Robert Allen Craig, 90, died early Sunday morning, Nov. 20, at his farmhouse in Thornbury Township, comforted by the loving care of family members and resting near the fields and woodlands he cherished.
Robert was a true polymath – a person of many interests who always wanted to learn all there was to know about any subject that caught his attention. He was exceptionally observant. And he thought deeply about what it meant to lead a good and principled life. His questions, insights and eloquence could lead his listener to an entirely new viewpoint.
Among his favorite pursuits: He was a veterinarian to animals large and small. He was a farmer who honored the land and its ability to produce “food for a hungry world,” as he said it. He was a “tail-dragger” pilot who loved to fly his 1941 Fairchild Primary Trainer. He studied everything from the stars to the human heart. He loved local history. He loved America. He was humbly devout.
Robert was born Oct. 3, 1932, as the son of Walter Craig and Helen Ruth Nichols Craig. He grew up with his older brother, Walter, Jr., on the family farm in Chadds Ford Township. The brothers tended the vegetable garden, milked cows, raised crops and rode Queenie the horse and Brownie the pony all over the area. He attended Chadds Ford School and graduated from West Chester High School in 1950.
He was greatly influenced by his father, a person of strong ethics who held a leadership position with Penn Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and ran his own insurance agency. Robert’s mother, a homemaker, was a graduate of West Chester State Teachers College. Like his father and mother, Robert would quietly help friends and causes where needed. He never sought recognition for his good works.
In 1952, Robert graduated from Pennsylvania State College after completing a two-year course in agriculture. He returned to the Thornbury farm to join his brother in operating a dairy business. They later leased land from other farmers around Chester and Delaware counties to raise crops. Soon and not surprisingly, however, Robert wanted to return to school. He earned a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Delaware in 1967 and a Veterinary Medical Doctorate from University of Pennsylvania in 1971. His first veterinary position was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and later, West Chester, and he also had an independent practice for many years.
Robert would surely say that his greatest accomplishment and source of greatest joy in life came from his son, Robert Allen Craig II (mother Ross Ann Craig). The two enjoyed a special and close relationship and a shared love of science, tractors, farming, and flying. Robert happily welcomed Jennifer Rohrs Craig as Rob’s wife in 2019, and the family was blessed in February 2022 with Robert Allen Craig III, who is affectionately known as Baby Bob. Robert was "Grand Bob."
In 2001, Robert began a relationship with his devoted partner, Cathy Taylor. Over the last 21 years, they have spent nearly every day together caring for the farm, animals, and each other. They were especially fond of documenting and preserving the great history of the place and the people they loved.
Robert is survived by Rob, Jen, Baby Bob, and Cathy Taylor.
Robert and his family are deeply grateful for the outstanding care provided by Dr. Ximena Jordan Bruno, Dr. Douglas Atlas, Dr. William Luginbuhl, Nurse Joanne Boyk, Nurse Lindsay Lee, and Penn Med Hospice.
Visitation and funeral services will be held Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Brandywine Baptist Church in Chadds Ford. Burial is private.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to one of the many causes that Dr. Craig supported: The National Air & Space Museum, National Parks, animal care, higher education, your church.