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Saline County mourns Roger Craig Craig:.

Byline: Travis DeNeal

SALINE COUNTY -- Friends say they will remember Roger Craig for his zest for life, his determination and his willingness to help others.

Craig, 57, who was elected Saline County Clerk on Nov. 6 and was a former county board member, died at 7:55 a.m. Wednesday at his home in Harrisburg.

"It's a loss to the community," longtime friend Kerry Camp of Harrisburg said. "I have recollections of going to Current River with him. There was a core group of us who went for 20 years in a row when we were young. We all enjoyed bonding, doing some wilderness camping. We haven't been able to do that the last few years."

Craig was known for his work on the county board and with the Harrisburg Elks Lodge, as well as being a top tire salesman at two local tire companies.

He also was a legendary Monopoly player, and no exaggeration to say he was world class.

In 1995, Craig became the U.S. Monopoly Champion in a nationwide tournament held by board game manufacturer Parker Brothers on the 80th

floor of the Empire State Building in New York City.

The win earned him an invitation to the World Monopoly Tournament in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 1996, where he took fourth-place honors.

He instantly became the darling of national media outlets, including Sports Illustrated, CBS, CNN, the New York Times and the Associated Press, all wanting to know more about the man who turned playing a board game into an art form.

(Read Sports Illustrated's piece at ly-is-serious-business-for-tire-salesman-roger-craig-the-us-champion).

"What impressed me about Roger was his competitiveness," Camp said. "Monopoly sort of showed that. People think Monopoly is just luck because you roll the dice, but he won and won and won. He almost always won. And he took that strength and applied it to his work and life."

That included his time on the Saline County Board, where he was always among the top vote-getters.

His personal drive didn't stop at winning elections, says county board chairman and another longtime friend Jay Williams.

"Roger was probably one of the hardest working board members I've worked with," Williams said. "If you wanted something done, you always called Roger. Roger would dig in and get it done."

Williams said Craig was an active member of several county committees, and took pride as chairman of the road and bridge committee.

"He did a great job there. The taxpayers of Saline County lost a tremendous board member when he was elected as county clerk, and now we've lost a tremendous person," Williams said.

"He was a friend. I've known Roger most of my life. I'll miss him. It hurts when you lose a friend."

Camp, who, like Craig belongs to the Harrisburg Elks Lodge, said Craig was committed to helping the community through the organization.

"He was Exalted Ruler three different times. That shows right there what kind of dedication he had to the Elks," Camp said.

Like Williams, Camp said he will miss his friend.

"We'll miss Roger. It's a loss to the community," Camp said. "I hate it for the family, especially. His wife Genny, his daughter Mikayla and his brother David all lost someone very special."

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Dec 14, 2018
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