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Craig McGinn

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
6:00 PM until 8:00 PM
Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home
221 North Meade Avenue
Glendive, MT 59330

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
8:30 AM until 11:00 AM
Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home
221 North Meade Avenue
Glendive, MT 59330

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
11:00 AM
Chapel of the Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home
221 North Meade Avenue
Glendive, MT 59330

Glendive, Montana: Craig Michael McGinn, age 63, passed away on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at the Glendive Medical Center in Glendive. Visitation will be from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 and 8:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at the Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home in Glendive. A Life Tribute service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in the Chapel of the Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home in Glendive with Celebrant Sandy Silha officiating. Silvernale-Silha Funeral Home of Glendive has been entrusted with the arrangements.
Craig was born on March 2, 1949 the son of Richard E. and Geraldine E. (Parks) McGinn in Aurora, Illinois. He was raised and educated in Aurora attending Marmion Academy. After completing his education Craig began working as an optical lens maker, he worked in Illinois, Louisiana and Montana for over thirty years making lenses. Craig also worked at the Glendive Medical Center before his health forced him to retire.
Craig enjoyed fishing and socializing, he loved playing guitar, but above all, he loved living life in Montana enjoying its peace and quiet and open spaces.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Ernest A. McGinn.
Survivors include two sisters, Beverly (Robert) Schwartz of Montgomery, Illinois and Christine (Robert) Pfohl of Woodridge, Illinois; one brother, Stephen McGinn of Hampstead, North Carolina and numerous nieces and nephews.
Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at:

Craig Michael McGinn.

A “free spirit” are words used by his sisters as they remember him. The second of four children, Craig grew up in Aurora, Illinois. He was personable and outgoing. But also, had Craig been in school today, he probably would have been diagnosed with something. Craig struggled with structure; in his youth that struggle showed up in school and in activities that tended to be confining. Later in life, he and law enforcement did not always see eye-to-eye. Craig’s efforts to conform were not always successful, and most times, Craig just wouldn’t bother to make the effort at all. For Craig “rules were just suggestions.”

One of the biggest positives of Craig’s life began in his youth. Craig learned to play the Hawaiian guitar, and discovered a natural talent with music. After some instruction in playing guitar, Craig found that he didn’t need lessons ands would rather play by ear and just mess around with his music. For a time, Craig played in a band in Chicago. Over the years, Craig even wrote a few songs just for his own enjoyment and to share with friends. Music and his guitars were a lifelong love, hobby, and a friend to Craig. The music gave expression to the “free spirit” that characterized Craig. Music was a constant in his life.

After he ended his schooling, Craig moved out of the family home. Craig worked a couple of years and then took training to become an optician and make eyeglasses for people. He began his new trade and moved to New Orleans where he lived for several years. While Craig was in New Orleans, he met a couple who became important friends in his life, Darrel and Mayra Tade. Darrel, Mayra, and Craig lived in the same apartment building and became friends. Darrel and Mayra describe life in New Orleans as a circle of friends, many of them musicians, that enjoyed getting together on week-ends, with Friday night jam sessions a regular event. Craig was an important part of those days.

After several years in New Orleans, the Tades returned to Montana, and Craig returned to Illinois. They continued to stay in touch with each other, and Craig eventually made a trip to Montana to visit Darrel and Mayra. Craig was very taken with the Big Sky State, and returned home with visions of it in his head and heart.

Craig was married for a short time, and fathered a son, Ernest Alan. The “Ernest” in his son’s name came from Craig’s grandfather, a great man in the McGinn family history. When the marriage ended, Craig’s life took him in a different direction, and it was only when his son was older that they reconnected. Craig would have appreciated the family lighting a candle today to remember Ernie as we honor and pay tribute to Craig.

Craig’s sister Beverly, recalls a conversation with her brother they had as adults shortly before Craig left Aurora. Craig arrived at her home in a taxi, and as Craig sipped on a beer, he compared the similarities of their lives, searching for things they had in common. Bev was okay with her brother just the way he was, and made a point of letting Craig know that they were very different, and that those differences were what God intended. Bev reassured Craig that as her brother she was fine with him just as he was.

Craig made a life changing decision. Never one for the urban life, Craig left Aurora for good, and headed for Montana. After a short stay with Darrel and Mayra, Craig started his life in Montana in Butte, then moved to the Billings-Wordon area, eventually settling in Glendive. He continued working his trade as an optician, serving many Eastern Montana optometrists from his Glendive location for the next twenty years or so, and making hundreds of pairs of eyeglasses for people. Craig was very good at his job and proud of his work. When he retired from that job, he tried something different for a time, maintainance work at Glendive Medical Center, mostly because of the insurance it offered him. Craig’s health began to decline and he retired completely from working.

His sister, Christine, felt Craig had lived the last twenty years of his life just exactly as he wanted. His life was simple but good. He chose Glendive because he found the country beautiful, and he never changed his mind about that.

Craig and his siblings had grown up with vacations spent camping and fishing. Craig continued to enjoy fishing and found Montana a great place for that activity. Craig met a 14 year old youngster named Jake Anderson who also loved fishing. When Jake turned 15 and got his driver’s license, Jake had no money for gas. Craig had avehicle and gas money but no driver’s license and it was a match made in heaven for the two fishermen. A friendship was formed over the years that included many shared experiences, including fishing and canoeing.

Besides his music, friends were another constant in Craig’s life and very important to him. Craig’s friends were from a broad spectrum. Besides fishing and the outdoors, he enjoyed sharing music, conservation, and beer with his friends. Craig was outgoing and likeable. He had great people skills. Craig would never intentionally hurt anyone or anything, and he would have given you the shirt off his back.

Craig had a large circle of friends. A good friend of Craig’s, Jerry Fevold, shared a love of music with Craig. Jerry calls Craig honest and open about life, but private about himself. Craig was good with kids and was like an uncle to Jerry’s children. Jerry would be amused at Craig’s childlike awe over the simplest things or just the landscape around him. Craig would say over and over, “I can’t believe this” accompanied by a big grin that belonged to a little kid. Jerry noticed that both the houses Craig owned in Glendive had a view, the first had a view of the river and the Black Bridge, and the second house had a view of the badlands. Craig would sit in back of his home in the evenings and marvel at the deer and the view.

Craig introduced Jerry to Glen Beck and the political right conservative view. Craig had very strong feelings on this subject and was not shy about sharing his opinions.

A small man in stature, Craig’s friends found him to have a heart of gold that was bigger than he was.

Craig also continued to visit back and forth with Darrel and Mayra, and Mayra especially enjoyed the “kindred spirit” she shared with Craig, and truly enjoyed the many conversations they had about various subjects. Although Craig found organized religion too confining and structured, Mayra knew Craig to believe in God. Mayra laughs when she tells about discussing a favorite topic of hers, astrology. Craig would just listen and roll his eyes. Darrel and Mayra both looked forward to their times with Craig, because he always brought his guitar, and one request they always had was a song Craig had composed in New Orleans during a time of rain and flooding. The song brought back memories for them all of a good time in their lives. Another request they would make of Craig was for him to cook his delicious cabbage rolls. Craig was a very good cook and cabbage rolls were his speciality.

We can’t talk about Craig’s friends without mentioning his dogs. More years than not, throughout his adult life, Craig had dogs. For years Craig had two vizslas, Hans and Gretel, and he treated them like kids. After they died, he got a springer spaniel. There is a picture here today that Craig’s sisters brought featuring Craig and his spaniel. The dog was so high strung that Craig was probably the only person that could have lived with that dog. One late night, the dog woke Craig when the house was on fire, allowing Craig to escape the flames. Craig lost the house and most everything in it, but not his life, thanks to that dog. Craig got a good insurance check after the fire and bought his second home where he lived until his death.

Craig also loved his vehicles. He was very meticulous about his home and cars and kept everything in mint condition.

Craig never had much money throughout his life. He learned to be very budget conscious. Beer and cigarettes were a high priority, but he would only buy two packs of cigarettes at a time as a way of curbing his habit. For years he swamped at the Oasis bar for extra money to pay child support. Having money wasn’t very important to Craig. He didn’t have a lot of possessions but whatever he possessed was quality. Money just wasn’t important to Craig and he never made much or had much. He always said “if it cost a dime to go around the world, I wouldn’t get out of sight.” But that never really bothered him. After his mother died, Craig inherited enough money to finally feel the comfort zone that money can provide.

Craig was a man with a lot of independence. He didn’t want and often wouldn’t accept help, even from friends. Craig lived for and in the moment, not seeming to worry about the future or for that matter, the past.

A former sister-in-law of Craig’s made the observation that when she knew Craig, he “seemed like he was always looking for something but couldn’t quite find it.” Well, perhaps he did find what he was looking for.

Craig traveled to Scobey to visit Darrel and Mayra about a month ago. They both noticed that even with his poor health how happy he seemed with this time of his life. Craig still appreciated the beauty of the land. He was in a good place financially, with his house and vehicles paid for. He was relaxed and content with his retirement, and just seemed to be proud what he had accomplished in life. He was happy with what he had, and was just in a good place with the world. Darrel and Mayra feel Craig “checked out on a high.”

We certainly hope so.

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