Wendell LaRue ‘Windy’ Craig, son of Thomas Stuart and Doris (Dunbar) Craig, died on July 12, 2020, at his home in New York City. He was 80 years old. Wendell was born in Elmira, New York, and grew up in a house that his father and grandfather built in Big Pond, Pennsylvania. As a child he attended the two-room schoolhouse just up the road from his home, and he was a delivery boy for the Elmira Star Gazette. He was a 1958 graduate of Troy High School, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Syracuse University in 1962.
With his first wife, Sarah (Crumbling) Ransom, he had two sons, Jeff and Brad, both of New York City, New York. With his second wife, Nancy Good, he had a daughter, Joanna, of Medford, Massachusetts. He had one granddaughter, Kira Webb-Craig, of West Palm Beach, Florida. All survive him.
Wendell is also survived by four siblings, Connie (Gary) Tiffany of Hudson, North Carolina, Jim (Connie) of Towanda, Pennsylvania, Ben (Donna) of Herrickville, Pennsylvania, and Laurie Madsen of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Wendell won a guest disc jockey contest at WATS in Sayre, Pennsylvania, in his senior year in high school which inspired him to change his major from Engineering to Radio and Television. He worked at Syracuse University radio station WAER, and after graduation he was a popular DJ in Ithaca and Syracuse, where he was known as the “Weird Beard” at radio station WOLF. He set a world record for riding the Ferris Wheel at Suburban Park in Manlius, New York, stepping off the wheel after 183 hours at 4:02 p.m. on Sept. 6, 1964.
Wendell moved to New York City in 1966 and began producing trailers and advertisements for motion pictures. He opened his own commercial production house, Wendell L. Craig, Inc, and worked with major advertising agencies to produce award-winning ad campaigns. As his career progressed he became a voice-over artist and worked on national advertising campaigns including Maxwell House and Mercedes Benz. He appeared on Saturday Night Live several times, including the first episode in 1975. He was the voice of the Nickelodeon channel in its early years from 1988-1993. At his death he had been the staff announcer for CBS News for 25 years.
Wendell was a dedicated board member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which later merged with the Screen Actors Guild to become SAG-AFTRA. He was a lifelong technology enthusiast and early-adopter and never stopped thinking like an engineer. Starting with radios in his youth, he taught himself over the years to use a wide range of cameras, audio and video equipment, and computers running his favorite operating system, Linux. He loved cooking and especially baking bread.
Interment will take place at 12 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Big Pond Cemetery in Big Pond, Pennsylvania, followed by a gathering of remembrance at 2 p.m. Family and friends are welcome. All who attend are asked to observe the state mask-wearing order.
Those wishing to make a donation in Wendell’s memory are asked to contribute to the Applied Mesothelioma Research Foundation at curemeso.org.