J. Michael Crafaik III

J. Michael Crafaik III

J. Michael Crafaik III, born August 9, 1971, died Saturday, December 13, 2008, at the University of Virginia Medical Center, after a long and difficult struggle with bipolar disorder.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, John M. Crafaik Sr. and Amelia Yuskavitch Crafaik and Margaret Town Robinson.

He is survived by his fianc?, Cary May; his mother, Margaret Robinson; his father and stepmother, John M. Crafaik Jr. and Kay Neeley; brothers, Chris Strong, Arthur Crafaik, and Elliott Crafaik; grandfather, Hugh M. Robinson and his wife, Dixie Robinson; grandparents, Sam and Verna Neeley; sister-in-law, Colleen Strong; nieces Reilly, Audrey, and Sloan Strong; and aunts and uncles, Susan and Hugh M. Robinson, Jr. and Betsi and Shep Jordan.

Michael attended St. Anne's Belfield School and Corning Free Academy in Corning, New York, and graduated from Charlottesville High School, where he played soccer and participated in drama productions and was named a National Merit Scholar. He received degrees in Russian and physics from the University of Virginia in 1993.

In 1994, he founded Michael's Bistro and Tap House on the University Corner. Although Michael came from a family of restaurateurs, the concept behind The Bistro was entirely his own, and he executed it with remarkable skill. The Bistro was one of the first establishments in Charlottesville to offer patrons the opportunity to gain an appreciation for a wide selection of exotic microbrew beers and to offer special dinners at which the food was carefully paired with beers that would complement it. Michael's Bistro will continue to be operated in Michael's honor by family members and his devoted staff.

From the time he was in high school, Michael was intensely interested in politics. After graduating from the University of Virginia, he participated in a group that gathered regularly to discuss political issues and was active in the local Republican party. He was a vibrant thinker who was particularly attracted to the philosophy of the Libertarian party. In 1996 and 1998, he ran for City Council as what the newspapers usually called "the lone Republican candidate." Although he did not win either election, he enjoyed the campaigning process and grew through it.

Michael had a wide range of interests outside of his work-related interests in fine food, beer, wine, and music. He was an avid ultimate Frisbee player who organized several local teams. He enjoyed hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities and was very knowledgeable about nutrition and alternative approaches to health and healing. He was also a certified yoga instructor and read extensively in various spiritual traditions.

Michael had an infectious laugh, a wonderful sense of humor, exceptional empathy, and a lively and flexible intellect. He was an "inquiring mind" in all the best senses of that word. He had an enormous capacity for affection and a strong urge to connect with the members of his immediate and extended families. He was a devoted and thoughtful son and grandson, an involved and empathetic brother, a beloved uncle, and a delightful companion and friend. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

The family will receive visitors at Hill and Wood Funeral Home from 6:30 until 8 p.m. Thursday, December 18, 2008.

A memorial service will be held at Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church on Rugby Road, 2 p.m. Friday, December 19, 2008.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the LifeNet Health Foundation www.lifenet-foundation.org or to the charity of your choice.

This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.
Published by Daily Progress from Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, 2008.
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62 Entries
While I was never fortunate enough to know Michael, I was a very close friend to his fiance, Cary May, during our high school years. My mother still lives in C'ville and when she told me of this tragedy, I couldn't believe it!

I know the loving soul Cary has, and can only imagine she would pick a guy as wonderful as she was! If you're out there Cary, I'm so very sorry for your loss! As well as my sympathy to all his family and friends.
Carrie Rimmer
May 26, 2009
I was in love with Michael and his energy from the first time that I saw him at Pi Kap in school year I think it was 93. We were lucky to know him. I am sure that God was with him that day. The end, HPP
Hannah Papa
March 27, 2009
Was awfully sorry to hear the news. Michael was a fine fella; one I was proud to know. He gave a great deal to many and his enthusiasm was infectious. Will miss our conversations.
Ben Marchi
December 27, 2008
I was deeply moved to hear of Michael's passing a short time ago and my heart goes out to his family. Around 2000, Michael and I shared office space on Preston Avenue when I was running Foreign Language Services and he was running the Bistro. I will always remember Michael's bright mind, his cheerful, friendly spirit, and his courage to creatively forge new paths. My life is richer from having known him.

May you find happiness and rest, Michael. Peace, brother.
Jeff Leach
December 23, 2008
In the 12 years I knew Michael he was the perfect gentlemen, full of bonhomie and love of life. He will be missed.
"11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
1 Corinthians 13
Robert Nowicki
December 19, 2008
The news just came to me from another Bistro Alum this evening.

To the Crafaik Family: I am so sorry for your loss, my heart and prayers are with you.

I can share that we had known each other for some time - about fifteen years. I embarrassed my pride and esteem to him in our first year or so of knowing each other, but over the years he gave me more than decency and respect in return. He gave the full measure of his heart and focus in each of our meetings. There is something more, though - he opened his joys and vulnerabilities in those moments as well, encouraging me to really give into a conversation what was happening with me at the time. He is someone that embodied what I feel to be the essence of friendship. Michael, I will miss you.
Stewart Millard
December 18, 2008
Dear John & Kay,
My deepest condolences. Without Miles, I would have never met you this past August. You are so special in his life.
With love, Your friend,
Bruce Seltzer
December 17, 2008
My deepest sympathy to his friends and family. I knew him at CHS, had followed his accomplishments since then. He was a very gifted man.
Savannah Ray Thompson
December 17, 2008
John and Kay - we are so sorry to hear of Michael's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Larry and Pat Scribner
Louie Scribner
December 17, 2008
Mike,thanks fo all the wonderful chats and all the LOL,I will miss you very much,but God has a plan fo all of us,keep a place for me,,,My paryers go to the Family...
Bobby M
December 17, 2008
Bobby M
December 17, 2008
So fragile a lace
Tattered and torn
Mended in haste
With a thread from before
A fayed little stitching
With damaged cross knitting
Crumbles to waste
In a cautious embrace
And this last ragged thread
By which it survives
Displays what is beautiful
While woven to hide
Where it is safe
To let this amazing thread tie

My thoughts are with Michael's family and with CaryMae. May you find peace and comfort in these days ahead and the strength of the heavens be with you all.
Jenn Welborn
December 17, 2008
I am sorry for your lost, and want to extend my condolences to the family and friends of Mike. He was a good guy and touched the lives of many. He will be missed. Peace and May God Bless You All.
Daniel Norman
December 17, 2008
We are so sorry for your loss. May you find the strength of family during this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Mike and Dinah Jarrell
December 17, 2008
I was truly saddened to hear of Michael's passing. I only met him one time, several years ago. I thought at the time he was special...his smile, his compassion, his humanity. My condolences to his family and friends at this sad time but know they will cherish their memories of him.
Melanie Mott
December 16, 2008
I am so sorry for your loss, he was a friend.
Jay McNeely
December 16, 2008
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Randy Mayo
December 16, 2008
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
mary sandridge
December 16, 2008
Sorry for your loss. Michael was a good friend and will be missed.
Erik Henyon
December 16, 2008

I was so sorry to hear of your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Roger Baber
December 16, 2008
I was deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Michael. My wishes and prayers are with Carrie, Chuck, and Michael's family.
Kim Grover
December 16, 2008
Dear John, Kay, Arthur, and Elliott,

On behalf of the Students, Faculty, and Staff of Miller School I send you our deepest condolences. Michael had many gifts and talents and shared them so generously with our school. Michael - and all of you - will be in our thoughts and prayers.
Rita Ralston (Miller School)
December 16, 2008
I am profoundly saddened by this loss. There are so many people throughout the extended Charlottesville community who loved and cared for Michael. My deepest sympathies are with them and his family.
Amy Moomaw Goodnight
December 16, 2008
John and Family...
We were shocked and saddened to read of Michael's passing. No one should ever have to suffer the loss of a child. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this very difficult time.
John & Lisa Peterson
December 16, 2008
Dear John and Kay,

Sorry for your loss, Michael was a good man,hard working.
Michael Roberts
December 16, 2008
So very sorry to hear the news. Although it had been many years since we spoke, I remember Michael to be charming, witty and insightful.... He will be missed.
Barbara Hudson
December 15, 2008
John, Kay & Family. We are so saddened by our loss of Michael - and especially for your loss. I was in Michael's Bistro on the 1st of this November and was so hoping to see him. I missed - but left word.

Michael was so lovable and loved. His family and those who knew and loved him were blessed to have him for as long as we did. May we all share in the peace that Michael sought.

Douglas Cronkright
December 15, 2008
This is really sad, I wish for grace and comfort especially to Cary and all the rest of you whom I havent met yet and I wish I could somehow express my heartfelt symphathy on all of your behalf.
Steve Nissley
December 15, 2008
Michael was an old dear friend. While I had not seen him in a while, I always thought fondly of him and have some wonderful memories. He was bright, charming and engaging. He had a wonderful smile and a great sense of humor. He touched my life and inspired me in many ways. I know he will be missed by many. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his friends, family and loved ones.
Heather Mott
December 15, 2008
Cary May,
I was devastated to hear of your loss. I am so sorry. I wish I could be there in person to support you through this hard time.
Much Love Always,
Jenny Dean
Jenny Dean
December 15, 2008
Dear Meg, John, Kay, Hugh, family and friends: We are so sorry to hear of the untimely loss of Michael, and wish you comfort. With Love, Danny, Neli, and Alexander
Danny Ramirez
December 15, 2008
Terry and I are so sorry for your tragic loss. Michael had such a wonderful chapter of his life about to unfold with you; this is heartbreaking. You'll be in our thoughts and prayers.
Cindy Reynolds
December 15, 2008
I knew Mike in High School and College. I hadn't seen him for a few years- but would always stop by Mike's Bistro when in Charlottesville to see what he was up to. He was always a great guy to be around. He was intelligent, witty, and had a great sense of humor. I am very sorry for your loss. He will be missed.
Bob Magielnicki
December 15, 2008
Dear Kay, John and family,
We are so saddened by the death of Michael. Our entire family loved him greatly and will always remember his wonderful smile, humor and gracious ways. Our hope is that he is at peace.
Sheila Evans (Cronkright)
December 15, 2008
Mike, take care and god rest your soul. Surely the angels are rejoicing to have another angel with them. To his family, My prayer and thoughts are with you doing this time of your lost.
Barry Churchman
December 15, 2008
John & kay
During this time is very hard. But god knows what he is doing he never gives us to much to handle.
In our life time seem short but we contiued to keep moving on giving encouragement,love,kindness and understanding and making sure that we leave a legacy for every one to remember and Michael you have done that you choose the path that you went down and became the person that you were and still are you left a huge mark in people life I remeber the first time my mother told me how you were and every time you seen me you were always so kind my family has been apart of my family as long as I can remeber we will always cherish the moments that we all shared with you. You will be missed but god has you know
Alfreda Wells-Carter
December 15, 2008
We were so sad hear the news. Our thoughts are with Cary and with Michael's family.

Caroline Polk and Forrest Swope
Caroline Polk
December 15, 2008
John, Kay and family: I am deeply saddened by this news. Michael was indeed a special person. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Ebbie Taylor
December 15, 2008
Dear Michael,
It's been a pleasure getting to know you. I respect your depth and sincerity greatly. You have always done your best to be honest and forthright and to rise above. I know it's been a struggle.

I wish you great and enduring peace. Know my prayers and blessings are with you. I am grateful for our talks and ponderings.

I love you and appreciate your kindness and consideration.

Sincerest regards and condolences, Tim
Tim Rose
December 15, 2008
John, Kay, Arthur, Elliott, and the rest of the family,

I'm so sorry to hear about this, and I speak on my whole family's behalf when I say that we are here for you. We love ya'll so much and will miss Michael even more. The boys should have my number if you need us.

Love always

Aly & the rest of the Kinders
Aly Kinder
December 14, 2008
I'm so sorry to hear about this loss to our community. We will miss Michael's talent and energy. Peace to your family.
H Burns
December 14, 2008
I knew Michael from CHS and was terribly sorry to hear this news. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
Ann Hudson
December 14, 2008
John, Kay, Arthur,Elliot & Extended Family

We are so sorry for your loss. Though we had not seen Michael for many years, he had impressed us as being a special individual. We are praying for all of you and hope that God's tender hand comforts you all throughout this difficult time.

Bob, Rose and Jackie Griffin
Bob Griffin
December 14, 2008
Bi-Polar disorder is so frustrating and upsetting and confusing to those affected by it. Not just those who suffer from it, but those who care so much for those who suffer with it. I have travelled a long road with an amazing person who triumphed and succeeds free of the issue. There can be a light at the end. Hold on. I wish you peace on your journey there. Good people should not suffer this.
Sarah Landon
December 14, 2008
Peace to your soul, Michael. I'll miss seeing you around.
Jamie Dyer
December 14, 2008
Dear Meg, Chris & Colleen -
We are sending loving thoughts and prayers to you at this sad time. We are so very sorry for your loss.
Chris & Tom Dennison
Christine Dennison
December 14, 2008
Our thoughts and prayers are with all who loved Michael. I know he will be missed.

With love and sympathy,
The Lechmanski Family
Matt and Jordan Lechmanski
December 14, 2008
I went to highschool with Michael and I am so sorry for your loss.
Liz Lyons-Wood
December 14, 2008
Dear Chris and family: My sisters, brother and I went to school with you and Michael. I'm so saddened by the news of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers and with you all.
Cathy St. John Robb
December 14, 2008
December 14, 2008
In My Pocket

I have memories in my pocket.
They rattle among the change.

My memories of you are treasures I carry wherever I go.

They are stored in bits and pieces, parts of a beautiful whole
They give me comfort when I think I am alone.

Yes, I have memories in my pocket, like so much other stuff I keep there.

But of all the treasures I have, it’s the memories of you that are the most precious.

December 14, 2008
I am very sorry for your loss. Michael was a kind man who gave his whole heart whenever he could. He will be missed. I wish that he may find peace now.
Apple Plotnick
December 14, 2008
Dear Meg, John and Kay - and all the Crafaik family - I was so shocked and saddened to hear Michael's name today when we prayed at church. I'll miss his laugh and great smile. I'll never forget the fun we had at his 35th birthday party. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Love, Cyane Williams
Cyane Williams
December 14, 2008
To John and the rest of the family, my heart and prayers go out to you in this difficult time of need. May God bless you all
Sherry-Wilson Gray
December 14, 2008
Michael was always an inspiration to me. I hope he found his peace. His contributions to our community will live on for a long time to come.
Travis Dotson
December 14, 2008
We are all so sad and send our thoughts to all of you.
Suzanne Moomaw
December 14, 2008
Dear John Jr., We went to UVA together. I remember you, although you may not remember me. I have two boys living in Charlottesville now who went to school with your son at Charlottesville High, I believe, Chuck and Christopher. I am so sorry to see that you have lost your son, something that all parents live in fear of, and I can only imagine the heartach you feel. Incidentally, I co-founded "POE'S" at The Corner back in 1970. I see that your son also had a restaurant business there. I accidentally came across the death of your son in the "Daily Progress" as I was led from the Norfolk newspaper obituary for Virginia Hotchkiss, one of my Mother's closest friends, to the Charlottesville paper. Anyway, I'm thinking of you and wish you the best although I suspect you will never get over this. Charles (Chuck) Davis
Charles (Chuck) Davis
December 14, 2008
To the Crafaik family, I pray God will strengthen you all in your hour of bereavement. My prayers are with you.
Betty Ross
December 14, 2008
Michael had the innocence of a child that was infectious. He was an engaging conversationalist and shared like no other man his deepest passions openly. He made you feel things, not many people can do that, truly a gift.
Memory: During an ultimate game Michael carried around a crucifix in his compression shorts.and shared snacks like grapefruits and we went for rides in his families neighborhood where he shared fond memories of growing up.
Michael I am so sorry life was so hard for you, we did not want that.
To his family : He often shared how he ,and I quote him,"Loves you". I am deeply sorry for your loss, and pray God and time heal you. Susan
Susan Wunderlich
December 14, 2008
Going to miss seeing you on the corner or at john & kay, really it was a nice feeling to known a nice person like you we will all miss you, I wish the family my best during these times.
James Walker Jr
December 14, 2008
I knew Mike from high school. I am so sorry for your loss. I know it must be difficult at this time of year, and I pray that God grant you the peace you need to overcome your grief. God Bless.
tara kunkler
December 14, 2008
We are so saddened by your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family.
Wyatt & Trish Owens
Trish Owens
December 14, 2008
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