Avril Marie LaGesse Craig a lifetime resident of Garden City, KS, passed away on April 26th, 2017. Avril, a legacy of the “Greatest Generation” will always be remembered by her family as a devoted wife, a mother of 8 children and grandmother to 27 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren, and 8 great great grandchildren. Her memory us forever etched in the hearts and minds of her loving family. Born on June 2nd, 1919, in Garden City, Avril’s life spanned the history and technology advancements of the United States to include the Great Depression, WWII, the atomic age, the moon landings, running water and electricity, and the iPhone. She was raised in the strictness of sense in the philosophy of family, God and country by her father and mother John and Georgeanna LaGesse. Avril’s childhood and adolescent education culminated in graduation from Garden City High School in 1937 and Garden City Community College in 1939. Rumors of war engulfed the nation and Avril found herself with so many of the Greatest Generation answering the nation’s calling on the day of infamy, Dec 7, 1941. Garden City was transformed into a military war setting with the draft and military air base. Avril was a beauty of French European descent she caught the eye of her lifetime love and husband, the late Virgil Craig. Their romance can be best described by that of the novel “From Here to Eternity”. Virgil and Avril were married on December 23rd, 1943, during Virgil’s short weekend leave from the US Army. Virgil shipped out shortly after the marriage to train in England. It was a 2-year separation as Virgil fought with the US Army in France and Germany and Avril kept the home fires burning. Their post war reunion was the genesis of raising 8 wonderful and loving children. Avril was a lifetime member of St Mary’s Catholic Church. Avril and Virgil raised their children in the awareness and respect of God. While Virgil was a devoted husband and breadwinner, Avril nurtured the family in wholesome loving care. Every morning Avril served her children a hot breakfast to start the day with her loving husband, Virgil manning the toaster at the end of the table. Off to school the children went and every night at 6 PM dinner was served. Avril had to be organized to keep 8 children ready for the next even whether that be getting ready for school, church or family activities. Clothes were laid out the night before, baths were taken, teeth brushed and prayers said before bed. The children’s cherished Sunday memories were eating buttered popcorn and watching the “Wonderful World of Disney” and “Bonanza”. Family traditions were important to Avril a=s she always made special memories for the children with Easter Baskets, May Day Baskets, Valentine goodies and Christmas stockings. Believe it or not, Avril never had a driver’s license in her 97 years of life. Hard to imagine in this day and age, but a well-known bit of family trivia. Avril’s non-driving lifestyle did not hamper her in the least, however, when serving the community. Avril was a member of: the Alpha Tau Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, the Maristella Sorosis club, and the Alta Society. She also served in many volunteer capacities to include: the USO during WWII, Red Cross volunteer, Election worker, Hospital volunteer from 1968-2011 to include the Bells of St. Catherine, The Gray Ladies, The Board of Directors, and supporting her children in various school activities, clubs, and sporting events. Throughout her life was employed as a bookkeeper at Woolworth’s, Don’s Service (her brothers appliance store) and Hebrlee Oil. Avril loved to knit afghans and other items for family and friends, and enjoyed making Christmas cookies and candies for all. Avril lived a life filled with passion for her family. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Virgil in 2015, and her siblings Ralph LaGesse, Alix Hering, Donald LaGesse, Ramona Munson, Lorene Southern, Aurelia Dowtain, and Jacqueline (Jackie) Lightner. She is survived by her children, Janice Laughlin (Dan), Annette Klein (Chuck), Cheryl West (Gary), Denise Van Dam (Bud), Brian Craig, Nancy Gomez (Albert), Patrick Craig (Kathy), and Catherine Reinert (Chuck) and a sister Avonne (Bonnie) Fox of Elmhurst, IL. Avril will always be remembered as a devoted wife, loving mother and cherished friend. A beautiful vision of Avril and Virgil’s Heavenly reunion will be carried in the hearts of the Craig family forevermore: that of a young war bride ascending a hill and, at the top, a handsome soldier awaiting her arrival with open arms.
The funeral mass will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 10:30 AM at St Mary Catholic Church in Garden City with Father Charles Seiwert as Celebrant. Burial will follow at Valley View Cemetery in Garden City. Memorials are suggested to St Catherine Hospital Volunteer Program in care of Garnand Funeral Home, 412 North 7th, Garden City, Kansas 67846. Condolences may be posted at garnandfuneralhomes.com