Craig Kendall Jolly (my brother), came into this world November 18th, 1971, jovial, boisterous, and bigger than life. It was perfectly appropriate that his last name was to be "Jolly" as it definitively describes him as much as it identifies him. As a child, Craig grew up in warm and cheerful Centerville, Ohio. He had a radiant smile and a mop of blonde curly hair (admittedly that must be hard to imagine for those who knew him only in his more follicle challenged years) But take my word for it. He was infectiously happy and endlessly adventurous. In his youth, he played soccer, Varsity football, and was the President of his church youth group. He auditioned for, and won, the lead part in his HS musical of “Bye Bye Birdie", he traveled to multiple states singing in his church youth choir and got arrested for stealing our dad's car and taking it for a joy ride when only 15. To say he was versatile, would be an understatement.
After making bail, (just kidding, our dad basically picked him up out of the back of a cruiser around the corner from our house-but that doesn't make for a good story.) He, along with only a microscopic amount of other students in the country, went on to score a perfect 800 out of 800 on the Math portion of his SAT. He was then accepted into the elite and very competitive Architecture division of the DAAP program at the University of Cincinnati. It was there that he met his wife whom he is survived by, (and this last year survived because of), Kim Ranker Jolly. Kim has been the embodiment of devotion, unconditional love, and the anchor for our entire family during this 15-month relentless hurricane known as Glioblastoma. It is no wonder Craig loved her so big.
Seriously, SO BIG. I digress.
But trust me, she's one helluva wife.
While still a student in his early 20's at UC, Craig and his partner launched their first company, Millennium Productions. Craig was an early adaptor in the field of animation in architecture, so much so that the University hired him to teach his own classmates. He was both the professor and the student- that's probably totally normal. (Side eyes) The company later grew to be known as Animation Productions.
After graduation, Craig and Kim moved out to Arizona. They spent 12 years in the desert where Craig created, owned, and operated his own computer animation company, Tin Cactus,which grew into F1 Studios. Craig and Kim have always had a partnership both facultative and fantabulous, so much so that Kim was the CFO for all four companies.
Together in Phoenix they made some amazing memories and more amazing friends (The next time you see him maybe ask why his fantasy football dudes call him "Yeasty") Ha! Craig went on to score in the top 1% on both the Math and English portions of the GMAT, and graduated from University of Arizona with his MBA. (He's totally rolling his eyes right now annoyed that I'm bragging about him. Too bad, pal, you're making me sound smarter just by genetic association, I'm using it.)
Moving forward, his greatest life's achievement was also while in Arizona. It's there that he became a Father- a job he nailed from day one and was the MVP of until his very last. He loved his children more than air. His marriage, babies,and family were the backbone of his joy and the pride of his life. Lucky for us after having the twins, Anne and Evan, they decided to move back home and landed in Wyoming, Ohio-a community they moved to because of its nationally ranked schools. They had no way of knowing at the time that the true property value would be found in the community's heavenly ranked hearts. The people of Wyoming are some of the most selfless, generous, and thoughtful you'll ever know. From the lawn care and meal trains, to carpooling and childcare, they have been phenomenal every step of the way.
While in Wyoming, Craig enjoyed coaching several seasons of Anne and Evan's youth soccer, was emphatically involved in his church St. James of the Valley, and came to work for and with the paramount people at Kaleidoscope Innovation and Product Design. Craig loved his career and thought of his coworkers as family. All throughout his journey with brain cancer, they elevated him with dignity and blanketed him with compassion- a demonstration of endearment far beyond the four walls of any employment.
From a career standpoint Craig's greatest gratification was in mentoring his employees. For many of them, he had given them their first job, and he took considerable pride in watching them cultivate their own careers.When going to movies, Craig's favorite part was less in the film and more in the facts. He would stay until the end and watch all of the credits for names of his former employees to scroll down the screen. He felt himself sated in the success of others, which in and of itself is surreal.
In all his life, Craig could effortlessly fill a room. He was the vibrant pulse of our family, a goofy grown up kid, but alarmingly beyond brilliant and had this booming laugh that bounced off walls and echoed down halls and was undeniably and unbelievably infectious. His hugs could swallow you whole. He had an insatiable enthusiasm for life that was as uncontainable as a shaken 2 liter bottle of Coke. You couldn't get anywhere near him without it exploding all over you.
He was a Jesus worshiping, Rubix Cube slaying, Self improving, Computer geeking, Wife adoring, Children loving, Laugh out louding, Deer hunting, Canyon hiking, Niece tickling, Leftovers stealing, Lincoln fishing, Volley-ball playing, Christmas Story reciting, Kiddo calling, Garden growing, Grand gesture giving, kind of guy. Oh, and the Indiana Jones of eating. (Think Jell-O mold with mayo and onions.) He asked for seconds.
He was authentic and real, vivacious, and humble. He was gracious and kind, hilarious and heartwarming. He was my big brother, our best friend, and undeniably and indisputably one of the greatest men I have ever known.
He will with every ounce and all of our beings be missed whole heartedly and unbelievably beyond measure, every single second, of every minute, of every day.
So in these suffocating moments of sorrow, in these tidal waves of grief that without reason or warning relentlessly keep pulling us under, we will cling to his memory. We will let his loud laugh save us and his legacy pull us to shore. We will remember how with absolute dignity and profound faith he found the good in every adversity, and we will immortalize his life by emulating his words. We will learn to live in the uncertainly, as though every day is a gift. For having the absolute honor and painstaking privilege to have lost someone so worth loving, is a gift he will give to us always.
Until I see you again, Brother Bear. It is with all my heart. ~Heather
Craig leaves behind the love of his life, wife Kim, and his two children, whom he adored endlessly, Anne and Evan. He is survived by his parents Bruce (Mary) Jolly and Lilia (John) Shoemaker, Kid sisters Laura (Anna Jagielska) Jolly and Heather Jolly-Cornette. In- Laws Steve and Donna Ranker, John (Jen) Ranker, Steve (Andrea Muccino) Ranker, Mary (Jeremy) Brothers, Debbie Ranker, Dave (Tara Simpson) Ranker, Diane (Tommy) Caudill, Jeff Cornette and Phil Batsch, Nieces and nephews Alexandra and John Batsch, Alyssa, Kellan, Lairan and Cora Cornette, Jack, Anthony and Regina Ranker and Abbey Caudill,Paternal Grandmother Ruth Jolly and countless Aunts, Uncles, Cousins. Craig was preceded in death by paternal Grandfather Loren D. Jolly, Maternal Grandparents Richard and Lilia Griffin and Sister-In- Law Beth Batsch.
Friends and Family are invited to gather at Spring Grove Funeral Home on Friday November 3rd from 6-9 pm with a Rosary service being conducted at 6 pm.
Funeral Mass will be held at 11am on Saturday November 4th at St. James of the Valley Catholic Church. His urn will be laid to rest at Spring Grove Lakeside Mausoleum following the Mass.
In lieu of flowers family asks that donations can be made in Craig's honor at www.thecurestartsnow.org
*For those of you who have requested to donate directly to Kim, Evan & Anne you can do so by visiting Craig's Go Fund Me Page https://www.gofundme.com/help-craig-live-like-hes-living