Irene Craig

Obituary of Irene Craig

With profound sorrow, we share the loss of our beloved Irene K. Craig, "Oma" to us all, who passed away from us on July 15th, 2018 following a brief illness. Words cannot express the effect this wonderful lady had on all who knew her. She was the true center of our family, and we will miss her every day.
Irene is survived by her loving husband of nearly 70 years, Robert Craig, and her loving children, daughter Sheila Irene Craig Richardson and son Robert Craig III. Eldest daughter and best friend, Shirley Mona Craig Albright, sadly preceded her mom in death in December 2016, a profound loss we still feel.
Irene was born in München, Freistaat Bayern, and lived through the war years in Germany. While working for the German Navy, she became a part of history when she was employed as an operator of the Enigma cypher machine; the importance of which she would not discover until long after the war. 
During the American Occupation of Germany Irene met and married a handsome young American soldier, who whisked her away to a very different world in southern Florida. During Bob's Army career, Irene would reside in seven U.S. states and two countries, the latter being her beloved Germany. Along the way Irene raised three kids, while Bob served in Korea and Vietnam on multiple tours. Their postings eventually led them to Fort Ord and a permanent home in the Salinas foothills, a location they cherished.
Irene volunteered for the Valley Guild, supporting preservation of the John Steinbeck House, and worked for many years for Emporium/Macy's in Salinas, where she met many treasured friends. She excelled at needlepoint, sewing, and all needlecrafts producing exquisite pieces. Once described fondly by a coworker as "stubborn as an elephant," Irene's home contained more than 147 elephants; gifts from family and friends of art, statuary, and more.
With their children grown, Irene and Bob shared journeys all over the world, including trips to Asia, Europe, Australia, and French Polynesia, and visited friends and family on three continents. Irene's home was also a welcoming haven to visitors from all over the world, who came to enjoy her company.
When not traveling, Irene enjoyed a rich family life, and adored her eight grandchildren: Laura, Greg, Kathryn, Jennifer, Robert IV, Amanda, Daniel, and Amy; and seven great-grandchildren: Isabella, Gianna, Wesley, Calvert, Lillian, Caterina, and Emilia. Irene embraced her children's spouses, Michael (husband of Shirley), John (husband of Sheila), and Dee Dee (wife of Robert III), and grandchildren's spouses: Calvert (husband of Laura), and Andrea (wife of Greg). 
Irene's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren reside along the Pacific Coast and in Hawaii, but remain connected by this incredible person called Oma, who filled their lives with her love, delectable Bavarian recipes, and famous Mocha Cake. 
Irene's memory will continue to enrich the lives of all who knew and loved her. We will miss her desperately.
A private burial service is planned with Irene to be laid to rest at Cemeterio El Encinal in Monterey, overlooking the ocean and parks she enjoyed with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Irene's favorite charities of St. Jude and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.