Anita Craig

April 6, 1950 ~ July 18, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old


Anita Frances Craig was born at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana to Pearl Smothers and Titus Royal on April 6, 1950. Anita was the third oldest of ten children. Anita grew up in nearby New Sarpy, Louisiana in the home of a caring grandmother, Rosalie Smothers. She completed her early education at Pecan Grove Elementary School in Destrehan, Louisiana. Always a high achiever, Anita graduated as Valedictorian from Mary McLeod Bethune High School in 1968.

Anita grew up in church. She was in Church all the time! Grandmother Rosalie Smothers took Anita to church every Sunday morning, every Wednesday night for Prayer meeting, Bible Study on Tuesday night, Youth Choir Rehearsal, 3 PM Sunday program services, where she was often on the program to recite Psalms 121, and B.T.U. (Baptist Training Union). She accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior in June 1963 and was baptized at St. Matthew Baptist Church by then Pastor Hilton Mitchell.

During her childhood, Grandmother Rosalie strongly encouraged Anita to take piano lessons but after several years, she admitted that even after learning to read music, the only song she could remember playing by heart was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus!”

Anita received an academic scholarship to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She graduated in 1972, earning high honors and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration.

While attending Southern University, Anita was invited to join Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA). She was so excited to become a member of this historic organization dedicated to high scholastic achievement, ethical standards, whose mission is to be of service to all mankind. Anita was proud to wear the AKA Badge and the Sorority’s “Salmon Pink and Apple Green” colors. She even chose her beloved colors for her wedding and also complete pink and green decorated rooms in her homes over the years.

Anita’s mother, Pearl Smothers Mashia, along with her nine brothers and sisters had migrated to Portland, Oregon while Anita furthered her education in Louisiana. However each summer, Anita would excitedly jump on a plane to Portland, Oregon, to work at “the Phone Company.” She loved being reunited with all her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and creating beautiful memories with everyone.

It was at that place of employment, “the Phone Company,” in May 1968 that Anita first laid eyes on Donovan Craig! They were in the same New Hires Orientation Class. Anita became a part of the management team at Pacific NW Bell and they worked in the same building for years.  Around the house, most of Anita’s conversations were peppered with observations about her new boyfriend: Don! The two quickly became inseparable. After a very long courtship, Anita and Donovan were united in Holy Matrimony on July 18, 1981. To this union, God blessed them with a wonderful daughter, Catrece and loving son, Donovan, Jr. (Donnie, Jr.).

Anita cherished the roles of Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, always devoted to providing for all of them. Her virtues of patience, respect, wisdom, selflessness, nurturing, caring and unconditional love were unparalleled. Anita was committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where her children and grandchildren could thrive and grow. Anita always assured that her family felt loved, valued and respected.

After moving permanently to Portland in 1972, Anita joined New Hope Missionary Church under the pastorship of Rev. A. Bernard Devers. There Anita served on Usher Board #3 and on several committees. Soon after marrying Don, Anita left New Hope to be a united Craig family worshipping together at Mt. Olivet. Anita immediately got involved, serving in the BBW Ministry, Cell Group Leader for two Cell Groups and Pastor’s Anniversary Committee. She was so honored when she and Donovan were ordained as Deacon and Deaconess! However, their greatest joy in church service was their establishment and Leadership of the OASIS Ministry (Older Adults Still in Service). For over 20 years, the OASIS Ministry has served hundreds of Mt. Olivet seniors. During these 20+ years, Anita and Donovan were treasured and will be treasured forever for their leadership and the everlasting bonds that they created with Mt. Olivet seniors.

Anita was employed at the ‘phone company’ (Pacific NW Bell, US West, Qwest Communications) for thirty years. After accepting a buy-out, she worked at Portland Community College in Human Resources until retiring in December 2019. She was a model manager, possessed exemplary leadership skills, was a team player, a motivator and always professional.

One of Anita’s favorite places to visit was always the Oregon Coast, specifically Lincoln City! It was oh, so special for family gatherings. One tradition was a BBQ on the 4th of July at home followed by a fun-filled trip to the Oregon Coast.

Don and Anita began the tradition of taking their nieces and nephews to the coast years before they had children of their own! They would pile the youngest to the oldest into Don’s classic green Buick Riviera and later his gray Buick Riviera and hit the road to the Oregon Coast many weekends for fun building sand castles, playing in the pool and watching movies.

Once Catrece and Donnie Jr. were born, Anita and Don added them to all the fun. Then grandchildren came along and joined too. The agenda included visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not Wax Museum, the Newport Aquarium and always the first stop at Barnacle Bill’s to grab fresh crab and smoked salmon! Dining at Kyllo’s Seafood and Grill also became a ‘must-go-to’ restaurant, so much so that the owners knew the Craig family by name. Once, Anita even helped to secure a reservation for 45 guests at Kyllo’s to celebrate her Mother’s Birthday!

The Craig home was inviting and filled with love and warmth. There was always room at the table for one more! They had favorite movies that they watched repeatedly together so much that Catrece, Donnie, Jr. and all of their cousins memorized scenes from The Wiz, The Five Heartbeats and The Temptations to name a few! Anita and Don had them watching these Black movie classics along with Alex Haley’s Roots, Sparkle and more. Anita also often cozied up with a box of Kleenex to watch one of her all-time favorite movies, the tear-jerker movie, Imitation of Life.

For many years, the Craig home was the place to play Bunco, the card game Guts and of course, Bid Whist. Let’s not forget what an avid sports fan Anita was! From being Donnie, Jr.’s #1 fan throughout his many years of playing sports to cheering on her favorite professional teams. She would get so worked up if her New Orleans Saints football team would lose a game (which they did often!) and would literally scream at the TV when the receiver missed a pass! Football and Basketball were her favorite sports to watch on TV. Anita and Don were consummate old school music fans, especially enjoying the Chi-Lites, the Temptations and gospel artists James Cleveland and Shirley Caesar.

Anita was truly a Southerner, always enjoying the annual New Year’s Day meal, believed to bring good luck in the coming year, consisting of chitterlings (cooked by Don), cabbage, cornbread and black-eyed peas. She also loved pickled okra! And many family members teased her about her love of eating pickled pig feet, ears and lips! And we cannot forget to mention her famous, loved, delicious neckbones and potato salad too! Her perfectly seasoned neckbones will live on, cooked by Catrece and other family members who have perfected the recipe.

Two of Anita’s most favorite annual occasions that she never ever missed were one, the broadcast of the Bayou Classics Football game of rivalry between her alma mater Southern University and Grambling State University. And second, The Sisters’ Holiday Fried Chicken and Waffles Brunch with all of her sisters and Mother Pearl at her Sister Pearl’s home.

God blessed Anita with three grandchildren who she absolutely adored! Granddaughter Alexis and grandsons Teron and Davon brought oh so much joy to her life! She lit up talking about them and smiled from ear to ear in their presence. Even in the final days of her life, when they came into her room, she greeted them with her warm smile and outstretched arms, wrapping them in a tight embrace, sharing the love only known between a grandparent and grandchild.

When COVID prevented in-person church attendance, Anita would arise early and worship virtually online with cousins Pastor Robert Blake and Pastor Sam Blake in New Orleans, next she tuned into Mt. Olivet, then New Hope and last Northeast Community Fellowship Foursquare.  She was back in church all day again!

While Anita was in hospice care and after being allowed to eat anything of her choice, she promptly requested her favorite meal wishes – red beans and rice, gumbo, fried catfish, Joanie’s pecan pralines, pickles and greens and cornbread. Many family members immediately went home, cooked her requests with lots of love and delivered them to her. Each were absolutely honored to be able to fulfill her requests.

Anita fought a valiant fight against sarcoidosis disease that attacked her liver and most recently, her kidneys.  But even after being placed in hospice care, she visited with many family and friends in person, on the phone and virtually in Zoom rooms. She laughed and reminisced with Aunt Myrtle and numerous cousins in New Orleans and New Sarpy, Louisiana. Her faith remained strong and she would say, “I know God is in control and when I leave here, I’m going to my Heavenly Home.” So on early Tuesday morning, at 2 AM, July 18th, 2023, God called her name and Anita heard Him, answered and went home to be with her Lord and Savior. This significant date was also she and Donovan Craig’s 42nd Wedding Anniversary! How symbolic of the endless, timeless love shared between Anita and the love of her life!

It must be stated that Anita and Don were two peas in a pod. They were always together! When you saw one, you saw the other and often times you saw them in color coordinated outfits. Just three years ago, after a brief illness, Don went home to be with the Lord. Anita was of course devastated and broken hearted. But last week, on their wedding anniversary they reunited, forever.

Anita leaves to cherish her precious memory: Daughter, Catrece Craig, Son, Donovan Craig, Jr. (Milus), Granddaughter, Alexis Craig, Grandsons; Teron Craig-Caldwell and Davon Craig. Siblings Pearl Thomas, Donna Jean Harris (Antonio), Rose Mashia Jones, Adam James Mashia, Jr. (Joanie), Lucy Mashia, Eric Mashia (Magdalene), Linda Mashia-Jones, Ava Mashia, all of Portland, and Lance Mashia (Charlene) in Denver, Colorado. She is also survived by siblings Joana Rogers, James “Bunny” Royal (Sandra), Connie Carter (Eddie) of St. Rose, Louisiana; Lionel Royal (Geraldine) of Houston, Texas; Sister-in-law Valerie Morris (Charles), Brothers-in-law: Ron Craig, Walter Craig (Julie), all of Portland, Oregon; her Aunt Myrtle Smothers, New Sarpy, Louisiana. Also godchildren Gary Young, Tanara Young, ‘adopted son’ Joe Manning (Jamille); and best friends, Bill and Cheryl Cooksey; and best friend since first grade, Deborah Madere. Also left to mourn her passing are many, many nieces and nephews, numerous cousins and adored friends.

Preceding Anita in death include the Love of her life, husband Donovan Craig Sr., grandson Jackson Craig-Baker, Mother Pearl Smothers Mashia, father Titus Royal, Grandmother Rosalie Smothers, mother-in-law Dian Jackson, father-in-laws Walter Craig and Rev. John H. Jackson, sister Joyce Harris, brother Ronald Royal, brother-in-law Willie Thomas, Sr., sister-in-law Cynthia Craig and nephews Leonard "L..J.” Irving II and Adam Mashia III.

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Public Viewing
July 28, 2023

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Terry Family Funeral Home
2337 N. Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227

Celebration of Life
July 31, 2023

11:00 AM
Mt. Olivet Baptist Church
8501 N Chautauqua Blvd.
Portland, OR 97217


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