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Richard Holton Cracroft

1936 ~ 2012
Richard Holton Cracroft, 76, our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, professor, mission president and friend died on Thursday, September 20, 2012, having lived long enough, beset as he was by a host of physical ailments. Through his life Dick employed boundless energy, enthusiasm, in all he undertook. He loved to write and speak about his deep faith and hope in the "the plan of happiness" and the Author of our Salvation. He thanks his doctors and the wonderfully professional and very human dialysis technicians at DaVita Dialysis for helping Janice keep him alive and comfortable for a long time. Now he has returned Home, bruised, scarred, battered, and fatally short-of-breath, and counting on the promise of a restorative Resurrection, which he hopes will dry all tears, ease all disappointments, and fix everything.
Dick was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 28, 1936, to Ralph and Grace Darling White Cracroft, the baby among two brothers and a sister, Laurance White Cracroft, Ralph Paul Cracroft, and Helen Grace Cracroft White (all of whom with their spouses predeceased him). He married Janice Marie Alger in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on September 17, 1959. Theirs was a wonderfully happy marriage. They have three cherished children: Richard Alger Cracroft (wife Dyanna died 2001); Jeffrey Ralph Cracroft; Jennifer Cracroft Lewis (died, 1994; Jen's husband became a third son to Janice and Dick and later married Carolyn Cohen, who became a daughter); 7 grandchildren: Elizabeth Grace, Richard Bryan, Rylee Shae, Kelsea Ann Cracroft, Jennifer Diana, Sarah Louise, Hannah Joy Lewis.
Dick attended Wasatch, Douglas, Roosevelt Jr. High Schools in Salt Lake City; he graduated from East High School (1954). He took a B.A. (1961) and M.A. (1963) in English; Ph.D. in American and English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1969); he taught English at Utah, Wisconsin, BYU.
He joined the Brigham Young University English Department faculty in 1963 and retired in 2001. At BYU he was English Department chair; dean of the College of Humanities; coordinator of American Studies; director, Center for the Study of Christian Values in Literature; editor, Literature and Belief. As professor of English he enjoyed enduring friendships and associations with BYU students over 40 years.
A prolific and widely published scholar in American, Western American, Mormon, and German literature, he wrote or edited 18 books, including 5 volumes, The Collected Writings of Richard Holton Cracroft (2011). A lifelong, voracious reader, he and Janice have belonged since 1964 to a Great Books study group of cherished friends.
After his family, however, his greatest lifelong commitment was to his ministry as a Latter-day Saint and to testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Restoration. He served as a missionary and branch president in the Swiss-Austrian Mission (1956-1959)-a watershed experience which indelibly changed his life; president, Provo Utah East Stake (1973-1983); president, Switzerland Zürich Mission (1986-1989)-serving with 400 of "the best missionaries in this dispensation"; branch president, Provo MTC; faithful Ward and Home Teacher since 1950. Throughout his life, he stayed in close contact with those whom he taught the gospel as a young missionary, as well as with many of the missionaries and saints with whom he served in 1956-59 and 1986-89. He continued to the end of his life to have frequent contact with Swiss and Austrian saints.
He is survived by Janice, his beloved wife of 53 years; sons, Richard A.; Jeffrey R.; son-in-law Thomas Lewis (Carolyn); 7 grandchildren; brothers-in-law Ray Alger (Ellen), Glenn P. Alger (Jackie), and many beloved nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by parents, daughter Jennifer Lewis; daughter-in-law Dyanna Fancher Cracroft; brothers, sister, brothers-in-law and spouses-it was indeed a sweet homecoming for Dick.
A viewing will be held Sunday, September 23, 2012, from 6 - 8 pm at Walker Sanderson Funeral Home, 646 East 800 North, Orem, Utah.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, September 24, 2012 in the Cascade 1st Ward, 481 E. Center St., Orem. Friends may call at the chapel at 9:30 - 10:45 on Monday, September 24, 2012 at the Cascade1st Ward. Interment at East Lawn Memorial Hills Cemetery, 4800 N 650 E., Provo. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.walkersanderson.com.


Published in Deseret News on Sept. 21, 2012
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