Larry CraigPhoto by Paul Neevel

Larry Craig

When he was 14 years old, Larry Craig and his family moved from Federal Way, Washington, to Springfield, Oregon, where he finished middle school at Hamlin School. “My claim to fame at Springfield High School was being drum major for the marching band,” he says. “The band director was looking for someone tall, and I was 6-5.” After one year of study at the University of Oregon, his life was altered in 1970 when a car pulled out in front of his motorcycle at 23rd and Alder. He returned to the UO, paraplegic and in a wheelchair, after a year of rehab. “That’s when I buckled down and got serious in school,” he says. “I got into community service and public affairs, and got my degree in 1975. I ended up working in emergency communications.” He started as a fire dispatcher in Springfield, then added police and private ambulance dispatch. When 9-1-1 emergency phone service was introduced to Eugene and Lane County in 1981, he worked his way up from dispatcher to communication supervisor, and he retired as systems coordinator in 2013. “I have a knack for computer systems and networks,” he acknowledges. “I helped design the systems in use today at Central Lane 9-1-1.” Fresh chard and asparagus are currently ready for picking in Craig’s backyard raised-bed garden, where in late summer he expects to harvest enough San Marzano Roma tomatoes to can a year’s supply of marinara sauce. A member of the In Accord Community Choir since his retirement, he will sing with the choir in its season-ending 2019 annual concert, One Day, at Emmaus Lutheran Church, 1250 West 18th Avenue, on Saturday, June 1, at 7 pm. Tickets are $7-10 (no one turned away).