Long-time Juneau resident, Joe Craig, passed away in the early morning hours of Friday, October 18th, felled by a heart attack while hunting wild pigs on his macadamia nut orchard on the Big Island of Hawaii. Joe was born in Selma, California, the youngest of four children born to Glen and Barbara Craig. The Craig family ranched in Nevada and Idaho until 1959 when they purchased a vintage wooden yacht, the M/V Denali, and headed up the Inside Passage to settle in Juneau and explore Southeast Alaska. The family also chased gold on the Fortymile and Kantishna Rivers of the Alaska interior. Joe stayed in Southeast after graduating from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1970. He built a cabin in the small fishing village of Elfin Cove where he began a 42 year career as a commercial fisherman trolling for salmon and long lining for halibut. He started out reeling in his fish by hand in a beautiful wood ski, the Alia, and later graduated to a succession of bigger and better power trollers including the Fools Gold and the Njord. He slayed a LOT of fish in his day and he did it with skill and pride. Joe married Sandy Paddock in 1982 and they were blessed with a son, Cal. In 1987 they moved from Elfin Cove to Douglas so Cal could attend kindergarten at Gastineau Elementary. Joe enjoyed living in Douglas and especially loved watching youth sporting events, skiing at Eaglecrest, and working in his shop. Each summer the family returned to Elfn Cove to fish and enjoy village life. In 2001, Cal graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School and left home for college. Joe and Sandy began spending winters in Hawaii and soon became macadamia nut farmers. They raised nuts, limes and horses during the winter and slayed fish in Alaska during the summer. It was a good life. His friends remember Joe as having a witty sense of humor, a clear vision of what he wanted out of life, and the self-discipline and patience that allowed him to achieve his dreams. Although he always had a to-do list in his pocket, he never passed up the opportunity to share a beer and conversation with friends. On too many occasions to recount, Joe would take the time to dig through his shop for a spare part or build the part to help get a friend's boat running again. He is survived by his wife Sandy and son Cal, both of whom fished with him and laughed with him. He is also survived by his brother Bob of Fernley, NV, and sister Sheri Lundell of Portland, OR, and numerous nieces and nephews. He will be deeply missed.
A gathering to remember and celebrate Joe's life is being planned for sometime this winter in Juneau.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Nov. 19 to Nov. 20, 2013