John Shoup Craig, known by his friends as “Big Red” and “T-Rex”, passed away September 12, 2019 due to complications from pancreatic cancer.
He was born on a snowy day on November 17, 1951 to Jack and Betty Shoup Craig of Clintonville. After John was born, his father headed back to Clintonville and was not able to return to the Grove City Hospital until the snow cleared a week later. When John arrived at home, he was greeted by his older sister, Janie, and his grandma Una Craig.
John grew up on the streets of Clintonville playing cops and robbers and riding bikes with his buddies. As a young child he played Little League baseball. Baseball continued to be a sport that he enjoyed throughout his life. When he was older, he enjoyed watching the members of the Clintonville Drifters car club drive around town. Many years later, he would come to own his own classic car, a 1968 Chevy Nova, and enjoyed talking with people about his car.
In his senior year of high school in 1969, while a student at Franklin High School, he met his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Mary Jane “Alice” Aaron Craig. While in the auditorium for an assembly John balled up a piece of paper, aimed it at the back of MJ’s head, and proceeded to ask her out. She didn’t really know this red headed boy from Clintonville but nonetheless she accepted his invitation and the rest is history. John and MJ were married on October 5, 1974 at St. Patrick’s Church in Franklin. This year they celebrated 50 years since their first date.
For many years John was the owner of Craig’s Car Wash and Laundromat in Clintonville. He was a self-made businessman who particularly enjoyed meeting and getting to know his customers throughout the years. In more recent years, John worked for Joy Manufacturing. While some would call this job “work”, John most loved being able to have a job that he looked forward to going to every day because of the people that he worked with.
In his spare time, he enjoyed being with his family, friends, and nature the very most. John and Mary Jane traveled extensively together, visiting many national parks and beautiful cities. No matter how far they traveled together, their home was always the place that brought them the most happiness. John took pride in keeping a well manicured lawn, having freshly waxed cars, feeding the birds, and spending time on the porch with friends and family. John gave his gift of a beautiful singing voice, alongside his wife, to the St. Patrick’s Choir for several decades.
He and Mary Jane were blessed to have such beautiful souls surround them, pray for them, and take care of them during the time he was ill. While cancer wreaked havoc on his body, John’s big smile and impeccable sense of humor never left him. John said many times, throughout his illness and in good health, that he never wanted people to be sad when he left this world. He wanted family and friends to celebrate his life with hearty belly laughs while remembering him. There will never be any shortness of good John Craig memories to those who knew him.
John is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, of Franklin; daughter and son-in-law Lindsey and Dean Smith of Harrisville and daughter and son-in-law Jonelle and Mark Shipley of Great Falls, Va; granddaughters Julia and Ellie Shipley of Great Falls, VA; grandsons Dawson Smith, of Franklin and his best “little buddy”, Cash Craig Smith, of Harrisville. Also surviving is his sister, Janie Kober of New Castle. He is survived by many cousins who he was lucky to be able to see frequently despite living all over the country.
In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to St. Patrick Catholic Church in care of the building fund, 949 Liberty Street, Franklin Pa 16323, St. Jude's Research Hospital in John's honor. 501 St. Jude’s Place, Memphis TN 38105 or to a charity of one’s choice in John’s memory.
To honor his memory, John would want everyone to be kinder than necessary to one another.
Family will welcome friends at the Larry E. McKinley Funeral Home, 109 Emlenton Street, Clintonville PA on Sunday, September 15, 2019 from 2-4 and 6-8. Funeral services will take place Monday, September 16, 2019 at St. Patrick’s Church, 949 Liberty Street, Franklin PA 16323 at 11:00 a.m. with Monsignor John Herbein. VETS Honor Guard will be performing military honors at the church. We urge friends to drive their classic cars to the services to honor Big Red!
Friends can email condolences by visiting www.mckinleyfuneralhome.net
To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral section.