“I did everything I wanted to do, and I did it pretty damn well.”
Craig N. Wright of Afton, WY Passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones on December 5th 2018 at the age of 73 in the Star Valley Medical Center.
Born November 5th 1945 to Harmon Faye and Reba Eliza (Nelson) Wright, Craig spend his early years growing up in Thayne. After moving to Afton at a young age, he would hitch hike to Thayne because he missed his buddies. He said they were a little better at raisin’ hell in the lower valley.
It was around this time Max Erickson, famous for nick-naming everybody around him, noticed the young boy’s answer to almost every question was a simple “just b’ tuzz” (just because). From that day forward Max called Craig “Tuzzy” – a moniker that instantly stuck, and one he would proudly carry to his final day; displaying it on belts, motorcycle helmets and even naming one of his boats the “JUST BE TUZZ”.
Some of his fondest childhood memories were going in the truck with his dad. He recalls hauling watermelons from California, and how the workers taught him to bust them open and eat the core. He maintained a love of watermelon his whole life, and always linked it back to those memories.
He followed in the footsteps of his dad and big brothers Ted and Gary and became a long-haul truck driver. Over the years he would hold many jobs including heavy equipment operator, logger, logistics and warehouse manager for the local power company, the list goes on. But his favorite job was driving truck coast to coast. He called his older brother Ted his childhood hero. “I looked up to him like no other, and he protected me and always looked out for me.” One of the toughest times in his life was Ted’s unexpected death while driving truck.
While still in high school, he joined the Army and served in the National Guard for six years. In 1965 he married Katherine Marie Allred of Fairview in Las Vegas, NV. To this union were born Craig’s three sons, Derek, Nick and Ted in Afton. They enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and spending time on Greys River and Palisades Lake. The two divorced after 20 years of marriage.
Those closest to him recall his love of and commitment to his many different hobbies. He loved cowboying and roping and riding. He owned several boats, each one a little nicer and larger than the last. He loved camping and was a master chef with a Dutch oven and a camp fire. In 2005, he acquired the love of his life—a limited fireman edition Harley Davidson, and this became his new passion. Soon after, his wife Connie and his three boys followed suit, and all have great memories riding Hogs across the country. He also picked up golf and for the next several years if he wasn’t riding his motorcycle, he was almost certainly on the course with his friends, wife or his sons.
Craig married Connie Titensor in 2008 and remained with her until his death. They often told the story of their wedding, which began with his proposal two years earlier. After which he said, “I’ve done my part (by proposing) so the rest is up to you.” It proved impossible to get all the kids together at the same time. So finally, Connie made the executive decision. They followed in the footsteps of her grandparents on their 100th anniversary by getting married the same day, place and time as them. This just so happened to be November 5th which was also his birthday. So off they went, to the exotic and romantic city of Paris…Idaho. He never missed an opportunity to brag about how he whisked his bride off to Paris to get married.
He spent almost 32 years as a volunteer fireman. He took this role very seriously, serving in many capacities including Asst. Fire Chief. He spent time attending conferences, conventions and training all over Wyoming. He considers his fellow firemen his brothers and remembered fondly the things he did, places he went and friends he made there; saying they were some of the best times of his life.
Craig had a lot of great friends. His magnetic personality and quick wit made him the life of the party. He loved to laugh, and make people laugh. Up until his last breath he could be heard teasing the nurses, sharing jokes with doctors and sharing old memories with family, friends and visitors. Those closest to him know that under the hard edges and sharp tongue, beat the heart of a kind and generous man. He taught his sons and grandsons the value of hard work, independence and to take pride in what you have. He didn’t have the nicest truck in town, but he had the cleanest. He didn’t have the biggest yard, but it was always one of the prettiest, and well cared for. He took that approach in everything he did, and this legacy will live on in those who admired him.
He was a hard working, hard playing man, who didn’t just live life, he truly consumed it. His lifestyle took its toll on his body, but his mind was sharp to the end. He had no regrets. His immediate family will never forget the day we sat around his bed as the Doctor explained to him that treatments weren’t working, and we were out of options. He looked up and said, “Doctor, it’s okay. I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do, and I did it pretty damn well.”
Craig was preceded in death by his parents Harmon and Reba, his brothers Darrel “Ted” and Jack, and his Granddaughter Jessica.
He is survived by his wife Connie, his children/step-children Derek Wright, Nick (Diane) Wright, Darrel “Ted” Wright, Dirk (Jaime) Hillyard, Brandi (Dennis) McDonald, his sisters Judy, Kaylene (Ross) Dana, Kathy (Kent) Jasperson, brother Gary (Saundra) Wright, and grandchildren/step grandchildren Brock (Hanna) Wright, Colton Wright, Natasha (Kade) Kennington, DJ (Shaylee) Hillyard and Branden McDonald.