan and Rev. Tweedy at Campbell. The two ministerial friendships dated back to 1903 when doing Sunday School work together. Fitting tributes were made by Rev. Tweedy and also by the pastor of the Campbell Lutheran Church. The Senior class of the Campbell Schools of which Eddie is a member attended in a body. Four of the senior girls served as flower girls in a very lovely way. The cortege then departed on the journey to Taylor, Nebraska.

A Tribute to the Shepherd
of the Hills

We of the Sandhills are essentially hero worshippers. Deeds count first in our estimate of character. Sterling worth must be outstanding. For wealth is gold we care not much, but for everyday heroic living we have high regard.

Huge masses of granite or marble erected in honor of our dead, may indicate only, money sufficient to pay the price. Many are enshrined in our affections as lovable characters because of noble living, whose last earthly resting place is marked but by a painted board or crudely chiselled stone marker, modest in the extreme.

In our estimation it is vastly better to live in the memory and traditions of coming generations, as one who loved and served his fellow men, than to endure only in ostly, towering stone.

Today, uncounted friends of John E. Craig, throughout the confines of the Sandhills, will pause in mediation inspired by loving memories of earlier associations—christenings, conversions, marriages, deaths. Tears will fall in sympathy for the bereaved children, and a deep sense of personal loss. All will join with me in dedicating the following lines to the life and works of the Reverend John E. Craig, for many years a pastor of Congregational churches in Nebraska’s Sandhills—a real Shepherd of the Hills:

To cause two blades of grass to grow where once
But one the drifting sands scarce held,
The early Sandhill settler made his task
   —And this was good.
To bring high thots of God, to glorify God’s Son,
The Prince of Peace, the Saviour of mankind;
To plant good seed, to see it pierce
The stubborn sod of prejudice and pride,
Growing into a life of Christlike beauty:
This was the task he laid upon his soul
   —His call to labor for man’s salvation.
For many years he traveled Sandhill trails,
Braving the heat of summer, and the winter’s cold,
The blizzard’s smother of white, relentless death;
Afraid of naught, but that he fail to do
The bidding of his Lord and Master
   —His a work of love, not sacrifice.
Leading youth into paths of high endeavor,
Guiding their steps into personal relationship
With God, helping the weak, the wayside man
Who could not stand the gaff of life alone;
Bringing words of comfort to the one
Upon the sunset slope of life, who scarcely
Dared to take God at His word and
Claim the promise of eternal ife in Heaven
   —His work of love bore fruit.
Oft have I seen him weep, as by the funeral bier
Of saint, or may be sinner, he’d stand, and from
God’s Book bring words of comfort to the living.
In this he never failed, and by this sign
His services were sought throughout the Hills,
For souls he’d led to God, or higher living.
Rejoicing with tears, that God had blest his sowing,
He lived to see them pass across death’s stream to Glory
   —His sheaves, flowers fair or golden grain.
When death approached on stealthy steps of pain,
Calmly, unafraid he heard his Master say:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant!”>
Come to the joy unspeakable for you prepared
   —Calmly he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

         —Thurman A. Smith

The Farnam Echo 35(14):1 Thursday, December 8, 1938

Published: 3/3/2024 - http://www.historicfarnam.us/cemetery/obits/index.asp
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