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James “Jim” Corbin Craft

james “jim”  craft

James “Jim” Craft passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease surrounded by his family on Saturday, January 20, 2024 at his longtime home in Oakton, VA. Jim was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Springfield and Annandale, VA. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1971 and went to Catawba College in North Carolina where he graduated in 1975. During his college summers, he worked for Seal and Company where he eventually had a long, tenured career as the company’s president, helping to secure contracts with DC Metro and Dulles Airport. He was an active member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 26 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), through which he took several beautifully-photographed trips to San Francisco, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Arizona, Boston, Hilton Head, and more. Some of his favorite personal travel was to nearby Annapolis for sailing trips, as well as the Craft family home in South Point, MD, where he went for several cherished summers and Thanksgivings.


Throughout his adult life, Jim was a foundational member of the Vale United Methodist Church in Oakton, VA, earning an honor with his wife Harriett in 2000 from the United Methodist Men for contributions to the congregation. During his years there, he held numerous influential positions including the head of Church Council, serving on the Board of Trustees, Worship Committee, Youth Confirmation Committee, leading Sunday School lessons, helping with the church yard sale, and occasionally lay reading.

He dedicated his time and life to service in many other ways — serving as a Boy Scouts pack chair and troop leader, volunteering to feed the homeless in Washington, DC through Martha’s Kitchen or in Northern VA through Meals on Wheels, helping numerous young adults from low-income families achieve their union certifications through the IBEW, and volunteering to rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 


Jim was lovingly dedicated to his wife and family, cheerfully offering his time and service to plant gardens; build home improvements, gymnastic bars, a soccer goal, a chemistry lab, an indoor-tented bunk bed; run a catering side business in the 80s and 90s with his wife and dear friend Polly Downey; and renovate Angela’s Happy Stamper in a single weekend. If there was a job that needed doing, Jim would ensure it was done right, always with his quiet but resolute focus.


Jim wrote in his journals how grateful he was to have such a full life to enjoy with his family and friends. His passions included photography, reading, writing, music, cooking with his wife Harriett, running, bike riding, going to see Orioles and DC United games, and eventually painting & bird watching while living with Alzheimer’s. And he peppered his whole life with the driest sense of humor and “dad” jokes. Jim will be missed by many.


He is survived by his loving wife Harriett; children Megan Alyssa, Jessica Erin, and Joseph Corbin; grandchildren Tiana Leigh and Kenneth Anton Jr.; his father Alvis Mahlon and companion Rachel Bayliff; his sisters and brothers-in law Mindi and Andrew Walker, Laurie Craft and Nick Lucarelli, Joan and Tony Kraus, and Marti Craft; his many adoring cousins, nieces, and nephews; and his lifelong friends Kevin and Judy Foley. Jim was preceded in death by his beloved mother Barbara Everett, his sister Carol Elizabeth and niece Sage Louise, and Bill Cowie.


A memorial service to honor and celebrate his life will take place at the Vale United Methodist Church on March 16, 2024 beginning at 1 PM. Contributions in memory of Jim may be made to: Vale UMC, 11528 Vale Road, Oakton, VA, 22124.


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