GEORGE R. "RON" CRAFT, 66
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LAKELAND - George R. "Ron" Craft, 66, slipped away on January 20, 2014, of complications from: pancreatic cancer. He was a father, a grandfather, a step father and a husband to the love of his life and best friend Maud.
Ron lived his life on his terms, every day of it, while trying to always consider those who's life he touched.
He grew up on his Dad's used car lot, where he developed his love for automobiles. He graduated from LHS class of 65 and attended St. Petersburg Jr. College, but his love for cars continued to dominate his life. He left school and went to work for the a Dodge Dealer in St. Pete. With the war in Vietnam raging on, he received his notice and joined the US Army where he was decorated and proudly served in combat. He came home from the war and returned to St Pete, where he met and married his first wife, the mother of his beloved daughter Jennifer, the sunshine of his life. They moved back to Lakeland where he joined the team at Ray Durdin Chevrolet. Their lives took different directions and they ultimately reached an amicable divorce. They stayed close friends always. Ron then met his best friend, Maud, an began his journey along life's highway. They moved to Baytown, TX with her son Jon Fuchs, where he became, with Rays help and guidance and Maud by his side, owner-operator of Ron Craft Chevrolet, Inc. Ron and Maud were married on a snowy afternoon in Lake Tahoe in 1984. They bought out their partner and went on to successfully buy and operate Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Subaru, Chrysler, Plymouth and Jeep franchises along with their Chevrolet Dealership. He never lost his ties to Lakeland as he came back constantly to see his beloved daughter Jennifer, affectionately known to him as his "Peanut". With Jon pursuing a successful law career in Tallahassee and Jen married and back in Lakeland working with Hall Communications as "Jeni Taylor", on air personality and Music Director, and Mom to her dream come true and his grandson Matthew, they began to think about the next chapter of their lives together. Ron and Maud sold their highly successful business in 2000, to pursue their dream of building and living in the mountains of Whitefish, Mt. Along the way Ron never lost his love of cars. Building numerous award winning Hot Rods and Harley's. Whatever step he took, his loving wife was by his side in everything. He saw her as his wife, his love and his best friend always: They were never apart. He passed away with his loving wife Maud, and his wonderful family by his side. He will be missed by all whose lives he touched.
In addition to his wife Maud, he is survived by his beloved daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Bobby Batson, their son and his grandson Matthew, of Lakeland, his loving step son Jon Fuchs of Tallahassee, his sister Brenda Craft, the kindest caring person ever born, the most wonderful Mom God ever saw fit to breathe life in, Evelyn Craft and Jen's Mom Lee Craft, all of Lakeland. He's preceded in death by the best father a guy could have, J.B. "Jake" Craft Jr. and his two best pals Jake and Cutter. Ron said often, "Life's a trip. Live every day of it. It goes by in a blink.
The family would like to thank Dr. Shalini Mulaparthi for her dedicated services, personal support and compassion throughout the process.
Published in Ledger from Jan. 23 to Jan. 25, 2014