Clifford Justin Craft III


Clifford Justin Craft III died on Saturday in Newport Beach. He was 82. At the time of his death, Craft was under the care of his family aided by Vitas Hospice.

Craft was born on Jan. 6, 1925 in Philadelphia. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in August 1942, and after boot camp training was placed in the Navy V-12 College Training Program. In February 1946, he graduated from the University of Michigan, was commissioned a second lieutenant and honorably discharged. Craft was placed in the Marine Corps Reserve and promoted to first lieutenant on Feb. 28, 1949. He went on to earn an MSE from Michigan in 1949, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1954, a master’s degree in accounting from USC and a doctorate, also from USC, in 1984.

Craft was a professor of accounting at Cal State Los Angeles from 1973 to 1997, when he retired as an emeritus professor. He also worked in pilot training for Northrop Corp. from 1974 to 1990.

Craft was a descendant of George Payne, who served in the Continental Army in the Maryland Regiment under Col. John Gunby from April 1778 to July 1779. Payne fought in the battle at White Plains in September 1778. The Maryland “troops of the line” won special praise from Gen. George Washington.

Craft is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carolyn; his brothers, John and Jim and sister, Lois Dunlap. He was predeceased by his sister, Ruth Spaulding. Other survivors include his children, Carol Abrams (Gerard), Jeannie Craft, Geri Frazier (Mark), John Craft (Katherine), Dorette Wilfley (Mark) and Teresa Catherine Dancer (Mark); 16 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

A longtime resident of Malibu and congregant at Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church, a memorial liturgy celebrating Craft’s life will be announced later to take place at the church.