Craig Smith, the Craig Middle School band teacher, died Sunday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. He is shown above rehearsing with the seventh-grade CMS band during a festival last month in Steamboat Springs.

Julie Dempster/Courtesy

Craig Smith, the Craig Middle School band teacher, died Sunday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. He is shown above rehearsing with the seventh-grade CMS band during a festival last month in Steamboat Springs.

Craig Middle School band teacher Craig Smith dies at 64

Farewell concert

A farewell concert by Craig Smith’s middle school band will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Moffat County High School auditorium, 900 Finley Lane. The concert details are still tentative.

Linda Smith said her husband, Craig Smith, would want to be remembered for his music and teaching.

“All he talked about was his band succeeding,” she said. “He loved it. He just loved to be a teacher — a musical teacher.”

Craig Smith, who taught band at Craig Middle School for nine years, died Sunday of a brain aneurysm at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. He was 64.

The death was sudden and unexpected, Linda said.

“It was quick,” she said. “He didn’t suffer.

“I just wasn’t ready for it. If he’d been 70 or 75 … but he was so healthy. He did have headaches, but he didn’t take any medicine or pills or anything. So for him to just drop dead at your feet … I still think it’s a nightmare. My boys keep saying, ‘Mom, we’ll get through this.’ And I know we will, but man, I guess you’re never ready.”

Linda and Craig were married 44 years. They have three adult sons and two granddaughters.

Craig Smith received his bachelor and master’s degrees in musical education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University, respectively.

The Smiths moved to Craig nine years ago — a move that Linda called a dream come true.

“He wanted to live in Colorado and teach, fish and live in a log cabin. And that’s what we’re doing,” she said.

Linda, who serves as a teaching assistant within the Moffat County School District, said she and her husband had plans for retirement.

“We were going to teach one more year — this year coming up. And then we were going to retire,” she said. “But, it didn’t work out that way.”

John Bolton, Moffat County High School band teacher, said his colleague will be missed. Bolton said Craig Smith was a mentor.

“He was fatherly to me — in terms of advice, in terms of direction, in terms of kindness toward my children and my family,” he said.

Bolton said Craig Smith was an “old-school teacher” — stern and loving.

“He commanded attention and respect,” Bolton said. “His objective was to turn children into fine adults — adults who are responsible, intelligent, can make decisions — and that’s what his way of doing things produces.

“And, in spite of his sternness, these kids know that he loved them.”

Bolton said Craig Smith had a direct influence on roughly 200 students this year alone. Some of those students were scheduled to perform a concert at 7 p.m. Thursday at CMS under Smith’s baton.

Bolton said the show will go on.

Bolton will conduct the concert as scheduled, but it may take place at a different venue.

“Our plan is, just because of the number of students and family involved and the circumstances, we are probably going to move it to the high school auditorium,” Bolton said. “There were a lot of people who were touched by this guy. There were a lot of kids who went through his program in the years he was here. There are a lot of families connected to him through those kids. And there are a lot of people who just knew him.”

Bolton said he’s not nervous about finishing Smith’s last concert.

“I’m fully confident that, posthumously, he’s going to be there to see that the work is done right,” Bolton said. “And, he’ll be pleased.”

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Comments

dogfan 2 years, 11 months ago

Was blessed to have had all three of my kids go through Mr. Smith's class. He was a very nice man and a great teacher. We have lost one of the best teachers in this school district. Our prayers go out to Linda and her family.

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Denise Bagley 2 years, 11 months ago

Our family was devastated when we heard the news of Mr. Smith's passing. He was my oldest daughter's first band teacher. She is now a member of the high school wind ensemble, marching and jazz bands. My son is an 8th grader in the CMS Band, and lost his favorite teacher. His lovely wife Linda is my youngest daughter's piano teacher. Mr. Smith truly was a wonderful human being. He loved his job and loved the kids he taught. He was a class act, and an exemplary teacher. He will be missed by many in this community. I can only hope he knew how much he meant to the kids. Please say prayers for his wife, their sons and the rest of the family. May he rest in peace.

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Cheerleader1992 2 years, 11 months ago

He will be very missed. It has 5 years since he was my band director but he still said hi everytime I saw him. He drove by my house daily and in the last week I was probably driving behind me atleast 10 times. I still can't believe he is gone. I had just talk to him friday. He will be very missed by many students and his family is in my prayers.

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Coltmelrose 2 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Smith was my band director in Drummond, OK. He was a father figure and mentor to me. My prayers go out to Linda and the family.

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skylargray 2 years, 11 months ago

Like Colt above, Mr. Smith was my music instructor many years ago at Drummond, OK and later Chisholm, OK. Craig was one of the most influential people in my life. I cannot image a person more passionate about music or education than Craig. I deeply regret not contacting him once more before today to catch up with him. His passing is truly a loss for mankind. May you rest in peace, Mr. Smith. ~Skylar Gray

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maverick 2 years, 11 months ago

I will miss Mr. Craig Smith deeply. Having served as a past Principal at Craig Intermediate School, I will remember Craig first as a genuine, kind and caring person. I remember the terrific manner in which he cared for kids and at the same time expected the best out of his students--and they delivered! His deep, resounding voice, good-humor, and his friendship when you needed it most could be counted on like a safe harbor in a storm--Craig was always there for others. My wife, my son Brian, and I will always have a special place in our hearts for this terrific guy! Our thoughts go out to the family. God Bless.

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justateacher 2 years, 11 months ago

I can still hear his voice in my memory. He was truly a great man to know and talk with.

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kweiher 2 years, 11 months ago

He was my music/band teacher at Drummond from K-9th grade. He loved every student and expected the best from each of us, even after he left and went to Chisholm. He was an amazing person, in the classroom and out of it. If a student ever needed a shoulder to lean on, advise, or direction, wheather it band related or not, he was always ready to help. He is greatly loved and will be missed by so many people. My prayers go out to Linda and the boys.

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PatriciaSmithHuhman 2 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Smith was a HUGE inspiration to me. He was there when I needed him and always had a hug to give away!! I went to Chisholm High School in Enid Oklahoma and was in his class with Skyler and can always remember certain things he would say and faces he would give us. It was an honor to have known him and I've been looking for him and Linda for several years since I graduated but have never had the luck of finding him again. He was a Father figure that meant the world to me. Very amazing teacher indeed even when we got in trouble. I will never forget getting in trouble and Mr. Smith making a group of us spray paint the music stands b/c of something we did on the band trip. He sure did touch my life and put a huge impact on me and how much I love music even today..My thoughts, prayers and huge hugs are sent out to the boys and Linda..I miss you Linda and love you dearly. You will forever be in my heart along with Mr. Smith..Rest In Peace and watch over all of us Craig..we love you!!

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Bking 2 years, 11 months ago

It was an honor to have known and worked with Mr Smith while he taught in Durmmond. My children loved and respected him. He has touched so many lives and will be forever in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with Linda and their family.

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davidholland 2 years, 11 months ago

Craig Smith was as close a friend as I have had in the Band teaching profession. I first met Craig when he was in college in Alva and I taught band there. In the many years that followed and I directed the Pioneer Bands while he was at neighboring Fairview, Drummond, and Chisholm we were like brothers. He had the greatest respect from and for his students, parents, fellow teachers and administrators. The many times we had breakfast or lunch at events we attended and solved the problems of the world! Hours of great fun and laughter over the years. I have certainly missed him since he left for Colorado, but know how much he loved it there. He was one of those I sought council and blessing from when leaving Pioneer for Oklahoma Bible Academy. He was always encouraging. My last email from Craig was May 9. We consoled each other over the loss of infant daughters when we were young. We consoled each other over loss of our youth when we got older. God Bless you Craig, I'll see you later!

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