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Craig William Wyatt, 74, of Loves Park, died Friday, Aug. 25, at Swedish American Hospital from complications following a heart attack. The son of William Byers and Jane (Duff) Wyatt, he was born Dec. 10, 1942, in Tuscola, IL.
He graduated from Tuscola Community High School in 1960 and from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with honors in history in 1964. Craig served as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force at Nellis AFB, NV, and as a captain in Vietnam. Upon leaving the Air Force, he earned a Masters degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. He was a journalist and editor with the Rockford Newspapers for 16 years. Craig then became an editor and writer in private business.
Craig married Judith Pieper on June 22, 1974, in Moline, IL. They had two children: Stephen and Suzanne.
In 1977 Craig received a fellowship from the Gannett Foundation to study Asian Affairs at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu. His area of concentration was China. He studied Chinese culture, religions, and history, and took the equivalent of two years of college-level Mandarin.
Craig was an outstanding musician, having been blessed with perfect pitch. He sang with the Men of Accord, the Bach Chamber Choir, and Camerata Emanon. He also played the tuba with the Dixieland Docs and the Old Towne Band. For much his life, Craig was also an avid, self-taught guitar player.
Craig developed Parkinson's disease, caused by exposure to Agent Orange, in the early 2000's. However, the illness did not impair him. He still managed to sing, play the tuba and guitar, and travel for many years.
He is survived by his wife, Judith; son, Stephen, Chicago; daughter, Suzanne (Nathan) Parker, Carol Stream; grandson, Maxwell Parker; and sister, Melissa Wyatt, Paso Robles, CA. He is also survived by his cousins, William Rosenthal and Polly Holly of Waupaca, WI; sisters-in-law, Mary Kay (Wes) Johnson of Moline, IL and Shannon West (John Pieper) of Naperville, IL. Additional survivors include several nieces and great-nieces and nephews. Craig was predeceased by his parents, two brothers, Robert and Bradley, and his in-laws, Henry and Ruth Pieper.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Sat., September 16, 2017, at Second Congregational/First Presbyterian Church, 318 N. Church St., Rockford, IL with Rev. Rebecca White-Newgren officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at Olson North Chapel, 2811 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL.
Memorials may be sent to the Natural Land Institute, 320 S. Third St., Rockford, IL, 61104; Camerata Emanon, Attn: Tim Anderson, Unitarian Church, 4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL, 61107; or The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. 4777, New York, NY, 1016. To share a memory or send an online condolence, visit

Condolences & Shared Memories (17)

  1. Cyndu Freeman

    So sorry to hear about Craig. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  2. Victor and Judi Yehling

    We both offer our condolences in this sad time. Craig was a remarkable man in so many ways and shared his talents that brightened the world around him. May you find comfort and peace in the memories you hold and in the knowledge that he is free and whole.

  3. Elin Gustafson Buchanan

    So sorry to hear about Mr. Wyatt's passing. For 30 years, I could consistently count on a phone call on my birthday from him. For 30 years, I never heard "Happy Birthday!" from Mr. Wyatt!!! But on July 14th EVERY year, I received a "Happy Bastille's Day!" phone call!! While I don't remember, Mr. Wyatt was at the hospital on July 14th, 1987 the day I was born, and heard me screaming down the hall. This coined one of my nicknames from him, "Leather Lungs". I will miss Mr. Wyatt's humor, intelligence, and tradition in my life. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers, and you will be missed but your memory will always be with me. Love, Elvin!

  4. Mark A. Gustafson

    Even from a very young age I remember thinking Craig was always kind and incredibley quick witted. His knowledge of anything worth talking about was always impressive. He was a wonderful person who will be missed. My thoughts are with his family.

  5. Richard and Mary Eertmoed

    Sorry to hear of Craig's passing. We have good memories of Craig as we watched our sons run cross country at Auburn High School. He will be missed. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  6. Bonnie Bartell

    Judy, Coy & I were deeply saddened to learn of Craig's death. I guess we were still hoping for another luncheon get together. I am so glad that Craig made the effort to keep in touch all these years. You and your family will always be in our hearts.

  7. Gary & Linda Brewer

    Our sincerest condolences to Judy and all the Wyatt family, Craig was an intellectual worthy of emulation. I only connected with Craig a few years ago as I returned from Afghanistan. He was instrumental in my transition from the military as a sounding board and stimulating conversationalist. Linda and I could always count on Craig to add a twist with his take on world affairs. Adios, mi amigo. Out here!

  8. Melissa Teske

    Craig was truly a renaissance man...intelligent and gifted. Judy and family, I'm so sorry for your loss.

  9. Judy Wright Landeck '62

    The Wyatt family were an important part of the Wright family as we grew up in Tuscola. So many wonderful memories...... I could count on seeing Craig sometime during the year mostly at Homecoming . I will miss that wonderful smile and mischievous twinkle in his eye.

  10. Bob Hill

    All that and a damn good journalist and funny, interesting and loveable guy.

  11. Phil Morris

    We shared many a good time during our years in Boy Scouts and the TCHS Band. His wit and sense of humor will be sorely missed at our next class get together later this month. Judith, I hope you will be able to attend.

  12. Ben Rubendall

    He was a good man and a good friend with a unique outlook on life. Not one to follow the herd, but one who cared and made the best of things. He will be missed.

  13. Greg stanmar

    I can still see him, in the newsroom, rocking on his feet, making fun of whatever was current.

  14. Mike and Kerry Glavin

    We were saddened to hear of the loss of our old neighbor and friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

  15. Ernie Webster

    Judy and family...So very sorry that Craig is gone. He will definitely be missed by all who knew him. I loved his sarcastic and funny wit and am glad we were friends. Prayers to you and your family and we'll be keeping Craig in our hearts...ERnie

  16. William Harms

    Craig was a gifted writer and insightful thinker. We became friends in graduate school at Northwestern and stayed in touch over the years. He always greeted me with a wonderful, whimsical smile when we met and remembered my birthday each year with a clever email. As years moved on, we shared that special joy of being grandfathers.

  17. Linda Taylor

    Judy and family, I send sincere sympathy on Craig's passing. I just want you to know that Bob so appreciated Craig's intellectual abilities and stimulating conversation, and that Craig was instrumental in keeping Bob hopeful during his hard days. We have lost these guys much too soon. So sorry for you loss.

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