Craig Braaten passed away on June 19th with his wife and family at his side.
On July 2, 1937, Craig Braaten emerged into the world, bold and gifted with an indelible sense of humor. He was raised by his grandparents on their homestead on the out skirts of Williston, North Dakota. He met his loving wife, Doris, in Amarillo, Texas. The young couple shared an instant connection and began their marriage in 1954 with a humble wedding meal comprised of a hamburger and a nickel Coke.
Craig entered the service in October of 1953 and trained as a Flight Engineer for C-130s and B-47s. He served in the Korean and Vietnam War, where he was honored to fly soldiers home from Vietnam, on what is now known as Angel Flights. Craig was a true American hero. His family traveled with him to Okinawa and Hawaii, as well as many other places across the USA, which broadened their world view–shaping the Braaten family and forging unforgettable bonds and memories.
After retiring as a Master Sergeant from the Air Force in 1974, Craig moved his family to Montana, where in true Montana fashion, he enjoyed camping, fishing, and hunting. Retirement from the Air Force led Craig to a career in banking. Enthralled with the banking world, he loved helping others succeed in their business ventures based on an honest handshake. His banking career started at Security Bank, then proceeded to American Bank as the Vice President, and finally finished at Rocky Mountain Bank as the Business Development Officer until he retired.
Craig never knew a stranger and was a true patriot. He was involved in the Billings Chamber of Commerce, Riverside Optimist Club, and VFW. In addition, he served as a Police Commissioner and volunteered at the Friendship House for 25 years. Seldom was there a place in town where he wasn’t recognized for his hard work, honesty, and generosity.
“Grandpa” was a master storyteller who loved to converse and share experiences with his friends and family, who grew in abundance. One of his greatest joys was being a grandpa. He loved to take the kids fishing. He also enjoyed grilling for friends and families. His favorite pastime became was watching Fox News while cuddling up with Snoopy and Satchel.
Craig is survived by his wife Doris and 5 children: Dean (Faye), Cheryle (Ernie), Connie, Kathreen (Villa), and Christina (Jerel). He will be missed as a beloved grandfather to 29 grandkids, 16 great-grandkids, and 1 great-great-granddaughter. Heis preceded in death by his son Crist Jerome and grandson Nathan Paul.
This pillar of the family’s kindness has grown in the hearts of those who are left to continue his extraordinary legacy; a legacy of love, an enduring will to combat adversity, and the duty to create a ripple effect of compassion with those surrounding us.
If you would like to commemorate the life of this exceptional man, Craig Braaten, please join us in honoring him at Atonement Lutheran Church, Monday, June 25th at 10 am. In accordance with his service to our country, his funeral will be met with Full Military Honors.
Memorials may be made to:
Atonement Lutheran Church – Children’s Ministries or
Dog Tag Buddies at https://dogtagbuddies.org/