On, April 23, 2017, Edith Lucille Girty Craighead quietly slipped away for a glorious gathering in Heaven. She was born on October 22, 1920 in Gravel Hill area of Troutville to James William Henry and Mamie Esther Bagby Girty. At an early age, she accepted her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at Gravel Hill Baptist Church where even as a child she played the piano accompanying the choir. Her favorite verse was Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Miss Girty was a reader and learner who persevered through segregation and being separated from her family to attend schools in Gravel Hill and Buchanan before receiving her high school diploma in 1940 from Christiansburg Industrial Institute (CII). On January 10,1942, she and her beloved Edward Earl Craighead were married and began traveling as a team witnessing for the Lord in song. They were blessed with a daughter and son who became a part of the team, until the passing of her husband in March 1964. One of her favorite songs was “May the Works I’ve done speak for me”.
One of Mrs. Craighead’s favorite sayings was “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” She exhibited this through her many talents including playing the piano, sewing, photography, and she was a Scrabble wiz. She shared poems she had written, clipped, and memorized as a child throughout the Roanoke Valley. She, her husband, and daughter were members of the Star City Pilgrims and traveled to various states to sing God’s praises. Throughout her life Sister Craighead faithfully accompanied the Gravel Hill Choir as well as her husband, children, and grandchildren who were blessed to sing along with her. She joined Lapsley Run Baptist and First Baptist Cloverdale churches on Christian experience and was affiliated with many other churches throughout the valley. Mrs. Craighead was vital in keeping the doors of Gravel Hill Baptist open after the membership had dwindled to only her and her children. She opened the doors of the church annually so the community could come together in praise and worship. She was a lady who bettered her community through her involvement in several organizations including Botetourt Improvement Association (BIA), Southwest Virginia Community Development Fund (SVCDF), Valley Baptist Association, and Botetourt Community Chorus.
Having been blessed with 96 years of a vibrant Christian life, she was predeceased by her parents, loving husband, Brothers James Russell Girty, Sr., Charles Lowell Girty and Lewis Henry Girty, Sr.; son-in-love Andrew L Wiley; grandson-in-love SSG Glenn Tunstall Sr, great-granddaughter Victorya Tunstall; and special friend Julius Kyle. Those left to rejoice in the memories of her love, grace, and service include her two devoted children, daughter Shirley Inez Craighead Wiley and son James Earl Craighead; her sister Dorothy E Murphy, Montgomery, AL; brother William “Billy” (Mable) Girty, Detroit, MI; and sister-in-Love Bertha Girty, Southfield, MI. Her granddaughters Edith “Edye” Tunstall, LoRhonda (Reginald) Godley, Angela Wiley, Julie Wiley, Kimberly Wiley and grandsons Todd (Carla) Wiley I and James “Jay” (Monica) Craighead thank the Lord for His gifts of love and faithfulness through our beloved “Granny”. Her great-grandchildren, Dominique Davis, G. Leigh Tunstall Jr., Tevin Starkey, Todd “Drew” Wiley II, Jaden Wiley, Kamaryn Wiley-Lewis, Karys Wiley-Lewis, and Josiah Craighead as well as her great-great grandchildren, Tamia and Tyler Davis, can be grateful for and carry the legacy of this wonderful Christian lady. Aunt Lucille was adored and will be missed by her precious nieces, nephews, and cousins who live throughout the United States. “Ms. Lucille” also became a greatly loved and respected part of the family of the late James Julius Kyle. This Proverbs 31 Virtuous Woman loved us all “A bushel and a peck” and we look forward to “a hug around the neck” once we see her “When we all get to Heaven”.