STURGIS | Craig Shaver was born June 16, 1945, in Mankato, MN, to Victor and Emma (Carlson) Shaver. He was nicknamed “Butch” as a boy, and his family called him Butch all his life. Until Craig was 12, his family farmed in Good Thunder and St. Clair. The family moved to Northfield in 1957, where Victor and Emma bought and managed the bowling alley.
In 1961, Craig began dating Patricia Solum, a fellow student at Northfield High School. They graduated in 1963. After completing six months of training with the National Guard, Craig attended Winona State University and the University of Minnesota and later completed a bachelor’s degree in social science from St. Cloud State University in 1970.
Craig and Pat were married on July 3, 1965, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield. They moved to Minneapolis where he worked in a chemistry laboratory while she finished college. Craig’s father told him that because he was very skilled with his hands and tools, he would always be able to make a good living. Craig and Pat moved to St. Cloud in 1967. Craig worked at his brother’s auto glass shop before starting his own repair business, and in 1976 he bought the auto glass shop (Central Glass Company) and owned and managed it until 1991. His mother, Emma, was the shop’s bookkeeper.
Craig and Pat raised their son, Aaron, and daughter, Marianne, in St. Cloud. The family enjoyed weekends and summer vacations in the outdoors, traveling around the Midwest and beyond, including frequent visits to a much-loved cabin in northern Minnesota. Craig was a competitive enduro rider (long-distance off-road motorcycle racing), and he and his family and friends also enjoyed camping, boating, fishing, snowmobiling, and road trips on Harleys. For eight years the family lived on the Mississippi River just north of St. Cloud, boating there and elsewhere on Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.
In 1996, Craig and Pat moved to Sturgis, SD, to a hobby ranch in the foothills of their beloved Black Hills, one of their favorite vacation destinations. They raised a few beef cattle and grew corn, beans, potatoes, apples, and more in their garden. Craig loved living in the country again, remembering fondly his childhood on the farm. He mended fences, sprayed weeds, kept the water tanks filled, and maintained the vehicles and equipment needed to operate a small ranch. He enjoyed being part of the ranching community, was involved in county planning, and served as a Meade County commissioner for two years.
Craig and Pat continued to ride motorcycles and snowmobiles throughout the Black Hills with friends and family, and also enjoyed trout fishing, hunting, and exploring quiet back roads filled with the Hills’ fascinating history. They frequently traveled via RV (with motorcycles in tow) to other favorite destinations, such as the Bighorn Mountains and southern Arizona, and often visited family and friends in Minnesota. Over the years, Craig and Pat shared their home with three wonderful dogs and one insistent cat.
Craig valued his church family and was active in recreation, ranching, and agricultural groups. He was a member of the River Valley Enduro Riders, the St. Cloud Harley Owners Group, the Benton County Snowmobile Club, the Sturgis Sno-Drifters, the South Dakota StockGrowers Association, and the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF USA).
Craig was a man of integrity and an active advocate of personal liberty and property rights who believed in the value of hard work and personal responsibility. One of his favorite mottoes was “Measure twice, cut once.” Craig never compromised on his principles, and he shared unconditional love with his family. He loved time spent with family and friends, when hours would pass in good conversation or card games. He also enjoyed teaching his children and later his grandchildren how to ride motorcycles and how to hunt and fish, sharing with them his love for the outdoors.
Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Pat; two children, Aaron (Pam) of Plymouth, MN, and Marianne Guiliano (Mike) of Brooklyn, NY; two grandchildren, Ellie and Tessa Shaver; sister, Allene Moesler (Guenther) of Cannon Falls, MN; brother, Kevin of Minneapolis; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives; and countless good friends.
Craig passed away peacefully, but too soon, on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, due to complications following a stroke. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Gary; and several close friends.
Arrangements are with Kinkade Funeral Chapel of Sturgis (1235 Junction Ave.), with visitation there from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the United Methodist Church (1755 Ballpark Road), with visitation at the church one hour prior to services. Inurnment will be at Bear Butte Cemetery.
A Celebration of Life gathering will take place from 1-4 p.m. CDT on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Highway 55, Medina, MN.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Cornerstone Rescue Mission of Rapid City (cornerstonemission.org); the United Stockgrowers of America Foundation for Research, Education, and Endowment (usafree.org); the Campaign for Liberty (campaignforliberty.org); or a charity of your choice.