Dr. Larry Craycraft, one of the pillars of our medical community, passed away on Sunday. Dr. Craycraft was instrumental in many things at King's Daughters, including helping found the first emergency room physician group, and starting our Occupational Medicine service. He also was medical staff president in 1975 and 1976, and later served to guide a generation of physicians as our vice president of Medical Affairs.
But first and foremost, Dr. Craycraft was a beloved and dedicated family practitioner. He is described by nurses as 'a brilliant, mild-mannered, people person who could never say no to a patient.' Dr. Craycraft completed pharmacy school and then medical school. His extraordinary intelligence, along with his grasp of chemistry, biology and physiology, gave him unique skills as a physician.
Dr. Craycraft served this community his whole life. He was born in Kenova, W.Va., and graduated from WVU, and chose to practice here when he surely could have practiced anywhere. When he wasn't helping patients locally, he was serving our country overseas as a U.S. Army major in Vietnam.
How can you summarize the life of someone who saved lives, and gave his life in service to others for over 80 years? The platitudes many of us could give in honor of Dr. Craycraft could fill 1,000 pages and still not scratch the surface. Nurses will tell you about his guiding influence. Physicians will speak about his mentoring. Patients and families continue to say, 'he made our lives better.'
Personally, I worked with Dr. Craycraft for several years prior to his retirement. He gave me guidance and helped me to always strive to be a better leader. He was truly the embodiment of a servant leader who was committed to making this Medical Center and his community a better place.
Dr. Craycraft’s memorial service is Saturday, July 26, 2014, 11 a.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church in Ashland. Memorial contributions may be sent to Community Hospice, the Ashland Community Kitchen or a charity of choice.
Dr. Craycraft was an amazing person and physician who created positive and long-lasting initiatives in our community and at King's Daughters. Perhaps the best epitaph he could have is this: we should all strive to treat patients with the integrity, fierce intelligence and genuine caring of Dr. Larry Craycraft.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
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