LeRoy Craig, 89, of Jerome, Idaho passed away peacefully on September 17, 2023 surrounded by his family. He was born March 23, 1934, to Elmer and Oriel Craig. He attended school through the 2nd grade in Jerome. His father was a civilian employee in the Navy and the family moved to Nevada and Nebraska for the remainder of LeRoy’s grade school years. After World War II ended, they moved again to Washington and Oregon. Despite all the moves in his life, LeRoy always found a way to fit in wherever he lived. LeRoy began his love of reading on Bainbridge Island where a mobile library came around once a week.
The Craig family eventually moved back to Idaho when LeRoy was in high school. He worked four jobs (at a department store on Saturday, delivering milk at 4 a.m., delivering newspapers, and writing a column called Tiger Tales about Jerome High school for the local paper). He graduated from Jerome High School in 1952. After graduation, LeRoy wanted to go to college, but finances weren’t available. He was given the chance to take a competitive exam that won him entrance to Olympia Junior College in Bremerton, Washington. He took engineering courses for half a day and worked in the Naval Shipyards the other half. While LeRoy was in college (1953) his draft notice came and he was told not to enroll for another year so he went home.
During this time, Tom Prescott remembered the hardworking kid and he asked LeRoy to work for Heiss Investments while he waited. LeRoy was always grateful for this opportunity. The draft was actually delayed (because the Korean War ended) and he worked for Heiss Investments from 1953-55. While LeRoy dated others, he came back from a Jaycees convention and pursued the girl he wanted to marry. He married Joyce Skiver on April 15, 1955 (it wasn’t Tax Day back then!).
He was drafted in the Army and in December 1955 the couple moved to El Paso, Texas where he was stationed at Fort Bliss. LeRoy worked on the guided missile program (Nike) for the S2 Intelligence department handling secret clearances and documents and giving security briefings. Following his separation from the Army in 1957, he received commendation from the Brigade Commander. He also served in the Army Reserves.
LeRoy returned to Jerome and the insurance business at Heiss Investments. Eventually he went into partnership with Tom Prescott and the agency was changed to Prescott and Craig Insurance which is still in operation in Jerome.
LeRoy was very active in the community starting with Jerome Jaycees where he became Idaho Jaycees State President. He traveled 65,000 miles throughout Idaho and other states during his year as President. LeRoy held many other offices for Jerome Chamber of Commerce, Jerome Library Board, Republican State Committee, and Jerome Rotary Club. He also won a number of Insurance Agent of the Year awards, Jerome Citizen of the Year, as well as Jerome and Idaho State Distinguished Service Awards.
LeRoy and Joyce were married for 68 years and they have six children, Valerie, Jody, Brad, JuLee, Bryan, and Barrett. Valerie, their first child, died during childbirth and their son, Brad, died as a passenger in a car when he was 18 years old. LeRoy and Joyce traveled to 35 countries over the years where the highlight was meeting people of different cultures. LeRoy also loved running and he ran the Portland Marathon five times and as well as other local races (sometimes with his sons). Family is very important to LeRoy and Joyce and they loved getting together with their 6 children, 26 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
In 1975, LeRoy was asked to join the CSI Board of Trustees. His love of education and serving others aligned with this opportunity and he was reelected as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for 35 years. LeRoy was keenly aware of how difficult, if not impossible, it was for part-time students to receive college scholarships. After their son Brad passed away, LeRoy and Joyce established the Brad Craig Memorial Scholarship in his name to assist part-time students. Since that time, hundreds of CSI students have received the Brad Craig Memorial Scholarship.
Other scholarships soon followed, one in the name of their grandson, Chance Craig, and one in the name of Joyce’s mother, Bertha Skiver. For their 65th wedding anniversary, their children established the LeRoy and Joyce Craig Scholarship for first generation students in their honor. In recognition of LeRoy’s lifelong service to the College of Southern Idaho and to the community of Jerome, the CSI Board of Trustees recently named their future location as the LeRoy Craig Jerome Center.
LeRoy lived a full and exciting life. He genuinely loved people and he was generous with his time and resources. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
LeRoy is survived by his wife, Joyce; six children, Jody, JuLee, Bryan (Autumn), and Barrett (Rachel); 26 grandchildren, Jeni, Pete (Bernadette), Gabrielle (Jeremy), Brenton (Laura), Chelsea (Mike), Brady (Sarah), Walker (Fehrnanda), Chase (Ashley), Teagan, Tatumn (Lavonte), Camden, Ema, Ava, Oakland, and Bohdi, Bradford, Kathryn, and Abigail; and 7 great-grandchildren, Jade, Jocelyn, Kiara, Brooke, Kolbi, Julien, and Kialer.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father; two sisters; a daughter, a son, a granddaughter, and a grandson.
A viewing will be held from 6 pm until 8 pm, Friday, September 22, 2023 at Farnsworth Mortuary, 1343 S Lincoln Ave, Jerome. Funeral service will be held at 11 am, Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Jerome High School, 104 N. Tiger Drive, Jerome, with a reception to follow. A private family burial will conclude at the Jerome Cemetery.
If you would like to honor LeRoy, the family suggests memorial contributions to the CSI Foundation.
Funeral service will be live-streamed on the Farnsworth Mortuary & Crematory Facebook page.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on LeRoy’s memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com.