Mass of Christian Burial for 72-year old Dave Craig of Gillette, Wyo, will be held Friday June 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm at the Craig family home, 3804 Roundup Drive, Gillette, with Father Bryce Lungren and Father Cliff Jacobson officiating.
The family encourages all who are unable to attend to view the service as it will be streamed live on the Gillette Memorial Chapel website; www.gillettememorialchapel.com; a link will be attached to Dave’s obituary page.
A vigil will be held Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Gillette.
David William Craig was born on June 5, 1947 in Clovis, New Mexico and went to be the Lord on May 18, 2020 after a horse accident at his home in Gillette. Dave and his wife Sally Rankin Craig, formerly of Douglas, Wyo, moved to the Gillette community in 1993 and are active members of St. Matthew Catholic Church.
Dave was born to John and Wanda Craig and spent most of his childhood in Las Vegas, NM, with his family, including three siblings. Dave started his college education at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, later transferring to Casper College, Wyo, on a rodeo scholarship.
Dave and Sally met while they were students at Casper College and they married in 1968. Dave continued his education at the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University, earning Master’s Degrees in electronics and industrial technologies. Dave taught at Farmington High School in New Mexico and Chadron State College in Nebraska, before going into the oil and gas business as a drilling and production engineer.
Dave finished his professional career as an electronics teacher at Campbell County High School and Gillette College. Most recently, Dave completed his certificate in operational drilling technology. Dave believed deeply in the value of education and never missed an opportunity to encourage students to pursue their aspirations.
One of Dave’s lifelong passions was rodeo. After rodeoing in high school and college, he competed for years in the PRCA – Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association – as a bareback bronc rider and team roper. He was a Gold Card member of the PRCA, the National Team Ropers and an alumni of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.
Always an educator, Dave coached rodeo at Chadron State College where his teams won multiple national championships. He passed the love of rodeo to his daughters, who grew up competing in rodeo, horse showing, horse judging, and 4H.
Dave was a man of many interests and later in life he took up the sport of road cycling and racing as a USA Cycling competitor. He could be found with his bike wagon at senior pro bike races and national championships throughout the country either competing himself or supporting other racers.
Dave was a friend to all and a constant champion of the underdog. He loved youth, the underserved, and anyone who needed a helping hand. He was known for his hours-long conversations with friends and strangers alike.
On more than one occasion he opened the family home to those needing a bed for the night or perhaps a year-long home. Travelers, rodeo families, and “friends of friends” passing through Wyoming knew that they would find a roof, warm meals, and even warmer conversation at the Craig home. He would not hesitate to empty his wallet to a person in need or spend hours “mechanicing” on their broken-down vehicles.
He was gregarious and fun loving and took on the world to chase his dreams and champion the dreams of others, especially his family. Like any true rodeo cowboy, Dave loved life on the road and happily drove across the country, day and night, for reasons big and small.
He was beloved by the rodeo community and his absence will leave a hole behind bucking chutes, at team ropings, and at dusty Sunday cowboy church services throughout the West.
Dave was a man who loved the Lord, loved new adventures and loved his family fiercely. He would surely give us this advice, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!’”
Dave is preceded in death by his parents, son-in-law Ryan Shay, and his grandson Kai Jaxon Vargo.
Dave is survived by his wife Sally Rankin Craig of Gillete, his daughters Lisa Renee Tumminello from Steamboat Springs, Colorado (husband Doug), Karina Fenderson from Flagstaff, Arizona (husband Jon), and Alicia Vargo from Flagstaff (husband Chris), and grandchildren Faith Haglin, Kristen Fenderson, David Fenderson, Caleb Powers, Drew Powers, Alexandra Berto, Bowden Tumminello, Skylar and Brayden Vargo.
Dave is also survived by his brothers Carroll Craig and Dan Craig, and his sister Kathy Foust. Dave’s nieces and nephews were as valued as his own children and he loved taking them in, talking with them, and being a support. Dave is loved by many more – family members, friends and kindred spirits.