Franklyn Hugh Craft

November 12, 1932December 31, 2018

Born to Lee and Viola Craft in Hot Springs, South Dakota, “Buster” graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1951 and then served in the United States Army from 1952 thru 1954 where he was in the 11th Airborne Division. He made 23 parachute jumps during that time, served as a Military Police and played for the division football team.

He married Bernice Irene Hartmann on September 18, 1955 and they were married for 54 years until her passing in August of 2010. They had three children together- Chris (1956), Gary (1959) and Berlyn (1965).

Frank attended Chadron State College and played for the Eagles football team and graduated in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and then earned his Master’s in Education from Chadron State in 1960. In 1958, Frank began teaching Math and Physical Education at Gering High School and coached football, basketball, track and golf. In 1964 he became principal of Gering Junior High and held that position for 29 years until his retirement in 1993. He oversaw the construction of the new Junior High building and was a member of the Nebraska Schoolmasters Association.

In 1967 Frank and Bernice bought their “Green Acres” farm south of Gering where they farmed and raised livestock in their “spare” time. They sold the farm in 1990 and moved into their dream home in Gering at the base of Scottsbluff National Monument.

Frank was a founding member of Faith Lutheran Church in Gering and served in many positions in the church as well as district and national positions for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

On December 29, 2012, he married Jean Cope who provided love, companionship, and great care during their 6 years of marriage. They lived back in their home town of Hot Springs and enjoyed their friends there.

Buster spent countless hours throughout his life with family and friends at the family cabin - Linger Longer built by his father, Lee Craft, in 1930 in Custer State Park. Buster maintained the cabin and was President of the South Dakota Cabin Owners Association for many years leading the effort to have the original leases honored by the state. He was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, coach, educator, administrator, gentlemen farmer, and most importantly a believer in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He led by example.

In addition to his wife Bernice Craft, Frank was preceded in death by his son Chris Craft. He is survived by wife Jean Craft, Rapid City SD, son, Gary (Stacy) Craft Omaha, NE, daughter Berlyn (George) Clear Alliance, NE. He is also survived by his pride and joy, his grandchildren, Kyle and Collin Craft, Alexandra, Baily and Christian Clear.

Frank gained family members when he remarried and he is survived by his step children James (Jan) Cope, St. George UT, Marge (Randy) Schmidt, Gordon, NE, Jerry (Lori) Cope, Rapid City, SD and Marilyn (Greg) Opitz Omaha, NE and their families.

Funeral services will be held at 10 AM, Saturday, January 5th, 2019 at Faith Lutheran Church, Gering, NE with Reverend Richard Neugebauer officiating. Burial with military honors by the Nebraska National Guard Honor Guard will follow at West Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 4-7 PM on Friday, January 4th, 2019 with a Prayer Service at 7 PM at Gering Memorial Chapel. Please join us in remembering Frank by visiting his memorial at Through this site, we invite you to share your fond memories with the family.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM, Sunday, January 6th, 2019 at Bethesda Lutheran Church, Hot Springs, SD with the Reverend Gary Jacobsen officiating.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Faith Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 307, Gering NE, 69341.


  • Jerry Cope, Pallbearer
  • James Cope, Pallbearer
  • Roger Craft, Pallbearer
  • Robert Craft, Pallbearer
  • Darrell Barry, Pallbearer
  • Dean Barry, Pallbearer
  • Bryan Hartmann, Pallbearer
  • Kyle Craft, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Collin Craft, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Christian Clear, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Alexandra Clear, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Baily Clear, Honorary Pallbearer

  • Faith Lutheran Church


  • Visitation Friday, January 4, 2019
  • Prayer Service Friday, January 4, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, January 5, 2019

Franklyn Hugh Craft

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Bruce and Donna (Acker) Bennett

January 17, 2019

To the family of Mr. Craft,
I remember being assigned to the Gering Jr. High Office during Advanced Secretarial Class my Senior year at GHS. I was told by Mrs. Witherwax that they had many students come through over the years, and she had never seen him react to a student as he had with me. I told her it was because we were both red heads:-) He was a kind and gentle man and heaven is a wonderful place:-) We will all be reunited at Father Gods calling.
Friends in Jesus Christ,
Bruce and Donna (Acker) Bennett
GHS Class 82
Buda, TX

Mary Handlin

January 7, 2019

Our family remembers Uncle Bussie as a very special and loving man. Patty remembers that he always visited us everywhere and Mike fondly remembers he rescued him from the tree in front of Grandma's house after he had climbed too high and was afraid to come down. Mary remembers Uncle Bussie taking her down the slide at the plunge when she was about 4 . A lady came over and yelled at him for taking such a little child down the slide. Meanwhile, Mary kept pulling on Bussie's trunks saying "Let's do it again Unca Bussie". Mom would laugh and laugh over that. In 1954 he bought a brand new Ford Victoria, blue and white, and drove to Riverdale, ND to show it to us and take us for a ride. But our most vivid memory is the love and care he showed our mother Irene. He was there for her and we all knew he would have done anything he could to help her if she needed.

Gene Lewisgo

January 4, 2019

So sorry to hear of Busters passing. Will always treasure the great memories we made at Estes Park. will have a special prayer for everyone at Church this Sunday. Love to all. Gene and Barb.