MADISON - William Alexander Craig, MD, made a really good run at beating another medical challenge but on March 11, 2015, at age 75, he died peacefully at UW Hospital surrounded by his beloved family, from complications of treatment for lymphoma. It is hard to convey how sad we are, and how much we loved him.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Judy; son, Bruce A. Craig (Jennifer Cominetti-Craig) of Indiana; daughter, Lisa Castiglia (Rick) of Colorado; and grandchildren, Kianna and Jackson Castiglia and Alexandra and Samuel Craig.
Bill was born in Arkansas City, Kan., on Nov. 28, 1939, to John A. and Beulah Ellen Craig. His father was the pastor of the First Baptist Church in "Ark" City; Bill spent his young childhood there but also lived in California and Florida while his father was a Navy Chaplain during World War II. The family relocated to Milwaukee, where John directed the Milwaukee Christian Center, a downtown youth center. His mother, Beulah, died of leukemia in 1952. John later married Dorothy Shimp, who had been a student at Ottawa University, Kan., along with both John and Beulah. Bill grew up with three parents dedicated to Christian education, racial equality, and social justice. This home background had a strong impact on him.
Bill graduated from Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam in 1957; Haverford College (1961) in Pa.; and Tufts Medical School (Alpha Omega Alpha, in 1965) in Boston, Mass. Influenced by his mother's illness, he knew he wanted to be a doctor, but at Haverford (a small Quaker liberal arts men's college) he majored in mathematics because taking a pre-med course would require him to spend too much time in laboratories. This is ironic given his distinguished laboratory career. At Haverford he met Judy, who was a year behind him at Bryn Mawr College, a nearby women's college. They connected while finding a scarce TV to watch the Kennedy-Nixon debates, and later at a Christmas caroling party at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. They married after Bill's first year of medical school. Following his graduation they moved to Madison, where Bill completed his internship and one year of internal medicine residency then entered the service (U.S. Army) as most physicians did during the Vietnam Era. Bruce was born in Madison shortly before the family was sent to Germany for a three-year tour; Lisa was born at Landstuhl Army Medical Center a year before they returned to the U.S. He left the Army as a Major, receiving the Army Commendation Medal.
In 1970, Bill returned to the UW to complete his medical residency in internal medicine and then a fellowship in the newly emerging specialty of infectious diseases. He joined the UW faculty in 1973, as a founding member of the new infectious disease division. Appointed jointly at the Madison VA Hospital, he served as chief of infectious diseases and associate chief of staff for education at the VA; he was also program director for the UW Internal Medicine Residency. He was central to the development of a new field of study, antimicrobial pharmacodynamics. He loved students at all levels, and was honored to receive teaching awards from both house staff and medical students. Training and mentoring scientists, especially introducing them to the fascinations of the ID field, was something he truly loved. He developed a far-flung international family of former fellows, and held visiting faculty appointments all over the world. After he became an emeritus professor in 2005, he continued to be active in ID, consulting on service and holding an outpatient clinic one day a week, his last this past January.
His passion for developing new methods of dosing antibiotics, and for testing development of new antibiotics, has been recognized by the Garrod Medal from the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the Hamoa Umezawa Award from the International Society of Chemotherapy, the Bristol Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, The Paul Ehrlich Magic-Bullet Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Sanofi-Adventis Award from the American Academy of Microbiology. In 2011, he was honored to receive The Haverford Award for Service to Humanity. He relished the six years he spent on the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC), serving as a committee member, vice chair, and chair.
Bill also had a passion for UW athletics. In 2014, he and Judy held season tickets for football, volleyball, and both women's and men's basketball, and had just relinquished men's hockey in order to have a slightly less hectic schedule. He loved music of all kinds, from doo-wop to classical and opera, and has loved driving down to West Lafayette, Ind., three times a year to attend youth concerts of his grandson. He and Judy attended Madison Symphony concerts, most of the hilltop APT plays, and many offerings at Overture Center. Somehow he also found time to travel extensively and to often bicycle a 22-mile circuit around Green Lake, where they have a vacation home. He is a longtime member of First Baptist Church, Madison, and has served on many of its boards and committees. Since 2006, he and Judy have lived at Oakwood Village University Woods, an arrangement they greatly enjoyed.
A Memorial Service will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, 518 N. Franklin Ave., Madison.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials in his honor be made to Pioneers in Infectious Disease Endowment Fund at the UW Foundation, First Baptist Church, American Players Theatre, or to another organization of your choice, especially those supporting racial equality and social justice.
Please share your memories at www.CressFuneralService.com.