James Albert Craft

Published 12:20 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

NATCHEZ — Funeral services for James Albert Craft, 87, of Vidalia, La., will be held on Saturday February 20, 2021 at 2 p.m. at Vidalia First Baptist Church with Bro. Wes Faulk and Bro. Toney Ganey officiating. Interment will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, under the direction of Young’s Funeral Home. James passed away Sunday after a lengthy illness.

James was born November 25, 1933, in Sartinville, Mississippi, the third son of the late James Cleve Craft and Mary Margana Lumpkin Craft. To know James was to know how deep his faith in Jesus was. He and his wife of 67 years, Donis Bracey Craft, were members of the First Baptist Church of Vidalia, where he was a deacon and taught Sunday school.

James (or “Coach Craft” to so many) first led the “team” of his own four boys, joining them in all kinds of sports in their backyard, the hub of many a neighborhood game. He took those skills to the area fields, where he coached untold numbers of young men in baseball, basketball and Gray-Y football.

Email newsletter signup

His greatest joy, though, was his family. Everyone knew without a doubt where his priorities were, and his four boys, daughters-in law and grandchildren reigned supreme. He made untold sacrifices for them, but he did so in selfless ways about which most were none the wiser. His boys and grandchildren knew that if he could, James would do what was needed to make it to their games, where he was their most ardent fan.

The longtime Vidalia resident worked at International Paper in Natchez for 45 years, retiring as lab supervisor in 1998. James was a devoted New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Cardinals fan and was thrilled to see in person the two teams play on their respective fields. He enjoyed family trips to the beach and a once-in-a-lifetime flight to Oregon to attend his grandson’s wedding.

James was preceded in death by his parents, his three brothers: Edwy Gene, Kerney (and wife, Nell) Craft, and Hugh Charles Craft; and his great-grandson, Easton Rhodes. He’s survived by his wife, Donis; sister-in-law Carolon Craft; sons Kerry and his wife, Beth, of Monroe; Jerry and his wife, Kym, of Springfield, Mo.; Darrel and his wife, Liz, of Monroe; and Buz and his wife, April, of Vidalia; grandchildren Emily (Eric) Shuey, Brandon (Dana) Craft, Carley Craft, Nina (Clay) Rhodes, Kyle (Lydia) Craft, Spencer (Amelia) Craft, Chandler Wiley, Kayla Craft, Thomas Craft and Will Wiley; great-grandchildren Kylie Drost, Walker Craft, Ridge Rhodes, Cocodrie Craft, Kegan Shuey and Tanner Shuey; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers are sons Kerry, Jerry, Darrel and Buz and grandsons Brandon and Spencer.

Honorary pallbearers will be grandsons Kyle Craft, Thomas Craft, Chandler Wiley and Will Wiley; grandsons-in-law Clay Rhodes and Eric Shuey; and great-grandsons, Walker Craft, Ridge Rhodes, Kegan Shuey, and Tanner Shuey.

Visitation will be from 12 to 2 at Vidalia First Baptist Church. The family is asking all to please wear masks.

To leave an online condolence for the family please visit www.youngsfh.com