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Obituary – Bernice D. Craig

Bernice D. Craig passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at Hospice Ministries of Ridgeland, Miss. She was born in Zama, Miss., on March 30, 1927, to John and Ethel DuBard. Bernice grew up in Louisville, Miss., where she graduated from Louisville High School and met her husband, Omar D. Craig. She attended MUW for two years, and later, completed her schooling at the University of Mississippi where she earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in business education. Because of her academic prowess, she was invited to be a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an honorary society.

Bernice lived each day loving her family, pets, jobs, and hobbies. She gave birth to three children and enjoyed every minute with them. They are thankful she provided many enriching opportunities for them, took them to church activities regularly, modeled generosity and volunteerism, and corrected their grammar— much to their chagrin. She attended every tennis match, ball game, dance recital, piano recital, theater performance, and cheerleading activity in which they participated. She prided herself in providing three healthy meals a day, with no sandwiches. Mrs. Craig was the model mother, her children could not have wished for a better mom.

Bernice began her working career as a teller at First National Bank of Oxford. During that time, she had the opportunity to help William Faulkner with his banking needs. Oh, the stories she could tell! She later became administrative assistant to the bank’s president. She loved working at the bank, but had other interests to pursue as well. She ran a beauty shop for several years, opened a dress shop with some friends, and decided to work on her master’s degree at Ole Miss. 

After receiving her final degree, she taught short hand, typing, and business classes to high school students at Lafayette High School. In addition to teaching, she was assistant coach for girls’ basketball, softball, and tennis. She was also the club sponsor for Future Business Leaders of America. The creativity in Mrs. Craig could not be reined in; it had to be expressed during her “free time.” She fried marbles and made jewelry with them during the 1970’s; created ceramic lamps, dishes, and porcelain beads during the early 1980’s; sewed jackets and made belts in the 70’s and 80’s; began making necklaces, bracelets, and earrings during the 1980’s; raised Kuvasz dogs for showing and breeding, Emus for business, baby chicks for sale, and ducklings for fun! Bernice was a member of the Oxford Garden Club where she served in several leadership positions. She won numerous awards for her outstanding floral arrangements.

In addition to all of her creative projects, Bernice was an athlete. She played basketball in high school and as an adult. She also played softball on a city league team where she was the captain. Mrs. Craig recruited players from the Lady Rebels’ basketball team to play with her. Her team won almost every game played. This determined lady did not quit playing ball until she was 65 years old! She bowled into her 70’s participating in dozens of state and national tournaments.

Her Christian beliefs were of great importance in her life. She was a member of First Baptist Church Oxford for around 50 years and served in the church nursery for thirty-five years. As a natural part of her character, she also served others who were in need. Following her husband’s death, Bernice moved her church membership to First Baptist Church, Clinton, Miss. She loved the Lord and studied Bible verses each night until her devastating stroke.

Bernice Craig was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband of sixty-five years, Omar D. Craig; a beautiful granddaughter, Mary Stevens Craig; and three sisters, Miriam Harris, Dorothy White, and Mary Cane Gibbs. 

She leaves behind three devoted children, Dixie Martin (Tommy), Dennis Craig (Carol), and Deanne Giordano (Keith); five grandchildren: Kelsi Antrim (Steven), Keri Cox (Michael), Campbell Craig (Virginia), Bo Giordano, and Judson Giordano; and eight great-grandchildren, Anna Kathryn Antrim, Brynn Elise Antrim, Lynley Rivers Cox, Colton Thomas Cox, Brody George Cox, Caroline Amelia Craig, Campbell Peyton Craig, Jr., and Catherine Elizabeth Craig. 

The visitation for Bernice Craig will be on Friday, Nov. 1, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home in Clinton, Miss., with service following at 10:30 a.m. Graveside services will be in the St. Peters Cemetery in Oxford, Miss., at 4 p.m.

Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or First Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss.