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Thomas L. Cracas

October 7, 1935 — March 4, 2024

Thomas L. Cracas

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

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

He joined the US 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 in the Air Force, Tom enrolled in Brown University on the GI Bill, graduating in 1961 with a BA majoring in Greek & Latin – his springboard to a lifelong career as high school Latin teacher and coach.

During his time at Brown, Tom met Karen Marie (Kay) Jarratt and they were soon wed in June 1959.

Tom began his career in North Andover, MA at Brooks School and within a few years moved on to Blair Academy in Blairstown, NJ. During the summer of 1967 Tom, Kay and their two young boys (Tod & Scott) relocated to Skiff Mountain in Kent, CT for Tom to teach and coach at Kent School where he and Kay remained for the next 32 years.

Early during their long stay at Kent, Kenneth, their third child was born in June 1968. Tom had also recently 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. Tom also coached Little League Baseball in the town of Kent for several seasons as his own boys and their classmates came of age through the local youth system.

Always the academic, Tom received his MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1979, and subsequently served additionally 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 which hosted many high-level show-horse jumping competitions. All while continuing to teach, he managed hay harvesting operations to support the several dozen boarding and school owned horses and the transplanting of hundreds of blueberry bushes gifted to Kent School by Henry Kissinger. Those bushes are still bearing their sweet fruit to this day.

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

Tom & Kay moved to Staunton, VA in 1999 following his retirement from Kent School, where they both soon became very active in their new community. They were members of Trinity Episcopal Church where he served on the Vestry and as an usher and she was responsible with others for the Noon Lunch Program. Tom was also a member of Staunton Rotary Club where he served as secretary for 10 years. Other service included the Historical Staunton Society, Friends of the Library and President of the Board for Talking Books.

Tom & Kay enjoyed 54 years of marriage before her passing on August 14, 2013. They had three sons who survive: Thomas (Tod) Louis Cracas, Jr (Teresa) of Cincinnati, OH, David Scott Williams Cracas (Karen) of Torrington, CT, and Kenneth Larsen Cracas of Hilton, NY; eight grandchildren: TJ, Elizabeth, Henry, William, Daniel, Jacob, Ryan, and Dylan.

Tom is also survived by his 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 Tom at his passing.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton. Interment will follow in Kent, CT at 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 6, 2024, on Skiff Mountain at Kent School Cemetery next to Kay.

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).

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