Norman Charles Craig, a Marine who fought in the Korean War, died in his sleep Monday at his West Baltimore home. He was 73. Born and raised in West Baltimore, Mr. Craig graduated in 1949 from Frederick Douglass High School, where he had been a member of the school's boxing team.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1951 and, after completing basic training, was sent into combat with the 1st Marine Division in Korea.
During his tenure in Korea, Mr. Craig participated in some of the most furious fighting of the war, including the assault on Pork Chop Hill.
"After serving his first tour of duty and having seen his share of fierce, front-line battle, he re-enlisted for an additional tour," said Randall J. Craig Jr., a nephew and attorney who lives in Glen Arm.
"He had spent 13 months in combat and really talked very little about it. It was, I think, kind of emotional, and he just wouldn't talk about what he'd been through," said his brother, Randall J. Craig Sr. of Columbia.
He was discharged with the rank of corporal, and his decorations included the Korean Service Medal with three stars and the United Nations Service Medal.
"When he came out of the service, he was suffering from seizures and hospitalized. He later was diagnosed with epilepsy," his brother said.
Mr. Craig later transferred to the Marine Corps Reserves, where he served until 1959.
Because of his medical condition, Mr. Craig was unable to work.
"He was a very gentle, very bright and outstanding man," his brother said.
Mr. Craig essentially was a homebody, indulging his passion for reading. He also liked watching boxing on TV and visiting his neighbors.
"Norman was an avid reader and loved people -- all people. He was generous with all that he had," his nephew said. "He was extremely sociable and possessed a charm that would brighten anyone's day. He never complained."
Joan Davis-Fields, a niece who lives in Catonsville, recalled his love of books.
"He was a real history buff and also liked learning about the background of words," she said.
"The one thing he was always proud of was being a Marine and having served. He was saying that right up until the end of his life," his brother said.
Mr. Craig was a lifelong member of Mount Olivet Christian Church.
Services for Mr. Craig will be held at noon Tuesday at the Albert P. Wylie Funeral Home, 638 N. Gilmor St.
In addition to his brother, Mr. Craig is survived by many nieces and nephews.