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Thomas Louis Cracas

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Thomas Louis Cracas, passed away peacefully March 4, 2024, holding the hand of a loved one. He was 88 years old.

Born Oct. 7, 1935, to Hilda Mabel (Williams) and Louis Joseph Cracas in Teaneck, N.J. he spent most of his childhood in Oradell, N.J. where he graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in 1953.

He joined the U.S. Air Force later that fall, prior to his 18th birthday and was stationed in Greenland until his honorable discharge in 1957, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

Following his service, he enrolled in Brown University on the GI Bill, graduating in 1961 with a BA in Greek and Latin – his springboard to a lifelong career as a high school Latin teacher and coach.

During his time at Brown, he met Karen Marie (Kay) Jarratt, marrying her in June 1959.

He began his career at Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., and within a few years moved on to Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J. In 1967 Tom, Kay and their two sons, Tod and Scott, relocated to Skiff Mountain when he took a job as a teacher and coach at Kent School. The family remained there for the next 32 years.

Early in their long stay at Kent, Kenneth, their third child was born. Tom also completed his master’s degree coursework in Latin and Linguistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

His coaching career at Kent included freshman football, boys’ JV basketball and girls’ varsity basketball. He also coached Little League baseball in the town for several seasons when his own boys and their classmates were players.

Always the academic, Tom received his MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1979 and subsequently served as land manager for Kent School. The holdings in his charge encompassed about 2,000 acres on two campuses and included a first-class Equestrian Center that hosted many high-level show-horse jumping competitions. 

While continuing to teach, he managed hay harvests to support several dozen boarding and school-owned horses and transplanted hundreds of blueberry bushes gifted to Kent School by Henry Kissinger. 

During his professional career, he wrote many articles for the American Classical League and the Classical Association of Connecticut. He also served in leadership roles for the organizations.

Tom and Kay moved to Staunton, Va., in 1999 after his retirement, where they both became active in their new community. He served on the Vestry and as an usher for Trinity Episcopal Church and she was responsible with others for the Noon Lunch Program. He was also a member of Staunton Rotary Club, acting as its secretary for 10 years. He was also a member of the Historical Staunton Society, Friends of the Library, and president of the Board for Talking Books.

Tom and Kay enjoyed 54 years of marriage before her passing on Aug. 14, 2013. They are survived by three sons: Thomas (Tod) Louis Cracas, Jr. (Teresa) of Cincinnati, OH, David Scott Williams Cracas (Karen) of Torrington, and Kenneth Larsen Cracas of Hilton, N.Y.; eight grandchildren, TJ, Elizabeth, Henry, William, Daniel, Jacob, Ryan, and Dylan.

He is also survived by two brothers, Tyndale Williams Cracas (Donna) of Avon Lake, OH and William Philip Cracas (Janna) of Chester Springs, PA. He is additionally survived by a special partner and loving companion of 10 years, Beate Harnad of Staunton, Va., who was with him at his passing.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church April 20, at 11 a.m. Interment will take place at a later time in the Kent School Cemetery on Skiff Mountain.

Memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of the Shenandoah, c/o Augusta Health Foundation, PO Box 1000, Fishersville, VA 22939 or to The Kay Cracas Award, c/o Kent Center School Scholarship Fund, PO Box 794, Kent, CT 06757.

The Henry Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. To order memorial trees or to send flowers to the family in memory of Thomas L. Cracas, visit the funeral home’s flower store.

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