Mary’s life will be celebrated at 11 am on Friday, March 3rd, 2023, at Sunset Funeral Home Chapel. Mary will be laid to rest at Sunset Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday evening from 4-6 pm.
Mary Kate, better known as “Red,” was full of life and excitement during her childhood and formative years. She was an excellent student who enjoyed reading and writing. After graduating from high school, Mary sought post-secondary education and eventually relocated to Florida as she worked and trained in various roles centered on finance, banking, and customer service. In 1981, Mary relocated back to Alabama, where she was introduced to her life partner and soulmate, Douglas Craddock, Sr. Over the course of a year, the two would marry and begin a 41-year life journey together. The love and admiration they shared are second to none. In doing so, they methodically created and cultivated three exceptional children, Shunda, Douglas, and Deborah, that will continue Mary’s compassion, love, and faith in all they do. She stood by the word of proverbs, a familiar verse; Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Mary began her employment in 1983 with the Department of Defense in Aschaffenburg, Germany, as an Information Tours and Travel Clerk, allowing her to travel throughout Europe and surrounding countries. While in Germany, she worked as a Military Police and Weapons Clerk with German Polizei. During Mrs. Craddock’s 34 years as a DOD employee, she worked in numerous locations, including Fort Carson, CO, Fort Campbell, KY, Fort Hood, TX, and Fort Rucker, AL. Her positions included: Medical Clerk, Human Resources Assistant, Administrative Support Assistant, and International Student Processing Assistant, which transitioned into International Student Processing Technician. With the challenges of being a mother, DOD Civilian Employee, and military dependent spouse, which included frequent field trainings, deployments, and PCS moves of her husband, she sacrificed to ensure her family had more than enough. This is evident as all her children are college educated. Growing up, she ensured the house was a place of refuge and love, a home with three meals a day, school lunches packed, and attendance at sporting events, piano recitals, and probate shows. She sacrificed herself to guarantee we would be in the best position for success. Even in her own regard by obtaining her degrees as we worked on ours. Mary successfully completed several self-development courses. These courses included Leadership, Thriving in a Post-Pandemic World, Mastering Public Speaking, Keys to Effective Communication, military correspondence, and Thriving to a Post-Pandemic World. She had a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and Theology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Pastoral Counseling. She also completed numerous Intercultural Cross-cultural courses, Level 1 International Affairs Certification, and Level 2 Intermediate International Security Certification. Mrs. Craddock had a can-do and will-do attitude. She excelled and became a subject Matter Expert in all positions, receiving numerous awards, including Civilian of the Quarter selection and Department of the Army Achievement Medals. One of the highlights of her career was meeting, greeting, processing, and building lasting friendships and relationships with the students and family members while working with International Students from over 42 countries. Mary’s commitment to our Lord and Savior can never be questioned. She was a humble and faithful servant who sought to steadily increase her knowledge and understanding of the word and elevate her connection with God. She was a fiery minister with the fortitude and drive to leave anyone with a yearning and thirst for ministry. She served faithfully as lead Sunday School teacher, a member of the Board of Trustees, Secretary, Kitchen staff, and any area that warranted her assistance. Mary sought to uplift and praise God not only through words but her day-to-day lived experiences. Mary has been married to Retired SFC Douglas Craddock for 40 plus years. They were blessed with three children, Shunda, Douglas Jr. (Briana), Deborah (Patrick), and five grandchildren, Madisyn, Princeton, Payton, Zoë, and Elijah. After her retirement, they resided in Abbeville, AL, and enjoyed traveling abroad, gardening, and volunteering in their church and the local community.
Mary was preceded in death by her father, Leroy Jackson, and two brothers, Willie T. Freeman, and Herbert Freeman.
She leaves to cherish her memories to her loving mother, Mary Odell Jackson of Eufaula, AL, two sisters: Alice Dean Horn of Birmingham, AL, Florine Hill (Roy) of Eufaula, AL, and two brothers: Foy Lee Jackson of Eufaula, AL, Leon Jackson of Union Springs, AL, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Mrs. Mary Kate Freeman Craddock will always be a devoted Wife, beloved Mother and GiGi. Her leadership acumen, caretaking inclinations, visionary mindset, sternness, and compassion for others has been embedded within her children and will live on forever.