Keith Craft

Keith Clayton Craft, 64, passed away, with his family by his side, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.
Keith was born January 19, 1957 at Lockbourne AFB Hospital, in Groveport, Ohio to Alfred C. Craft, and Marvadeen L. (Rind) Craft.

A resident of Cartwright since early childhood, Keith spent his life on the family farm. He graduated from Colbert High School in 1975. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Aviation from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1981, returning to complete his master’s degree in Aviation/Business Administration in 1995.

Surpassed only by the love he had for his family, his lifelong loves were the U.S. Navy and flying. He earned his first license to fly in 1973, at age 16, and spent most of his career in the sky. While on the ground, he spent time aiding his community, or teaching others. Keith served as a Reserve Deputy for Bryan County Sheriff’s Dept. from 1994-1996, and to share his love of flying, Keith also taught at SOSU from 1997-1999 as Chief Ground Instructor and Assistant Director/Flight Instructor. Keith was happiest in the sky, and in addition to his flight duties while serving in the Navy, he held several jobs as a private and commercial pilot throughout his lifetime, beginning with Cherokee Construction in 1995, ending with his final landing in 2011 when he retired from Bombardier/Flex Jet.

Keith retired at the rank of Commander from the U.S. Naval Reserves in October 2009, having devoted 28 years to defending his country. He enlisted in May 1981, completing Naval Aviation Officer Candidate School and receiving his Commission in September 1981. Called to Active-Duty multiple times during his career, he proudly served during many campaigns and war-time operations including Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Noble Eagle. Keith spent much of his career on the ocean, having served on the U.S.S. Enterprise, U.S.S. Nimitz, and U.S.S. Constellation. Of his many awards and achievements, he was most proud of earning a Citation for Heroic Achievement in Aerial Flight in 1984. Other Medals and Awards earned over his career include Aviator’s Valor Medal, Air Medal Bronze Star, Sea Service Deployment (3) -Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Southwest Asia Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (3), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (2) Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, and many other Unit Citations and Commendations. Words used by his Naval Command to describe Keith were “Most Exceptional”, “Indispensable Asset”, “Exceptionally Talented”, “Unsurpassed Leadership”. All that knew him would agree that those words are accurate. He was truly a hero – to his peers, his friends, and to his family.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Marvadeen, in 2006, and his father, Alfred, in 2017.

He is survived by his fiancée, Andrea; son, Duncan (Laura); sister, Connie (Coy Briggs); two nephews, Justin and Joshua; three grandchildren, Charlotte, Annie, and Caleb and many friends.

Per Keith’s wishes, visitation will not be observed.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Brown’s Funeral Home in Durant on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 at 2 p.m.
Arrangements under the direction of Brown’s Funeral Home.

 

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