1926 - January 10, 2013
Craig Arthur Browning passed from this life on Jan. 10, 2013, after battling numerous health complications for much of the latter half of 2012. He died at his home surrounded by family.
Craig was born May 28, 1926, in Coalmont. He was the oldest of 12 children born to Quince Henry Browning and Anna Gertrude Chedsey Browning. After the mine at Coalmont closed down, the family moved to Stanley, Wisc., and then back to Kremmling in the early 1930s.
Craig graduated from Kremmling Union High in 1944 and was drafted that spring. He accepted a deferment to his draft notice and helped his uncle Jody put up hay on the Chedsey Ranch near Walden at the base of Buffalo Pass.
At the end of haying season, Craig reported to Laramie, Wyo., and was sent to Camp Wolters in Texas for Basic Training.
After Basic Training, he was deployed from California to the front lines in the Philippines on his 19th birthday. Later, he served in Japan as part of the occupation forces. He was honorably discharged on Nov. 25, 1946.
After the service, Craig worked for a short time at the steel mills in Gary, Ind. Later, he returned to Kremmling and worked for Kremmling Timber.
He soon met and married Helen Marion Shy. The two shared a mutual involvement in the Military Order of the Cooties, a veteran’s service organization.
Craig and Helen married in October 1955. They lived in Kremmling while Craig continued to work for Kremmling Timber.
He also helped build the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel at Dillon. During this time, in 1956, Helen gave birth to the couple’s first son, David Craig Browning.
Craig and Helen heard jobs were plentiful in Colorado Springs, and Helen still owned a home there, so in 1957 the couple relocated. Craig was a Civil Servant working at the Air Force Academy and Helen returned to her former career at the Mountain Bell Telephone office as an operator.
Sons William Leonard Browning and Patrick Henry Browning were born in 1959 and 1961, respectively.
Craig determined that higher education was the key to better and more stable employment. In 1962 the family moved to Greeley and Craig enrolled at Colorado State College (later University of Northern Colorado) to pursue a degree in Elementary Education.
In Greeley, Craig worked at the sugar beet factory and Helen transferred to Mountain Bell in Greeley. Craig graduated in 1964 and accepted a job as a fifth grade teacher at East Elementary in Craig.
For the next 19 years, Mr. Browning taught fifth grade in the Moffat County school system while Helen worked for Mountain Bell in Craig until the office closed in December 1978.
Craig worked in three different buildings, including East Elementary, Breeze School and Craig Middle School. Mr. Browning was admired by his students and many of them would tell him, even recently, he was the best teacher they ever had.
Summers were spent taking extended family vacations, returning to school at UNC and then Western State College to receive a Masters Degree in Elementary Education. Also, Craig spent most Augusts helping put up hay on the Chedsey Ranch.
Craig retired from teaching in 1984 and worked one summer on the grounds crew for the school district and then as a custodian at Moffat County High School. Craig retired in 1991 and spent the remaining years following his grandchildren and their interests in sports and serving at The Journey at First Baptist.
He was an ardent fan of Moffat County Basketball and rarely missed a home game. Each winter he resumed his regular seat several rows behind the scorekeeper’s table to eat popcorn and cheer on the bulldogs while he jotted the players’ individual scoring tallies in the margins of the program.
Even into his 70s, Craig hauled his gym bag to the high school’s outdoor courts to spend afternoons practicing his hook shots.
He never knew a stranger and was ready to help anyone in need. Craig enjoyed singing in church, teasing women and stealing their purses, having others use his “shock” pen, attending “old-timers” in Walden, sitting on his porch, hand watering his lawn, playing rummy, correcting the improper usage of the English language, collecting watches, and telling jokes, often saying, “Laugh or I will tell it again.”
He had no greater love than for his grandchildren and enjoyed visiting them at their businesses and in their homes.
He stayed connected with the community through his shopping trips down the street to City Market and his beloved daily trips to the Post Office to check the mail and visit with friends and neighbors.
Craig was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Marvin and Larry; sisters Margaret Jean and Arlene; brothers-in-law Calvin Warner and Jack Shy; sister-in-law Wilma Shy; nephews Jerry Ritschard and Wayde Browning; and niece Kathy Smith Day.
He is survived by his wife, Helen, of 57 years; sons David (Chris) and Leonard (Cheryle), of Craig, and Patrick, of Loveland; grandchildren Andy and Amanda Browning, Jeremy (Cyme) Browning, Courtney (Justin) Jenison, Nathan (Karina) Browning, Joel (Cori) Browning, Lindsey (Sam) Billig, all of Craig, Brandi Browning (Cory Flanigan), of Denver, Rachael Browning, of Boulder, and Jaime Browning, of Loveland; great-grandchildren Wyeth Krumrey, Roark and Oliver Browning, Jonah, Jae Paisley and Judah Jenison, Elias and Elim Browning, all of Craig; brothers Kenneth Browning, of Kremmling, Dick Browning, of Lafayette, Bob (Dexta), of Yuma, Ariz., Keith Browning, of Washington, and Jerry Browning, of El Cajon, Calif.; and sisters Barbara Warner, of Hurst, Texas, and Velma (George) Thornburg, of Loveland. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life officiated by his three sons will take place at 2p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, at The Journey at First Baptist. Interment will follow at Craig Cemetary.
Memorial contributions can be made to The Journey Elevator Fund or Mt. Elim Bible Camp.