Thomas More Cracraft J.D. ’75 died Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, after many years of debilitating illness. He was 71 years old. Tom was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minn., the second of five children of John and Carol Cracraft. He had a typical Midwestern upbringing, playing hockey with his friends; pulling pranks with his older brother, Jim; and working on cars. He attended Incarnation Grammar School and De La Salle High School, graduating in 1958. He then attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in mathematics. Before finishing, he took a break to join the United States Marines and served in the reserves for six years. Also during his college years, Tom initiated the first foreign escapade of an adventurous life – he and a pal went down to Cuba during the Cuban Revolution and were briefly imprisoned, before being released and returning to the United States. Perhaps this encounter with a foreign culture inspired him to seek out more, because soon after graduating from college Tom joined the Peace Corps. This experience changed him in more ways than one, because it was through his Peace Corps experience that he met his wife, Suzanne. The two connected at Columbia University during their orientation; they were then both posted to schools near each other in Eastern Nigeria. Tom courted Suzanne during their teaching stints, eventually marrying her in April 1964, and having their first child, a son named Kevin, in March 1965. Tom, Suzanne and Kevin returned to the U.S. in 1965, and settled in San Jose, Suzanne’s home town. Tom soon found that his expertise in mathematics and problem-solving was in high demand among technology companies in the nascent Silicon Valley. He quickly found a job as a systems analyst; and after a few years, he and some friends started their own computer programming company, selling their expertise to the U.S. government. One contract led him to work in Vietnam during the Vietnam War; Tom moved his family, which now included a daughter, Cristin (born in 1967), to Hawaii to be closer to them during his time in Vietnam. The family returned to San Jose and Tom continued technology consulting. To gain more expertise in the legal aspects of operating a business, he began studying for a law degree at Santa Clara University, graduating in 1974. Tom’s most successful venture was another company he joined with founder/partner Frank Greene, called Technology Development Corporation. This company grew to include several hundred employees during the 1970s and 1980s, expanding to include operations in Santa Clara and Arlington, Texas. Eventually, the maturation of the business led Tom, Suzanne and their daughter Carolyn (born in 1977) to move to Dallas, Texas. Tom finished his career in San Francisco, serving as CFO for the game company University Games. He and Suzanne settled in Tiburon, and, after a stroke ended his career prematurely, he and Suzanne moved to Sonoma. Tom’s enthusiasms were many and memorable. Since his teens he had a passion for cars, especially fast cars; throughout his adult life, he owned a succession of Mercedes-Benz and Corvettes. In the early 1980s, it was New Orleans cooking (inspired by Paul Prudhomme’s masterly first cookbook) and piano (he took the first music lessons of his life). Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, it was wine, specifically fine California wine from the Napa Valley; he and Suzanne took many trips to Napa, returning with premium wines from all the great wineries. In the late 1980s, after the move to Dallas, Tom developed a fascination with horses and show-jumping that continued for many years, until a leg injury took him out of competition. And travel. Places that Tom visited include, Cuba, Nigeria, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Egypt, Israel, Greece, England, Ireland, Singapore, Tokyo and much of the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. But Tom’s greatest passion was reserved for his family. He was a devoted husband and father and a favorite relative of both his family and Suzanne’s; he was the ""rock"" that many depended on. He was wise, compassionate and generous with all his relatives and friends. He had the unique ability to love someone in spite of their flaws and shortcomings, and to believe in them even when they did not believe in themselves. Yet he combined his belief with a strong realism that led him to accept the imperfections we all have with grace, and often humor. For many years he was the center that, eventually and inevitably, could no longer hold. Even during the long years of illness, Tom continued to delight in the exploits of family and friends. Nothing brought him more happiness that visiting with family, or spending time with his children and grandchildren. He loved watching his grandchildren’s sporting events and always looked forward to any family gatherings. He bore his illness with tremendous courage and patience. Tom is survived by his wife of 47 years, Suzanne; his children, Kevin (and Michele); Cristin (and Chris); and Carolyn (and John); his grandchildren, Nora, Tommy and Gemma; and his brother, Jim (and Nancy); sister, Sarah (and Chuck); and sister, Mary. He begins another journey, now, and we will miss him. But in life we will remember him: One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. 

08 Nov 2018