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.