Buddy Ball honors Craft’s memory with civic donations

Pictured is Laura Ann Smith (holding check) received a monetary donation for the Presbyterian Church of Ruston from Buddy Ball of Ruston in memory of the late Mike Craft. Craft’s family surrounds Smith in the picture. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

The late Michael Craft of Ruston was a builder — a certified mold maker and accomplished machinist.

He was even better at building relationships.

Craft passed away on Dec. 28 after brief battle with COVID-19 at the age of 82, but left a legacy that will be long lasting in Lincoln Parish.

He was a founding member of the local Buddy Ball organization in Ruston. A lifelong baseball player, coach and fan, Craft thoroughly enjoyed participating as a player in the Philadelphia Phillies Phantasy Camp Dream Week at age 60.

On Saturday, Buddy Ball of Ruston remembered one of the architects of so many dreams for Lincoln Parish youth in a ceremony honoring craft at the Buddy Ball Field at the Ruston Sports Complex.

Craft’s family was on hand as $500 checks were donated to both the Ruston Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Children’s Home in Craft’s name.

He served as a deacon and elder and in leadership roles on the Session for several terms at Ruston Presbyterian Church and was a past member of the Ruston Jaycees, having served as president and also chairman of the local international exchange student program.

Craft was a past member of the Ruston City Council as well as the Ruston Moose Lodge, and was a Mason in Laurens, South Carolina, as well as Ruston.

His family, including wife Yvonne, son Doug and his wife Carren, and daughter Renee and her daughter Lyndy were on hand during the ceremony honoring Craft.

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