Ella Powers Craig

Obituary for Ella "Skip" Craig. Our dear mother and grandmother passed away peacefully Sunday night January 20, 2019, survived by her three children, Randall, Christopher (partner Mary) & Ann (husband Ed), and two grandchildren, Claire (partner Keith) & Ross. Perhaps the kindest person many of us ever met, she retained marvelous health, faculties and a smile all her life, succumbing only to dementia at the end. Skip was born Ella Reese Pierson, named after her paternal grandmother, to her parents Joseph Reese Pierson & Lucy Hahn Pierson. Many who knew her may recall her fond stories of growing up on her parents’ “Mt. Pleasant Farm” in Hockessin DE, outside Wilmington, with her big sister Mary Alice Pierson Sissel and little brother Joseph Reese Pierson, who were her friends for life but sadly predeceased her; as a little girl rising early to deliver milk door to door in the big city as “daddy” drove the truck, walking to the one-room schoolhouse across the road, then a 4-room schoolhouse a mile walk each way. She attended Conrad H.S. where she was captain of the field hockey and basketball teams, played trumpet in the marching band, and played reveille and taps on the dock of the lake as a counselor at summer camp. Having visited no colleges, at age 17 in 1944 she took the train to Ohio to attend the College of Wooster (Presbyterian, like her parents); for a year with few male students as the war was on, then, 3 years with the returning soldiers from the war many years her senior. In college was formed her lifelong devotion to government for the public good, graduating in 1948 with a degree in Political Science. At Wooster she met Edward Powers; they were married a year later, after she spent the summer bicycling through postwar Europe in the year of the Marshall Plan, and a year teaching 4th graders in Delaware. She & Ed moved to New Haven for Ed to attend Yale Divinity School, son Randall to be born, and to take Ed’s first pastorate at Dunbar Hill church in Hamden. Then to a pastorate in Ohio, where Christopher was born; Boston, where Ann was born, for Ed to work for the national office of the newly formed United Church of Christ; and in 1962 transferred to Philadelphia for a further UCC post. As Skip raised her children in the Springfield, PA schools, played piano and sang in the church choir, she was able to renew her interest in government, volunteering with the League of Women Voters, rising to their state board. Her presence at election circles and events led to a job at a local radio station (WEEZ) covering local politics & community events, where she interviewed among others Rev. Robert Edgar, age 31, who was brash enough to run for Congress as a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican district. Elected in the mid-term post-Watergate Democratic landslide of 1974, Cong. Edgar hired Skip as press secretary in his Washington office. There she worked among his wonderful staff in cramped semi-cubicle Capitol Hill office space for his 6 terms until his unsuccessful run for the Senate in 1986 vs. Arlen Specter. Skip stayed in close touch with her DC colleagues as Rev. Edgar went on to head the National Council of Churches and Common Cause, until his sudden passing in 2013. Skip’s marriage ended in the 70s and she went on to meet the handsome Bob Craig in Washington where he was working for the American Society of Training & Development; they were married at her apartment near National Cathedral in 1991. Bob retired and they moved to his home in Fairfield, full circle for her back to CT 40 years after leaving. She and Bob enjoyed many whale-watching excursions off New England coasts. Skip loved CT’s fall leaves and snow, and she & Bob moved to the woods of Chester to what is now Masonicare at Chester Village, where she enjoyed walking, creative writing, and “Great Decisions” seminars on issues of the day.  Her dear Bob passed away in 2011, shortly after their 20th anniversary. Skip’s family wishes to express heartfelt thanks to the many staff of Chester Village (16 years), The Saybrook at Haddam (2 years), and Aaron Manor (6 weeks) for their loving kindness and care day in and day out. A Memorial service will be held Saturday, February 16 at noon at her church, Chester United Church of Christ, 29 W. Main St., Chester, CT 06412. As to gifts, as many know, she could not receive a gift, or be taken to lunch, without wishing to return the favor, so gifts are discouraged, and remembrance is encouraged. Her own last major charitable contribution was to her church in memory of her parents, and a gift to her church, or your own church, may be appropriate. To share a memory of Skip, or send a condolence to her family, please visit www.rwwfh.com. Arrangements by Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home, Centerbrook.