In Memory

Craig Cokeley

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07/21/20 02:01 PM #1    

Bill Dittmann

Craig was always a great guy. He was a super athlete. I'm proud to say that I hit one of his  fastballs out to dead center field for a homerun in Little League. He went on to star in football and I hear ended up playing for the Oregon Ducks. Anther memory was our competition to get on traffic patrol so that we could each ask Lynn to go steady, but it never happened. I think she had other ideas. 

07/21/20 03:14 PM #2    

Shel Milligan

What do you say when you have lost a good friend?  "Damn, he died way too young."  "Why him or her, why not someone I don't know?"  "I really wish I had taken the time to tell him ......, now it's too late." And who do you say these things to except to yourself?  I have the questions, but not the answers.

Craig was a good friend, a close friend.  But that's not all, he was also my brother-in-law, so have we spent lots of time together over the years.  I could go on and on about road trips, about ski weeks, surfing adventures to southern California, about family, about business.  But I won't because it would probably be a boring walk down my memory lane.

Let me just say that at the end of the day I have always been grateful that our path crossed and I always looked forward to those crossings.  Sadly, and I hope understandably, I would now be most grateful if our paths didn't cross again for a number of years!  It isn't that I don't like you  "Smoke", but ................ 

Rest in peace brother.


07/21/20 06:07 PM #3    

Dede(Diana) Lewis (Green)


07/22/20 08:06 PM #4    

Steve Garrison

This hit me hard. Craig befriended me soon after we moved from Hawaii at the start of 8th grade, which I so appreciated as PHS could be, for a newcomer somewhat cliquee. He made  it easy (as did some of you!!).

I remember "grab your ankles, boy" in his basement, our loving Guy Mitchell's "Singing the Blues" (strange what you remember...), football, and pole vaulting together.

At a dance, Ken White with Nancy Catlin, Craig with Sue Scudder and me with Judy Hewitt: 

At Pfeffer's Fallen Leaf Lake cabin when (??) with Molly (Shel's sister):

Smokely left us way too soon, and way too soon for me to share with him what I discovered at age 30:


07/22/20 08:37 PM #5    

Michael White

I just heard about Craigs passing. I am a 64 graduate of PHS. I remember Craig in high school as an outstanding athlete, he had a kind of  provenence and swagger. As an under classman I had repsect for the senior class. Our paths would meet again in 1980. Craig was now the Volvo/Datsun dealer in Oakland on Broadway that his parents started. Craigs dad had died and his mom wanted him to carry on. My family was also in that business and, after several attempts to work with my father I left in 1980. Not having a clue what I was going to do I responded to an ad in the Oakland Tribune for a car salesman. It was Craigs dealership. Craig gave me opportunities and, had confidence in my abilities more than my own family. I eventually became the general sales manager and General manager of the Volvo store. In 2005 I retired from Mercedes Benz after 20 years of management. I cannot say enough about how Craig and Molly,  helped me when I needed it the most. Thank you Craig and, may you now be at peace.

07/23/20 12:54 PM #6    

Don Nicholls

Craig was a great guy.  I really enjoyed playing football with him.  Like Dede, and Bill, I regret that our time on this plane passed before I had opportunity to tell him how important he was in my life.  Before any more time slips away, I want each of you, my  former classmates, to know how much I appreciated knowing you and sharing our years together at good old PHS.  Hopefully, we will have future times to share.  In the meantime, my love and best wishes go with each of you. 

Don "Nicko" Nicholls

07/24/20 10:39 AM #7    

Jim Packwood

I had sort of been in touch with Craig usually around our Birthdays (We were 2 days apart).  Recently, he seemed a bit down in the dumps.  I really think he missed John Pfeffer. (See the picture of them on a driving range.)  I spent a summer living with Craig in an old rickety 3 sided cabin at Camp Wallace Alexander (Boy Scout Camp) after our sophmore year at PHS.  He was the asst. Wrangler, while I was asst Waterfront.  We had a great summer.  At night we'd sneak out and hitch hike into Ketty ostensibly to hook up with girls.  I don't think we ever got lucky, but it was fun trying.  I know he went to the U of O, and then into the Navy--Was he a Jet Jockey?  I remember the audibles "Smoke" & "Pebbles" called during games--Good times.  Hard to believe its been almost 60 years.  Another tribute to a great guy, and our class gets smaller.

07/25/20 10:48 AM #8    

Bob Jones

Sometime before April 21, 2017, I received a cryptic email message that went something like "I need your address....can you send it to me?" Scam, I thought, because I did not recognize the email address. So, I cautiously answered the email by asking the sender who he was and why he wanted my address? The reply was a complete was Craig "Smoke" Cokeley.

As previously noted, Craig and John Pfeffer were fast friends. Craig was helping John clean his garage in preparation for his move to another place. In the garage was a football - signed by many of the ’61 seniors on the team. Craig wanted my address so he could send the ball to me. I have it and anyone who would like to see a piece of the past is welcome to it. Also, all ideas for passing it along or where it should end up are welcome.

Anyway, Craig reaching out to me started a wonderful reconnect. He was doing fine then and enjoying his life.

Then, February, 2018 came along with the passing of a wonderful woman married to Shel. Craig was coming up for the ceremony and wanted a ride to the service. I happily said absolutely, and we were able to spend more in person time together, albeit only a few hours. Definitely memorable for both Mary Ann and me. Craig was very relaxed and appeared to be in good health and very happy.

The current news about how quickly Craig’s health deteriorated and his ultimate passing came as a complete surprise! In a short two years, the changes that occurred were so drastic and unbelievable. I am very happy and honored to have been able to spend such quality time together so late in our lives, and it cements the notion that today needs to be the longest and best day of our lives.

RIP, Craig! Be well everyone, and cherish every moment we are given to enjoy.

07/26/20 01:34 PM #9    

Barbara Griffin (Mudler)

It is always so sad to see our numbers shrinking as I guess it must.  Hope everyone is in as good health as possible.  Exercise, diet and mental acuity thru books, crossword puzzles or whatever can keep us as physically healthy as possible Looking forward to our reunion next year.  Meanwhile, Sadly, Craig, rest in peace. .

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