Craig Middle School band teacher Craig Smith dies at 64 |

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Craig Middle School band teacher Craig Smith dies at 64

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.

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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