There just aren’t enough words to describe Craig Engel. For those of you who were blessed to cross paths with the man, you know exactly what we mean.
Born on Feb 1, 1948, in Hutchinson, MN, to Duane and Marilyn Engel, he was one of four children. He grew up on a dairy farm in Howard Lake, MN, was quite the athlete throughout his school career, and eventually obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Education. He went on to marry Sandra Luhman, his high school sweetheart, in 1968, …..now, here’s where it gets interesting…Craig was the kind of guy who was always interested in the next grand adventure (or at least as grand as one could get for a guy with his paycheck and a family)…buckle your seatbelts and prepare yourself, this is going to exhaust you and exhilarate you all at the same time:
• He joined the Air Force in 1970, traveling to Texas, Maine, Japan and Washington state
• He went into sales and management after his 4 years in the military
• He owned 3 businesses
• He bought a hobby farm where he raised chickens, pigs, calves and dairy goats while still working full time
• A few years later, he bought the farm he grew up on and had dairy cows and farmed the land
• He then took his family to the south, Texas to be specific where he was an assistant manager at a truck stop in Big Spring, TX
• From there he was offered an assistant management position at a truck stop in Denver, CO
• He went on to work at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the biology department
• At the announcement that he was to be a grandpa, he and Sandy moved to New Mexico to be near their grandchildren
• He worked in Placitas where he helped start up and run a new grocery store and market
• He worked for French Funeral Home where his boss was influential in his buying a cabin in the Jemez Mountains
• He and Sandy owned a Christian bookstore and flower shop, eventually moving the flower shop into their home
• He was a real estate broker and flipped houses with his family, until his retirement in 2011, when he and Sandy moved to their cabin full time
• Here, he took up a new essential hobby of cutting firewood
• Just in case you thought this was the end of the story, keep reading to find out what he did in his “retirement”
• He spent 5 summers up in Minnesota working on his sister and brother-in-law’s sod farm
• He was the water operator for his Horseshoe Springs community for many years
• And in the last few years, he worked tirelessly on many different fundraisers for Athletes Beyond Boundaries to help benefit and build a school gym for Paradise Christian School, where his grandchildren have attended
In the midst of all of that excitement, he and Sandy had a daughter, Lisa, and a son, Matt, along with two other babies (a son and a daughter) taken to heaven as infants. On the rare occasion he found himself with free time, he filled that time just like the rest of his life—full of a variety of different activities. He enjoyed a number of strategic games, such as chess and dominoes, and playing cards with friends throughout the years. He started playing fantasy football in 1992, back when you had to fax in your lineups! As you’d expect, he did so with excellence, winning 2 championships and 3 second place finishes over the years. His favorite place to be was at his cabin in the Jemez, where he loved to hike, play croquet with friends, and cut a whole lot of firewood!
Along with his two babies, others who awaited his arrival in heaven included his father, Duane Engel; his father-in-law, Bernard Luhman; his mother-in-law, Kathryn Luhman, and many other family and friends.
Those of us here who long for the day we will be reunited with him include his wife, Sandy; his daughter, Lisa Stevenson and husband, Jim; his son, Matthew Engel and wife, Sheila; his grandchildren, Gabriel Stevenson and his wife, Maggie, Jeremiah Stevenson, Micah Stevenson and his wife, Morghan, Kate Stevenson, Elijah Stevenson, Chace Engel and Joshua Engel; his mother, Marilyn Engel; his brother, Bruce Engel; his sisters, Cheryl Stueven and husband, Gerry and Robin Hoffman and husband, Bob; his sister-in-law, Elaine Stueven; his brothers-in-law, Stan Luhman and wife, Rose and his brother-in-law, Dave Luhman and wife, Connie and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Sunday, January 19, 2020, 4:00 p.m., at New Song Christian Fellowship at 6013 Paradise Blvd. NW.
Memorial contributions may be made to Athletes Beyond Boundaries (ABB), P.O. Box 45731, Rio Rancho, NM 87174-5731, in honor of Craig, who was passionate about seeing a school gym built for his grandchildren.
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