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Seneca Professor Jim Craig Passes Away

As reported in the Milkman UnLimited Facebook group:

To any Seneca, Fanshawe or Conestoga grads, as well as anyone who knew him, with sadness I have to announce, Jim Craig has passed away.

Although official notices are forthcoming and details of arrangements will be shared at a later date, I’d like to share the tribute I wrote for him now on my personal social channels.

Jim Craig

He signed his emails with Sláinte… an Irish toast meaning “health” and I have never met an Irish person prouder of his heritage; always in green on St Patrick’s day and always with smile or long funny and detailed story or facts about anything to teach anyone who crossed his path.

Jim Craig taught his first class at Seneca in 1997. Not his first teaching assignment however, having also taught at Fanshaw College in his longtime hometown of London, Ontario as well as Conestoga College in Cambridge. He loved an audience. He could bloviate or pontificate (favourite words of his) about anything at will and as a result this skill made him a natural broadcaster. While studying English and History at Wilfrid Laurier University his parttime operator gig at a local radio station (CJOY) turned into an on-air job, launching more than 20 successful years on the air including stops at CKCB Collingwood, CKSO Sudbury, CKKW Kitchener and 5 years of mornings at CHYM. Then Back to CKKW mornings and CKCO TV as the original host of Bowling-for-Dollars and the Miss Oktoberfest Pageant. After stops at CKRC Winnipeg and CFRN Edmonton, Jim settled in London with radio and tv at CKSL, CJBK, BX-93, CKO and CFPL-TV.

Jim had the ability to talk to anyone about anything and make a real connection so a move to programming, sales and promotions and later management & consulting and even later still to part ownership was easy. He loved broadcasting and its people, and he loved talking and working hard to make everything he touched a success, including programming a national smooth jazz channel on CBC Galaxie Music (now Stingray) for over 10 years being heard via satellite and digital cable by more than 10 million Canadian homes.

Getting into teaching was a natural transition and as they say, he never looked back. He loved to share stories of his past and used them to paint vivid pictures for his students that included, lessons of working hard and staying positive and responding to adversity and in doing so, more than prepared his thousands of students for broadcasting success. At Seneca, he was proud to teach in all the broadcasting programs, but his first love was always Radio.

He loved his wife, Gayle and their two children Cameron and Erin and especially his grandchildren, Maddoc and Slone and would often talk with inflated chest on so many of their successes and accomplishments… Great kids because of great parents. In his down time, Jim loved sailing, listening to jazz music and traveling, but most of all he loved teaching at Seneca. Just after his first battle with Cancer more than 15 years ago, with his first all clear oncologist report in hand, Jim made it a personal goal that he would be teaching at Seneca, “until they have to haul me out in a box” he had hoped in his 80’s – He loved it that much. In fact, Jim was scheduled to teach this semester and until 2 weeks ago was doing just that. When he went into the hospital, he even wanted to move the classes online and teach virtually.

He taught me a lot over the years and not only about broadcasting but life lessons that have helped make me who I am today and for that I am very thankful. One particular lesson that I have thought quite a bit about over the last few weeks was his lesson “All but 6”. He said it was an Irish saying that basically meant, when things are tough and you have to make decisions about friendships and things that may result in being unpopular, it all doesn’t really matter because you only need 6 friends in the end as pallbearers. I can’t stop thinking that through it all, Jim has ended his life with thousands more than just 6, with current and past colleagues, students and friends and family… and today we all share the weight and lift him up for his last trip.


Jim (the Carr one)

PHOTO: Will Menzies Facebook

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