By Linda Craft Via
For many of you who are reading this, you may have known Bill Craft, a loyal, kind, very smart, humble, funny and wonderful person. I want to tell you about my Dad.
I am the youngest of three daughters. I am the stereotypical “Daddy’s girl.” He adored me, made me feel special and important all of the time. As a little girl, he let me hang out with him while he was in his workshop, creating beautiful furniture or “just piddling.” He always made me feel included in his time. He played checkers and chess with me and sat through countless puppet shows in the theater he built. He was always present when he gave me his attention; there was no distraction. We made pancakes on Saturday mornings. He’d take me sailing or just push me on the swing. As I got older, he’d take me shopping for a birthday outfit, mark the hem on the prom dresses I had sewn and check me over before I headed out on a date. Who does that? My Dad did, and it taught me that people make time for what’s important.
With his big arms that swallowed me with hugs, and those large hands, he guided me carefully into a young woman. I learned a lot from him, not because he was teaching me things, but because he let me into his world and shared. When he did teach me something, he did so with the patience that let me learn in my time, not his. This taught me to enjoy the process of something and not hurry through it, just to get to the good part at the end.
Dad expected us to act like young ladies and treated us that way. We’d go out to dinner, and he’d say, “Pretend like you’re dining with the President.” For a young girl, that was pretty profound and it has stayed with me ever since. He was big on manners, respect and discipline, but with a big heart, not a heavy hand. The way he treated me showed me how I could expect to be treated by a man, and it taught me what a husband for me would be like. These were very big shoes to fill, but I did find the perfect one — and he agreed!
Later, watching him with my three little boys, I saw it all over again. He loved being with them, sharing what he loved — the trains, the tractor rides and just being together, doing things.
It is incredible to have been loved “just because” by someone your whole life. I will cherish that forever. What he gave me in his life, I get to give to others. And what a beautiful gift that is — thank you, Dad.
Linda Craft Via is the youngest daughter of Bill Craft, who passed away on July 24. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.