Dr. DENIS R. CRAFT, a loving husband and father, who served in the ministry of the United Methodist Church for 40 years, died peacefully on August 4, 2013. He was born in Spokane, WA on April 1, 1937, and soon after his family moved to Friant, CA, where his Dad was in charge of the construction of Friant Dam near Fresno. He attended grade school in Roswell, NM and Amarillo, TX through junior high. In 1951 he moved to West Plains, MO and graduated from West Plains, MO High School in 1955. He attended the Univ. of Missouri at Columbia, where he was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and Block and Bridle. He graduated from Arkansas State College in Jonesboro, AR in 1961 with a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Biology, where he was the R.O.T.C. outstanding cadet. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt U.S.A.R. Branch Infantry. After honorary discharge, he moved to Dallas, TX and enrolled in Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University where he received his Masters in Theology. While in Dallas at SMU, he met and married Sondra Sue “Sue” Austin on 23 Jun 1963 in Lamar, MO. He served multiple churches in the Dallas area before moving with his family to Missouri where he served as head pastor of St. James UMC, in Joplin, MO, First United Methodist Church in Sedalia, MO, Schweitzer UMC in Springfield, MO, Grandview UMC and St. John’s UMC, both in Kansas City. In 1990, he received his Doctorate of Ministry from SMU. He retired in 2000 and moved to a farm South of West Plains, MO. He was the State President of the Missouri Society of the Sons Of The American Revolution, the President of Ozark Mountain Chapter of SAR, president of the Kansas City South Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow, was awarded the B.S.A. Silver Beaver Award, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Grandview Chamber of Commerce, the Ozark Methodist Manor, and the Methodist Benevolences.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sue Craft, his son Matthew and his wife Jennifer, and two grandsons Charlie and Billy, all of Dallas.
Funeral Services will be held Thursday, August 8th at 2:00 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in West Plains, MO, under the direction of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 6:00 until 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church, West Plains, MO. Memorial contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church, and may be left at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.