The Rev. Essiah Craig, 79, baker, Baptist minister

October 11, 2004

The Rev. Essiah W. Craig, a former baker who established and served as pastor of Messiah Baptist Church, died of a heart attack Oct. 4 at Northwest Hospital Center. He was 79 and a Randallstown resident.

Mr. Craig was born and raised in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from high school. During World War II, he joined the merchant marine and served as a baker aboard Liberty ships in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

After the war, he and his wife, the former Lue Ellis Gandy, whom he married in 1943, opened a restaurant and bakery in Mobile.

The couple moved to Baltimore in 1948 and established Craig's Bakery on North Avenue. He later worked for Silber's Bakery, Western Electric Corp., the Social Security Administration and the Great Oaks Center in Silver Spring. He retired in 1985.

He was a member of Mount Hebron Baptist Church for 30 years and served as a church trustee for seven years.

Mr. Craig was licensed and ordained as a Baptist minister in 1982, family members said. After working as a pastor at New Light Baptist Church for several months, he founded Messiah Baptist Church, where he was pastor at his death.

Mr. Craig was a history buff. He was particularly interested in Egyptology and had a large library devoted to the subject.

He was a member of Prince Hall Lodge of the Masons.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Greater New Hope Baptist Church, 2720 W. North Ave.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Craig is survived by a son, Arcell Wade Craig Sr. of Randallstown; two daughters, Brenetta Ellis of Owings Mills and Iris Craig-Bailey of Leesburg, Va.; a brother, Isaac Craig of Mobile; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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