To write, and to recall my early childhood until the pres ent, is a rewarding experience. I, Larry Craig, was the first born of Samintha Beaver Craig, and a farm boy from Cooper, Texas, Jess Craig. I was born in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, July 20, 1936, and I immediately became “Larry Baby” to Aunt Jane.
My sister, Janie, has done a great job of tracing our childhood days, so there is no need for me to repeat that part of my life. I will just say that my outlook on life sometimes became very bleak with two little sisters always plotting against big brother. All in all, if you must have two little sisters, I wouldn’t trade mine for any I know. They are both wonderful people whom I love dearly.
I, being the oldest of the three, had more time to be with, and to love Granny and Gramp Beaver. Some of my fondest mem ories are of my visits to the old home place and strolling out doors along with Gramp Beaver. He told me stories which helped to mold my life. The old family horse, J.T., was as much of the family as any of us, and much older than the most of us. Gramp Beaver was a dedicated Christian man who raised his family well.
After Gramp passed away, Granny really did become part of our family, visiting often the Craig household. We all looked forward to those times. There are so many memories of her it is hard to pick a favorite. One always comes to mind first. She was staying with us during my high school senior year, and she caught me, one day, with a cigarette, (a habit I gave up long ago). She began lecturing me on the dangers of this bad habit. The amusing part of it was, while she was lecturing me, she had a large dip of Garrett snuff in her mouth, her spitbucket by her side, her willow toothbrush in place, and snuff running down both sides of her mouth. I remember that so well. She was dear and sweet. I know where my mother’s loving nature came from. My mother is the strongest and bravest person I know. When we lost our dad, it seemed as though she was comforting us kids when we should have been sneaking words of comfort to her. Just a few short months later she was diagnosed as having stomach cancer. Again, I feel that she strengthened us more through the long ordeal than we did her. That seems to be a Beaver trait.
I graduated from Tyler High School in 1954 and immediately began working for a wholesale drug company. Three years later I realized that I needed to further my education, and I enrolled in Tyler Junior College. I was there two years, then I entered the University of Texas at Austin. I married soon after, and two years later, along came my pride and joy, our daughter, Tonya Rene’ Craig. I later transferred to the University of Houston College of Pharmacy, after a stint of active duty in the Navy as a Recruiting Officer, in Austin. I graduated from the Uni versity of Houston in June, 196?, and moved back to Tyler, where I have been ever since. I worked as a pharmacist for twelve years. Ten years ago I opened my own business, Craig Pharmacy.
I have had a lot of hobbies and interests, music being the main one. I played bass guitar with a country and western band for 12 years. I rode motorcycles in the Shrine Drill Team for a number of years. Law enforcement was also of great interest to me, and for six years I served as a Deputy Sheriff, as a coordinator for the Smith County Sheriff’s Reserve. I am now serving part time as a Deputy Constable. After doing these things, running for public office was inevitable. I ran in the Democratic primary for County Commissioner in 1984. I was unsuccessful, but the political bug bit me, and I do plan to run again.
After having only one little sweet, quiet daughter, I was married for the second time. The first morning after Barbara and I returned from a short honeymoon, I began to count heads at the breakfast table. There were seven of us. As well as becoming a new husband, I became the father of four boys, ages ten through fifteen. We have a wonderful family. My wife. Barbara, has been a God sent blessing to me.
Our daughter, Toni, who pulled every imaginable trick to miss school, and said she hated school, naturally became a school teacher. She graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler with a degree in Special Education, and is teaching learning disabled children in the Tyler school system. She is continuing her education toward a Masters Degree by study ing at night and during the summer. In June, 1984 she was married to Gary Halbrooks, who works with Barbara as a real estate salesman. We are proud of Toni and Gary.
Our oldest son, Claude Holly, and his wife are both pharma cists, graduating from the University of Texas College of Pharm acy. Claude began flying at an early age, and was the youngest multi-engine rated pilot in Tyler. He has now taken an active part in the management and operation of Craig Pharmacy. Terry works part time, but spends most of her time taking care of our grandson, Christopher.
Son #2, Jim Holly, also selected one of my traits. He plays bass guitar far better than I. He pursued a music degree, at Tyler Junior College and Stephen F. Austin State University. He traveled on the road with a band for awhile, but is now at home playing locally. He works in recording studios here, in Dallas and Austin, while working part time at Craig Pharmacy. Jim and wife, Paula, are the parents of our grandson, Cameron.
Son #3, Kenneth Holly, attended Tyler Junior College and became involved in his father’s automobile business, and in the management of their farm properties. He is one that can always be happy so long as it is hunting season, or he has a good place to fish. Kenneth’s wife, Judy, is at home looking after our only grandaughter, Whitney.
Son #4, Bill Holly, attended Tyler Junior College, and the University of Texas at Austin. He is involved in the manage ment of his father’s automobile business. Bill is a mecnanical wizard. Barbara and I had not been married long when Bill found an old siren of mine and asked if he could have it. Of course I said yes. The next night, when I came home, he had a burglar alarm set and that siren went off loud and clear as soon as I stepped inside the door. Bill, at the ripe old age of 22, is a bachelor, and says a wife and kids are not in his immediate future.
We are very fortunate that our children all live in Tyler, and for the very close relationship we have with each of them. For a number of years, we were active in the First Christian Church in Tyler. I served two terms as deacon, and chaired many committees. We have recently moved our membership to a new, small congregation, the University Christian Church. This change has been a very rewarding, spiritual blessing to Barbara and me. Of all the teachings my mother gave me, the belief in God and our religious obligations have always been number one.
I regret that I have not had the opportunity of being closer to all of my cousins. To all aunts, uncles and cousins, I think of you often and cherish the Beaver bloodline that ties us together.
Aunt Lois, God bless you in this undertaking. May the Lord give you strength and courage to complete it on schedule. I AM PROUD OF MY BEAVER HERITAGE.