WASHINGTON (AP) — Carl C. Craft, a retired Associated Press reporter and editor who covered government and politics in Washington for more than two decades, died recently after suffering head injuries in a fall. He was 79.
Craft, who died May 5 at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, worked for the AP for more than 30 years, starting in 1963 in Louisville, Kentucky, before moving on to be correspondent in Concord, New Hampshire, and then joining the staff of Washington AP in 1969. He worked in the Washington bureau until 1993, when he retired.
Before the days of the internet and Google, Craft was known for collecting extensive files and background on all types of government and political stories, and would keep them in big cases he would carry to and from work in his car for safekeeping. Once, when there was a fire alarm in the office, he recruited several co-workers to get his files to his car, said Bob Furlow, a Washington AP colleague.
He wrote a weekly “Status of Legislation” column on bills working their way through Congress. “He was surprised and pleased to find one week that a Tennessee paper had led its Sunday edition with his compilation,” Furlow recalled.
On big election nights, he would track which states were won by each candidate on tote boards to keep the newsroom informed said Carole Feldman, who also worked with Craft at Washington AP.
Craft was a native of Richmond, Indiana, and showed an interest in journalism from an early age, writing for and editing the high school magazine and serving as a reporter and sports editor of his high school newspaper. He considered becoming a Catholic priest before deciding to pursue a career in writing.
He worked for newspapers in Bloomington, Indiana, including The Indiana Daily Student, the Star-Courier of Bloomington and the Herald-Telephone of Bloomington until he went to work for the AP. That work in journalism was interrupted by a six-month period of active military duty with the U.S. Army Reserve.
After retirement, he turned his journalistic skills to extensive genealogical research, resulting in a thorough family history that went back centuries.
Craft is survived by his wife of almost 45 years, Peggy Craft, and his son, Gregory Craft, both of Springfield, Virginia; his brothers, Roger Craft of Richmond, Indiana, of Bruce Craft of Glendale, Arizona; and sisters, Christine and Barbara Craft of Richmond, Indiana.
Leaving nothing to chance, Craft prepared a summary of his life for use in the event of his death, going into meticulous detail of his schooling (from kindergarten on), his career and his accomplishments.