Charles Benton “Charlie” Craft, 81, of Shelbyville, passed away Thursday, January 21, 2021 at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.
He was born May 16, 1939, in Breathitt County, Kentucky, to Rev. Grover C. and Laura (Bach) Craft. On February 27, 1976, he married Annette (Henderson) Craft, and she survives.
Other survivors include sons, Dwight Craft and wife, Teri, of Altadena, CA, Duane Craft and wife, Christina, of Lexington, KY; daughters, Veronica (Craft) Erwin and husband, Nick, of Richmond, KY, Janna Craft of Orlando, FL, Michelle (Burgess) Overhage and husband, Eric, of Cumming, GA; grandchildren, Brittany (Overhage) Smith and husband, Deryk, of Aberdeen, NC, Chelsea Overhage of Lake Charles, LA, Alexandria (Hedges) Damron and husband, Chris, of Lexington, KY, Dakota Craft of Orlando, FL, Matthew Erwin and wife, Sierra, of Lexington, KY, Nicholas Craft of San Francisco, CA, Emily Craft of Lexington, KY, and Charles Ethan Craft of Lexington, KY; great-grandchildren, Gage McCoy, Colton Smith and Brynna Smith; sister, Betty Craft of Stanton, KY; sisters-in-law, Helen Craft of Greensburg, IN and Lida Craft of Frisco, TX; several nieces and nephews; and his precious dog, Aussie Faith.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Mark Craft and Joe Craft; nephew, Steven Craft; and his beloved dog, Kayla Faith.
A 1956 graduate of Frenchburg (KY) High School, Charles received his Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY. He earned his Master of Science degree from Butler University and obtained his elementary principal’s license. After teaching in Kentucky and Ohio for four years, he moved to Indiana in 1968 where he taught for 31 years. He retired in 1999 after 25 years with Shelbyville Central Schools. At that time he had been a principal at Lora B. Pearson Elementary School for 14 years.
He served his country in the United States Army from September 15, 1959, to June 15, 1963. His rank was Specialist 5, and he was attached to the Army Security Agency serving in the United States, Korea, and Germany.
He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He enjoyed being outdoors, gardening, playing fast pitch softball, playing cards, golfing, bowling, reading, and being with his family and friends. He was an avid fan of the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Reds, and his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Charles was a devout Christian man who was dedicated to his faith in God, his church and his family. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder and a Deacon. He also volunteered at the church working on the newsletter, funeral dinners, Salvation Army dinners, vacation Bible school, planting flowers, and other jobs when needed.
He coached many elementary sports including football, track, and both boys’ and girls’ basketball. He also coached many Babe Ruth baseball teams, and was a former president and board member of the local Babe Ruth Baseball Association. He had been a member of BPO Elks, National Education Association, Indiana State Teachers Association, Shelbyville Central Teachers Association, Indiana Association of School Principals, Indiana Retired Teachers Association, Shelby County Retired Teachers Association, Indiana Principals’ Leadership Academy, and Bible study groups at church. The Charles Craft Impact Award to recognize teachers who were nominated by high school students, was named in his honor.
Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at First Presbyterian Church, 124 W. Broadway St. in Shelbyville.
A Celebration of Life will follow at noon, with the Revs. Mark Morningstar, Alecia Gross, and Buffy Powers officiating. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, CDC guidelines requiring a mask and social distancing will be observed. Family and friends are invited to view the service via livestreaming on facebook at www.facebook.com/firstpcshelbyville.
Interment will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery with military graveside rites conducted by the local veterans organizations.
Services have been entrusted to Freeman Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, 819 S. Harrison St. in Shelbyville.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to First Presbyterian Church, 124 W. Broadway St.; Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library, 57 W. Broadway St.; Shelbyville-Shelby County Animal Shelter, 705 Hale Road – all of Shelbyville, IN 46176 or a charity of your choice.
Online condolences may be shared with Charlie’s family at www.freemanfamilyfuneralhomes.com.