Thurl Craft – Obituary

Nigel and Thurl CraftA love story that started with a blind date and endured 61 years of marriage finally drew to a close with a funeral service which had more than a touch of military precision.

For Thurl Craft, aged 81, wife of RNPA member Nigel Craft, used her army background to ensure every aspect of her death from an aggressive form of cancer, and her funeral, was just as she wanted it.

“Thurl was a very organised person during her life, and she remained so right up to the end.” said Nigel. “She wrote the Order of Service, choosing the hymns, music and readings. She even discussed with our daughters how she should be dressed. But above all she wanted to ensure we remained a stable and functioning family after her passing.”

Nigel first met Thurl when fellow photographer Ian ‘Soapy’ Watson, invited him on a run-ashore to Guildford’s Queen Elizabeth Army Barracks, where ‘Soapy’ had arranged to meet a WRAC from his home town of Liverpool. At the time the two naval airmen were serving on Portsmouth-based HMS Victorious during the carrier’s first commission following its seven-year rebuild.

“I met Thurl that night and that was it… but there was a problem,” said Nigel. “She planned to serve with the WRAC for three years and then leave the UK for Australia, but I begged her not to go.”

The couple were married on 27th June 1959 in Thurl’s home town of Melton, Suffolk, and they subsequently had three children, daughter Christina, son Richard who tragically died in 2007 aged 46, and Angela, born in Malta while Nigel was serving at RNAS Hal Far. The extended family includes nine grandchildren and a further nine great grandchildren.

“Thurl was an avid reader with broad interests, and she always had two or three books on the go at any one time,” said Nigel. “She taught all the kids and grandchildren to read, and enjoyed introducing them to literature.”

The funeral took place at St John The Baptist Church, Felixstowe, on Friday, 24th July 2020,  followed by interment at Felixstowe Cemetery. Only close family attended due to Covid-19 restrictions.


Leave a Reply