- About Us
BRIAN WADE CRAFT
November 11, 1963 – March 13, 2019
Our hearts break as we say goodbye to one remarkable man. Brian Craft, 55, of Hamilton, passed away in the early morning hours of March 13th due to complications of the flu. Loved ones, doctors, and nurses, were touched by his heroic courage, and the gentle kindness he radiated as he battled through the extremely difficult thirty-nine days in the intensive care unit in SLC, Utah.
Brian was born in Torrance, CA on November 11, 1963, the 2nd oldest of nine children. As a youngster his family traveled a great deal, and at the age of 14, when they planned to move once again, he said he wished to stay in Utah by himself. So began a new chapter in Brian’s incredible life. He moved in with his best friend, Casey and their family during his last years of school. They became like brothers and spent those years working on old cars, listening to AC/DC and Foghat, and sneaking off to rock concerts on Sunday afternoons. Their friendship has remained a brotherhood of love and mutual admiration through all these years.
Brian learned early on, to be independent and take care of himself. He started working full time since he was 14 at random jobs but then began working at Whitlock Auto Body. The Whitlock Gang (who fondly called him Homer) welcomed him as a friend, a brother, and a son and their friendship and influence have left their mark on him throughout his life. In 1986 Brian met and married Carol Espinoza and divorced in 1989. But in those short 3 years they blessed the world with his three oldest children, Jamilynn, Wade, and Amanda.
Brian served humbly and proudly in the Army National Guard and Active Duty from age 17 to 28. He was stationed in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm in 1991. He never spoke of his service but slowly over the years he disclosed bits and pieces of his close calls with enemy lines or his natural ability to ‘commandeer’ extra, more desirable, rations for his troops.
Brian’s favorite chapter of his life happened on an average day in 1990 when he walked into a greasy Midas Muffler shop in Orem, Utah and found himself face to face with a quiet, country girl, the future love of his life, and the woman who would stand by his side for a glorious 27 years; Irene Pappas. They both knew in that exact moment their lives had forever changed. Irene worked at Midas and hired him on the spot. Since life didn’t allow them to love for almost a year and a half, they became each other’s best friend. And once they started dating in August of 1991, Brian wasted no time making Irene his queen on January 11, 1992. Aside from fairy tales, there were never two people more perfect for each other, more in love, more meant to spend forever together. They were glued at the hip; definitely the heart. They did everything together. If you saw Brian, odds are you saw Irene. And if she wasn’t with him, odds are he was talking about her. They worked hard together and they played hard together, all of which cemented their relationship to a whole ‘nother level.
Brian gifted Irene with five of their greatest blessings; their children. When they married, Jami was 5, Wade was 4, and Amanda was 2. He used to call his 22-year-old bride, his “little insta-mom”. In 1998 they adopted the first of their two little miracles, their daughter, Mckell. Shortly after her arrival they relocated their family to Hamilton, Montana. And in 2002 they adopted the last of their beautiful children, their son, Carson. Their children, their love, their little family; was what life was all about. They were and are their greatest joys and blessings.
Referring to Brian as a motorhead, would clearly be an understatement. That’s one reason we never owned a horse in Montana; our “horses” had motors. Brian was a thrill seeker, but he did it with such control and grace that he made it all look so easy. He was brimming with humble confidence which allowed him to excel in everything he set out to do. 3 Wheelers, 4 wheelers, Dirt Bikes, Sand Rails, Motorcycles, Guns, and Snowmobiles were all just extensions of Brian. He made sure that Irene was right there next to him. With his characteristic calmness and patience, he would teach Irene step by step how to ride, how to shoot, how to overcome fear, how to go where no man has gone before, and how to play with the big boys. He encouraged anyone who was willing to learn. He was the best dune carver on the planet and he always graciously rode according to the skills of those behind him, so that everyone could enjoy the ride. Many rides you would see Brian or Irene with one or two children strapped to them. As their children got older, they started learning to do donuts on little 50cc, shooting guns, riding quads, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles; following in their dad’s footsteps. The friendships formed through all these sports, through all these years are etched in our hearts forever.
Brian might be referred to by many as the real-life MacGyver, the genuine article. He could design and fabricate anything, even if it came off an old sketch from a coffee stained napkin handed to him by a friend or customer. Irene always said he was the most capable man she ever met. He could fix and figure out anything. If he couldn’t fix it, well, it was just time to get a new one. It really was a marvel to witness. Brian and Irene started their business, Armadillo Off Road, in 1998. Irene was the books, but Brian was the brains, the imagination, the heart and soul of Armadillo. For 20+ years he served the off-road industry and the local community.
Brian was many things to many people. He was honest, hardworking, intelligent, courageous, humble, funny, sarcastic, calm, confident, strong, capable, patient, and a man of few words, but whose words were wise and powerful. He was an amazing father, a devoted husband, a loyal friend, a duning buddy, a shooting buddy, and a sledding buddy. Those that knew him consider themselves blessed. Blessed to have been an intimate part of a man that walked this earth with courage, love, patience, and kindness.
Loved ones that will miss Brian dearly until they meet again is the love of his life, best friend, Irene, their five beautiful and strong children, Carson, Mckell, Amanda, Wade (Terry), and Jami (Brian), their seven adorable grandchildren, his mother, Lila and his brothers and sister, a loving extended family, and an amazing village of strong, devoted, and very, very dear friends (to countless to list) who know him as family. All these people will continue to breathe and continue to share his memories and continue to live his legacy.
A Celebration of Brian’s life will be held on Saturday, March 23rd at 11am at the Corvallis LDS Church. A private viewing will begin at 10am for close friends and family.