Talented musician was a Marine during WWII

Craft-obit_webBREWSTER — Alma McVey Craft, 94, died peacefully on July 8 at Pleasant Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brewster. Alma was a devoted wife and mother, residing in Melrose for over 60 years.

Alma was born in Brack-Ex, Elsmere, Delaware on December 8, 1919 to Clarence Housekeeper McVey and Mary Pearl (Hopkins) McVey. Alma proved herself a musician by the age of three and at age five was awarded first prize for piano in an amateur contest.

She performed on piano, ukulele, autoharp, and mouth organ for family and friends. She studied piano in Wilmington, Delaware, at the Boston Conservatory of Music, and during her high school years in Laconia, New Hampshire with Harry C. Whittemore in Manchester.

At Laconia High School, Alma gave many concerts and recitals and accompanied the orchestra and glee club. She was invited to the New Hampshire School Music Festivals in Laconia and Hanover. She graduated in 1937.

Alma attended The University of Rochester Eastman School of Music after high school. In 1944, she joined the Marine Corps, beginning at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina where Alma was named Outstanding Recruit of C Company for her excellence in leadership and academic standing. As a staff sergeant in San Francisco, she met Bill Craft who was stationed there in the Navy.

While engaged to Bill, Alma resumed her piano studies at Juilliard School of Music, receiving a diploma in 1948. At Juilliard, she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In addition to her classical piano repertoire, Alma was a composer and songwriter and wrote the words and music for over thirty original songs.

Alma was a faithful Red Sox and Celtics fan, a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in Melrose, and an avid supporter of the Melrose Symphony Orchestra. Alma cared deeply for her family and was an elegant person who loved her backyard birds and garden and helping those in need.

Alma was the beloved wife of the late Donald William “Bill” Craft with whom she shared 63 years of marriage. She was the devoted mother of Dr. Melody Craft Karian and her late husband Dr. Steve Karian of Sudbury, Carol Craft Malaquias and her husband Dr. Stephen Malaquias of Dennis, and Beverly Craft Buckley and her husband Stephen Buckley of Chatham. She was the dear sister of the late Warren C. McVey and his late wife Elizabeth of Laconia, NH. She was the cherished grandmother of Dr. Laurel Karian of Montclair, NJ, Peter Karian of Baltimore, MD, Jennifer Malaquias Ryan and her husband Andrew of Rowayton, CT, Sarah Malaquias Berend and her husband David of Palisades, NY, Alison Buckley of Boston, Hannah Buckley of Seligman, AZ, and the late Lily Karian. She was the loving great grandmother of Charles and Blake Ryan and Jake and Leila Berend. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends will honor and remember Alma’s life on Saturday, November 15 at the First United Methodist Church, 645 Main St, Melrose where her Memorial Service will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Alma may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 645 Main, St., Melrose, MA 02176 or the Melrose Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 760715, Melrose, MA 02176.

Arrangements by Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose.