William H. Craig
August 26, 1927 – May 18, 2018
Attorney William H. (Bill) Craig, 90, of Manchester, NH died after a brief period of declining health on May 18, 2018 at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack, NH surrounded by loved ones. Bill was born in Manchester, NH on August 26, 1927, the first of William H. and Emma J. (Bousquet) Craig’s ten children. He graduated from Manchester’s Saint Joseph High School in 1944, Saint Anselm College in 1949 and Boston University School of Law in 1952. Bill served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946.
Bill had a distinguished career as an attorney. He was admitted to the New Hampshire Bar in 1952 and joined his father’s practice that year. He practiced law in Manchester for 63 years until retiring in 2015 at the age of 87. Bill served as the Kennedy Administration’s U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire from 1961 to 1963. He also served as legal counsel to Governor John King.
Bill served as general counsel to the Manchester Housing Authority from 1965 until 2015 and to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority from 1975 until 2015. In recognition of his commitment to affordable housing law, the New Hampshire Housing Authority created the William H. Craig Housing Law Fellowship in 2015 in coordination with the UNH School of Law. Bill also served as legal counsel to Catholic Medical Center, the Elliot Hospital, and the former Optima Health. In 1979, Bill was named a Life Member of the Catholic Medical Center Board of Trustees. In 1994, he was named by Optima Health as Outstanding Trustee of The Year.
Long active in state and local government, Bill served numerous terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives in the 1950s and 1960s, including as Minority Leader from 1956 to 1958 and from 1964 to 1966. In 2015, the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights honored Bill for having introduced legislation establishing the Commission in 1965.
A Democrat by birth, Bill served as Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party from 1968 to 1970. Bill served as a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1960 and in 1972. Bill also attended the Democratic National Convention in 1964, where he spoke with Martin Luther King, Jr., and in 1968, where he witnessed the Chicago riots.
Bill served as a member of the Manchester Planning Board for 38 years, ten of those years as chairman .He was instrumental in the development of numerous Manchester landmarks, including the SNHU Arena, the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and the Center of New Hampshire. It was a rare occurrence to pass a building in the city about which Bill could not offer a full history of its financing, construction and ownership.
An outwardly stoic man, those close to Bill knew he had an exceptional and sometimes absurd sense of humor. His children and grandchildren knew that often tucked away in his briefcase between legal briefs and newspapers was the latest edition of Mad Magazine.
Bill enjoyed spending time with his large family, especially hosting family dinners, Christmas parties, and breakfast every Saturday morning at Blake’s. He was a lifelong devotee of classic cars, trucks and tractors. You knew Bill was at work if you saw an antique car or a Mack dump truck in the law firm’s parking lot. Saturday mornings usually meant working on an antique truck at his garage in Hooksett or mowing fields on his tractor, well into his eighties. His family will miss his keen intellect, sense of duty, generosity and love.
Bill was predeceased by his dearly loved wife of 36 years, Gloria Walsh Craig, his sisters Mary Talbot and Theresa Craig, his daughter Robin Walsh Harding, and his grandsons Michael Craig and Alexander Chop. He is survived by his beloved Patricia Rand of Manchester. Bill is also survived by his former wife Felicia (Phyllis) Craig of Manchester, son attorney James Craig and his wife Anne of Manchester, daughter Patricia Barstow and her husband Tom of Dover, son Joseph Craig of Auburn, daughter Paula Craig Goetschius of Exeter, daughter Susan Brown and her husband Don of Nashua, son Robert Walsh and his wife Jeanne of Tucson, Arizona, daughter Gail Chop and her husband Walter of Brunswick, Maine, daughter Sally Pick and her husband John of Valencia, California, son Michael Walsh and his wife Lisa of Manchester, and son-in-law attorney John Harding of Pembroke, and many, many nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. In addition to his descendants, Bill is survived by his sister Marguerite (Peg) Stanzel of Fort Myers, Florida, sister Joan Fantini of Haverhill, Massachusetts, brother Edward Craig and his partner Deborah of Beaumont, Texas, brother David Craig and his wife Elizabeth of Chocoura, brother Paul Craig of Sarasota, Florida, brother Louis Craig and his wife June of Manchester and brother attorney Thomas Craig and his wife Donna of Manchester.
Visitation was held on Thursday May 24 from 4 to 8 pm at the McHugh Funeral Home, 283 Hanover Street corner of Beech St. in Manchester. A Celebration of Life service and luncheon was held on Friday May 25 at 10 am at the Puritan Backroom Conference Center 245 Hooksett Rd. Manchester.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that Memorial Donations in Bill’s name be made to the Community Hospice House, 210 Naticook Road, Merrimack, NH, 03054, which provided Bill and his loved ones extraordinary care and compassion during a difficult time. Condolences may be offered at www.mchughfunerahome.com.
- Visitation Thursday, May 24, 2018
- Celebration of Life Service & Luncheon Friday, May 25, 2018
William H. Craig
May 22, 2018
Although we never had the pleasure of knowing Bill, we know you and he had a great relationship. We were so happy when we first heard you had someone special.
Now, again, you have suffered a loss.
We feel for you, and Bill's family, and will keep you all in our prayers.
Our most sincere condolences.
Tom and Bev Collimore
Don & Judy Seward
May 22, 2018
We are so sorry to read this.