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Craig Alan Woodward, 72, died Thursday, April 25, at his home in Prineville. He was born December 14, 1946, in Roseburg to Van and Lucille (Powell) Woodward.
A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, at the Indoor Arena at Crook County Fairgrounds, with a gathering to follow in the commons area.
Craig was a respected member of the community. He and his wife employed hundreds of people, whom were treated as family. He was a philanthropist, a trusted adviser to many local government leaders, and an advocate for making the community a better place.
Craig loved Prineville and Central Oregon. He was very active and influential in making this community successful and ensuring that it remained a great place to live and raise a family.
Craig graduated from Crook County High School in 1965 and from Eastern Oregon University (then called Eastern Oregon College) in La Grande in 1969. Four of his grandchildren have followed in his footsteps, attending EOU.
Craig was an all-American wrestler while at Eastern, and was later named to the EOU Athletic Hall of Fame, the Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame, and is being inducted this weekend into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame with the Outstanding American Award, which is given to former wrestlers who have distinguished themselves in local, state, or national work. While at EOU, he was a member of the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity, which recognizes all-around excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. In 2007, he was one of the first five people to be inducted into the CCHS Alumni Hall of Fame.
He married his high school sweetheart, Lucy Quant, on October 13, 1967. They had three children, Carrie, Clay, and Crista.
Craig loved spending time with his family and attending his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events. He also enjoyed hunting; working; storytelling; hosting friends, family, and strangers; cruising timber and surveying; horses, including owning race horses; and spending time on Big Summit Prairie.
He loved making deals and accomplishing things that no one thought could be done. He was regarded by many as “the most interesting man in the world.”
Craig started working in the woods with his dad when he was 15. While in college, he started buying and selling timber and became adept at using new skidding equipment. He returned to Prineville after college, and operated successful businesses, consistently buying timber land along the way.
He purchased the Louisiana Pacific sawmill in Prineville in 1986 and renamed it Prineville Sawmill Company. He eventually sold the mill to Crown Pacific. Craig and his wife, Lucy, own timber land and ranches and the majority of Big Summit Prairie. Craig had known since his youth that he would someday own the prairie. In fact, in 1959, Craig had carved his initials on a boundary sign on the prairie, which he and his grandson found decades later.
Craig is a fifth-generation Oregonian and also a world traveler. He worked in the logging industry in Bolivia, owned timber land in Belize, and had logging contracts on the Hawaiian islands. He also traveled all over the United States and around the world.
In 2010, Craig was the Grand Marshal of the Crooked River Round-Up, and he deputized all of his grandchildren as his “Honorary Grand Posse.”
Craig didn’t know a stranger, and was everyone’s hero. He treated all people well, and made everyone who knew him feel special. Over the years, Craig and Lucy welcomed numerous children—family and friends—to live in their home and treated them like their own.
In 2017, Craig hosted the Oregon Eclipse Festival at Big Summit Prairie, which attracted over 70,000 people to the area and demonstrated Craig’s willingness and ability to continually reinvent himself.
Craig is survived by Lucy (Quant), his wife of 51 years; their three children, Carrie Woodward and children, Caleb, Layne, and Craig; Clay (Kim Tommila) Woodward and children, Clark, Cade, and Kenna; and Crista (Scott) Porfily and children Grant, Nash, and Holt; his niece, DeAnn Welker (Nolan Lewis) and children Lincoln, Inara, and Willa; his three great-grandchildren, Leo, Ray, and Veda; his brother, Brick (Gail Moore); his sister, Vana Woodward; numerous other close relatives; and countless friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make donations to Crook County High School athletics in honor of Craig Woodward and/or to the West Branch Cemetery Fund at Washington Federal Bank.