Four Generations of the Craig Family Serving the Community with Compassion
Craig Funeral Home, Crematory and Memorial Park is part of the history of St. Johns. Begun in 1915 by Augustus Hedrick Craig, today the funeral home is run by his grandson Gus Craig III and his great-grandson Justin Craig. With over a century of service to the community, they are experts in the celebration of life that has come to characterize their approach and set them apart. We were able to sit down with Justin to learn more about the family’s rich history and their philosophy of helping people.
Justin Craig is the fourth generation to guide families through the sensitive and challenging experience of saying good-bye to a loved one.
“We believe that every life has a story to tell and prefer to think of it as a time for reflection, appreciation and even celebration. We carefully guide families through every aspect of the arrangement process and can offer families everything they need under one roof. We strive to make the whole process as easy as possible during this challenging time. While always operating with integrity and providing the highest level of service in the area.”
Thank you notes from grateful clients and their families cover numerous bulletin boards at the funeral home, a testament to the compassion and integrity that has sustained this family-owned business for four generations of the Craig Family.
Justin says that placing the desires and needs of clients first and giving them a positive experience is a priority.
“We are not stuck in doing things the traditional way. If a family comes with an idea that isn’t traditional we are open to doing it, whether that is using special music or mementos, or something else. We want to give people the best possible celebration of life.”
It has been Craig’s practice to help every family we serve to find a way to honor their loved one. Every family is treated with empathy, dignity, and respect. Justin’s Mom Sheryl recalls seeing records from back in the day when people paid with chickens or gallons of milk. “It's about seeing the human side of death and using compassion,” says Justin.
The overall experience is enhanced for families by the ease of having access to the funeral home, crematory and memorial park. The beautiful natural setting among old live oaks with dappled sunlight lends peaceful energy for both mourning and reflection on life. Craig's has the longes-running funeral home and crematory in the county. We are constantly looking for new ways to better serve our families and offer the latest technology available. With over 100 years of experience, families can rest assured that Craig Funeral Home is the leader in the industry.
Justin has learned from the examples set by his great grandfather, grandfather and father who built the business from its roots in the early twentieth century. It is a rich history dedicated to preserving the amazing and inspirational stories that are life and have become the backbone of Craig Funeral Home’s reputation as they take it into the next generation.
A Rich History
Justin’s Great Grandfather, Augustus Hedrick Craig began his career as a Deputy with the St. Augustine Police Department and soon after started working at the existing L.F. Sanchez Funeral Home on 30 St. George Street. He eventually became a partner in 1915 and in 1934 became the sole proprietor of Craig Funeral Home Inc., which was moved to 20 Granada Street. Craig Funeral Home even operated a private ambulance service from 1918 until the mid-1970’s. As the community grew the funeral home was relocated to its current location at 1475 Old Dixie Highway in 1984.
“I'm lucky to be work with my Dad on a daily basis,” Justin says. They share a special relationship outside of running the family business, enjoying golf, fishing and family time together. Nowadays, Justin’s six-year-old twin sons, Bryson and Chandler, and five-year-old daughter Lilah are part of the fun. Maybe one day one or all the children will follow in the family tradition?
The day we met Justin happened to be the twenty-second annual Gus Craig Salvation Army Award dinner to benefit Feed the Hungry. Each year since the early 1990s, the award has recognized longtime community residents who give selflessly to others. Justin’s Grandfather “Gus” as he was affectionately known in the community, supported many local causes and organizations.
There is a certain pressure in living up to the esteemed reputation which precedes him but Justin says it is an honor to serve the community. He recalls the funeral procession for former St. Augustine Sheriff Neil J. Perry. As the procession passed through the community crowds lined the streets celebrating his life of service. He says it is moments like this that reflect Craig Funeral Home’s humble devotion to helping people mourn and celebrate a life. Although many things have changed since 1915, one thing remains the same. The Craig family’s commitment to serving your family in a time of need.
St. Johns Magazine