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In loving memory of
James Irvin Craft
  • February 21, 1940
  • -
  • September 02, 2022

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James Irvin Craft, 82, passed away suddenly on Friday afternoon, September 02, 2022, in his home in The Villages, Florida.  He died peacefully sitting in his favorite recliner, watching one of his favorite sports (tennis), and eagerly anticipating playing 18 holes at Southern Oaks with family and friends the next morning.  Irv was born in his family home in Bramwell, West Virginia on February 21, 1940.  At age 18 (1958) he graduated from Grundy High School in Virginia. The following week, his parents and his two sisters, Jane and Carla, moved 12 hours away to Baltimore, Maryland.  Irv worked diligently to save some money. On September 19, 1958, he “borrowed” his mother’s car, drove back to Virginia, and picked up his teenage girlfriend, Betty Jane Norris (“BJ”), whom he had been “dating” (though she was not allowed to go out) for three years. They eloped, drove to Tennessee to hide, then drove back to Baltimore to live. They were nearing their 64th anniversary when Irv passed away.  Irv and BJ had three daughters.  He worked two jobs and also attended night school for many years and earned a degree in Logistics from the University of Baltimore.  Irv was Vice President of Logistics, Distribution, Transportation, and Fleet for Moore’s Lumber and Building Supplies Division (Roanoke, Virginia), where he was employed for 24 years.  It was a great relief to him when he earned enough to work only one job and could take his family to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for summer vacations with friends and family. He then became General Manager of Logistics for The Home Depot, where he worked for 10 years. During this period, he and BJ transferred from Atlanta to Detroit, Chicago, and Houston and looked at each transfer as a new adventure, made new friends, and savored the local culture. In addition, they traveled extensively, including west and north in the United States, and to Canada, England, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, France, and Germany. At age 66, Irv retired, and they moved to the Villages, Florida.  He planned to work part-time for a while but decided he would rather play and have fun full-time in the Villages.  Irv loved The Villages, often praised it’s organization and sense of community, and said it was his favorite place to live. He played pickleball and golf, enjoyed a whiskey sour or two at one of the squares, and gave his daughters tours of the new rec centers on their annual sisters’ visit.  Irv leaves loving memories to his wife, BJ, his daughters, Cindala Craft (husband, Tom) of Athens, Georgia; Suzanne Puckett (husband, Bob) of Elkin, North Carolina; and Hope Craft of Roanoke, Virginia; their grandchildren Courtney Wampler (husband, Thomas)  Brent Puckett (wife, Megan), Ben Goff (wife, Marissa),  Cameron Goff, Rachel Beard, Seth Beard (wife, Kayla), and Carlie Beard; and great-grandchildren, Carson Puckett, Trae Wampler, Perrin Wampler, Mila Goff, and Everett Goff.  Irv was a positive thinker and believed in making the most out of every day of life. In this spirit, his family will be holding a Celebration of Life between 2:00 – 4:00 pm. at the Sea Breeze Recreation Center in the Villages. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hands to Love in honor of his great-grandson, Trae Wampler at https://www.handstolove.org/giving/. The address is P.O. Box 140572 Gainesville, FL 32614-0572.  Arrangements entrusted with BALDWIN BROTHERS Funeral & Cremation Society-Spanish Springs, 352-480-5959.  Sentiments may be found online at www.baldwincremation.com

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  1. Teri Armstrong lit a candle:
    10 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 10, 2022 at 9:32:20 PM

  2. Teri Armstrong says:
    10 Sep 2022
    I was so young when y'all moved away but the love never left. Mr. Irv was one of the funniest sweetest men I've ever met. I'm thinking that he's playing twister with my mom & dad. I remember sitting on the steps peeking at them all having a blast & my dad was cheating by knocking Ms. BJ over. He saved my life at Mago vista when I was pushed off a tube and couldn't swim. He will always be remembered fondly. My heart goes out to your family. You're all in my thoughts & prayers. Sending hugs to all of you.

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