October 25, 1938 ~ January 6, 2023
84 Years Old
Funeral service for Velma Craft, 84, of Nacogdoches will be held at 2:00 pm on Monday, January 9, 2023 at Laird Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 1-2 pm at Laird Funeral Home.
Velma Christine Craft passed away on Friday, January 6, 2023. She was born to James Henry Richey and Una Mae Koonce Richey on October 25, 1938, in Nacogdoches. In 1960, she married Jim B. Craft, and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2010. He preceded her in death.
At a young age, she gave her heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and dedicated her life to live by His principles.
Velma graduated from Nacogdoches High School in 1958, where she was named Poet Laureate her senior year. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in Elementary Education in 1961, and earned her Master’s Degree in education from Baylor University in 1972.
Velma began her teaching career at Terrell Elementary in Port Arthur, Texas, but spent most of her career serving students in the Waco ISD after she and Jim moved to Waco. After teaching for several years, she was named Elementary Curriculum Director. At the time, WISD and Baylor University had a teacher/professor exchange program which allowed her to teach at Baylor University for two semesters.
She remained a Baylor fan and kept her nephews supplied with green and gold shirts throughout their high school years. They still remember their childhood trips to see the live bears in their enclosures on the campus.
Throughout her life, she collected plates with Norman Rockwell paintings as well as a variety of Santa Claus and other Christmas memorabilia.
Velma and Jim often assisted their neighbors, baking and preparing meals to share with them, particularly those who were elderly.
After retirement, they continued to make their home in Waco until Jim’s death, when Velma moved back to Nacogdoches to be near family and old friends.
In Nacogdoches, Velma attended First Baptist Church and Christian Life Center until her health began to prevent her attendance.
Survivors include her sister, Virginia Alders and husband Nolan of Nacogdoches; nephews, Bailey Alders and wife Melanie of Nacogdoches, and David Alders and wife Nicole of Nacogdoches; great-nieces and nephews including Daniel Alders and wife Joanna of Tyler; Emily Farrell and husband Robert of Nacogdoches; Nolan Alders III and wife Bethany of Gallatin, TN; Drew Alders and wife Taylor of Austin; Natalie Johnson and husband Nathaniel of Albany, OR; Will Alders and wife Allison of Nacogdoches; Sam Alders and wife Sarah of Nacogdoches; Anne Elisabeth Paul and husband Luke of Coeur d’Alene, ID; Kyla Hatcher and husband Russell of Snohomish, WA; Sarah Grace Capone and husband Aaron of Grand Prairie; Caroline Alders of Nacogdoches and Karys Alders of Nacogdoches. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Gordon Craft and wife Rita of Diboll and numerous great-great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Christian Life Academy or Regents Academy of Nacogdoches.