CAPE ELIZABETH - John Kent Craford, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, died March 16, 2019.
He was born Dec. 5,1945, to Magnus and Mae (Mandernach) Craford of Onawa, Iowa. At 14, John left Onawa alone, by train for Andover, Mass. He had won a DesMoines Register Scholarship to Phillips Academy. After graduating from Andover, he attended Harvard University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (East Asian Studies). In 1973, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a J.D.The summer after graduating from law school he drove his old VW to Lewiston, Maine, showing up unannounced at Hathaway's office to volunteer for Hathaways Senate campaign. After a successful campaign he was hired by the Senator to work in D.C. as the Senate Finance Committee staffer.Some years later, John returned to Maine to work as deputy director of Maine State Housing Authority. He spent the rest of his professional career working in finance. He retired as chief financial offficer of the Connecticut Housing Finance Agency in 2013.
John loved rowing, which he was introduced to at Andover and which he continued at Harvard (except for the summer he chose to travel throughout Southeast Asia with the Harvard Glee Club) and throughout his adult life up to and including last summer.Another love was acting, while in Connecticut, he played Jake in Neil Simon's "Jakes Women", the Mayor in Lynn Sieferts "Little Egypt", Baptista in Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew", The Brother in Ira Levin's "Veronica's Room", Lawrence in Christopher Durang's "For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls", Steve II in Andrew Black's "A Small Fishing Village Wedged Between Estonia and Latvia", among other roles and various roles in improv theatre. He also played Mark Twain in a one man show in Elmira, N.Y. After retiring, he sought out opportunities in Maine, playing in several Portfringe productions, Dr. Milton Jennisen in "The Secret of Comedy", Giles Corey in Arthur Miller's :The Crucible". His last performance was as Ruckly from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", on Feb. 10, 2019. John wrote: " Having retired from my day job, I am happy to be an actor instead of an impostor."Always quick witted, irreverent, funny, unpretentious, he loved people, he loved his life and he loved an audience, be it in line at Hannaford, or in his hospital room.John's interest were wide ranging. He loved language, Shakespeare, politics, the mountains of New England and being on a river in the early morning. He was a serious student of American history, particularly the Civil War. Vacations were road trips throughout the U.S. and Canada visiting historic battlefields and art museums.
John is survived by his wife of 35 years, Sharon Mitchell; his son, Dr. JP Craford and his wife, Dr. Alexis (Lawrence) Craford and their children, Milo and Henry of Providence, R.I.; his stepdaughters, Kristina Lunner of Chicago, Ill., and Kimberly Doyon and her husband, Peter Doyon, and their children, Ella and Jack of Cape Elizabeth; his brother, George Craford and his wife, Carol, of San Francisco, Calif.; and his sister, Roseanne Kane and her husband Stephen of Silver Spring, Md.
A memorial gathering will be held on May 18, 2019, at 11 a.m., at the Spurwink Church in Cape Elizabeth.