More than a month after Richard Craddock — the popular District 209 science teacher and high school sports announcer — died from cancer on Oct. 1 at the age of 66, people are still mourning the loss of the charismatic educator on social media.
“I thought of you today, Mr. Craddock,” wrote someone in a Nov. 14 Facebook message posted to Craddock’s Facebook timeline, noting that she had been going through papers and had “come across a letter of recommendation [Craddock] wrote for me when I became a [substitute] teacher in South Carolina.”
“Great guy. Great sense of humor,” wrote another Facebook commenter in a post published to Craddock’s timeline on Nov. 6.
Craddock was a biology and science teacher at Proviso East and West for 23 years. He was also a witty announcer who called events in five different sports in the district, D209 officials said.
“His charisma lives on,” said Calvin Davis, assistant principal for athletics and activities at Proviso West, during an Oct. 9 regular meeting where the D209 school board and administration read aloud a resolution in Craddock’s honor.
“He was famous for the outstanding one-liners,” Davis recalled. “For example, during basketball games, he’d say, ‘Three-point corner pocket.'”
“Touchdown by the unknown Panther,” Davis said, was Craddock’s way of signaling that an athlete’s name was missing from the program.
“Proviso West and Proviso high schools have suffered a great loss,” said D209 board President Ned Wagner during last month’s regular meeting.
“I did not know [Craddock] very well, but the tributes from students on Facebook, the steady stream of Proviso staff and students who came through his wake, was a stunning testament to all the lives he touched,” Wagner said. “Certainly, someone like Mr. Craddock will live on for many, many years in the hearts and actions of students he touched.”
Supt. Jesse Rodriguez said Craddock was “an excellent teacher, a phenomenal human being, somebody who embraced all.”
Rodriguez said Craddock embraced him early in his tenure as superintendent, often recognizing him at sporting events and giving advice. The popular teacher and charismatic personality made the new administrator feel special “just with a smile and a sense of humor,” the superintendent recalled.
“He will be dearly remembered and greatly missed,” said Proviso West Principal Nia Abdullah during last month’s meeting.