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Francis "Fritz" Craig, 80, a lifetime resident of the Park Rapids area, entered eternity Tuesday, July 15, 2014 surrounded by his loved ones, at Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids.

Fritz was born July 20, 1933 near Park Rapids, to Asher and Thressa (McGuire) Craig. He attended the Park Rapids Public School system, graduating high school with the Class of 1951.

As a young man he worked in the woods logging with his dad and also did custom sheep shearing.

On March 29, 1955, Fritz was united in marriage to Jean Ann Phelps. This union was blessed with seven sons and one daughter.

Fritz continued helping his dad harvest timber and helped on the family farm. In addition, Fritz worked for many years on Fish Hook Lake cutting ice and lost his three fingers on his left hand in an ice cutting mishap. In 1961, Fritz entered into partnership with Art Sternberg in an auto salvage business which he owned and operated for the rest of his working life.

Throughout his life Fritz sheared sheep. He was so fast and skilled at shearing that in 1989 he took second place in the nation. In 1990, he was the fastest shearer in the U.S. Nationals for Shearers 55 and over.

For most of his life Fritz was deeply involved with the Shell Prairie Agricultural Association Hubbard County Fair and served as a member of the Fair Board for many years. He was responsible for the Demolition Derby each year and looked forward to planning and directing this event annually.

He enjoyed deer hunting with his sons and enjoyed wild ricing with his wife each fall. Failing health caused him to become a resident of Heritage Living Center early in 2013. His life was deeply saddened by the death of his soul mate, Jean last November.

Fritz will be lovingly remembered by his six sons, Robert Craig of Crossville, Tenn., James Craig of Park Rapids, Mark (Val) Craig of Park Rapids, Ron (Rose) Craig of Burnsville, Brian (Andrea) Craig of Menahga and Donald Craig of Park Rapids; his daughter, Barbara Craig of Nevis; 18 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren; sister, Mae (Rich) Benjamin of Park Rapids; two brothers, Brad (Donna) Craig of Hokah and Chauncey Craig of Prineville, Ore.; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

Fritz was preceded in death by one son, Timothy who died in infancy; his parents, and one brother Woody.

Funeral service: 1 p.m. Monday, July 21 at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids with Rev. Steve Bruer officiating. Special music will be: "When I Get Where I Am Going" by Brad Paisley, "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me and "The Dance" by Garth Brooks.

Casket bearers: grandsons, Dusty Craig, Kyle Craig, Micheal Craig, Thomas Craig, Robert Craig, Jr., Roy Booker, and Percy French.

Honorary casket bearers: the rest of his grandchildren, Marie Thelen, Jolene Craig, Kimberly Craig, Heather Kruft, Michelle Gardner, Stephanie Craig, Crystal Krantkremer, Ashley Moats, Brooke Craig, Kristan Craig, Hailey Craig, Samantha Craig and the staff and residents of the Heritage Living Center.

Visitation: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Monday, July 21 at Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids.

To view the video tribute or to leave online condolences visit