Kathy Craghead, age 64, died peacefully May 23, 2018 in Mexico, Missouri. Kathy was born on Aug. 18, 1953 in Fulton, Missouri, to John and Wanda Craghead. Her great, great, great grandparents, Robert and Nancy Craghead, helped settle Callaway County in 1819. Kathy was a tenth generation American and a sixth generation Missourian.
She is survived by her brothers Steve (Heidi), who lives in New Hampshire and David (Penny), who lives in Mexico, Missouri. She is also survived by nieces Amber (Justin Smith), Kelly (Billy Rhodes), Jamey Creed and nephew, Dustin (Leigha Creed). Her extended family includes Donna (Bruce Watson), Tricia (Gayle Adams), Emily (Shayne Belshe) and her godchild and namesake Sarah Kathleen (Chris Azdell).
Next generation family members whom Kathy was active in helping to raise are Madison and Maddie Rhodes, Bryson Regot, Watson and Anders Azdell and Ellery and Gannon Belshe. One of her greatest joys was helping each develop a love for books and the Mexico-Audrain County Library. She loved children, so she served as a volunteer for the childrens’ reading program at the library, and she was a volunteer worker in the nursery at the Mexico United Methodist Church where she was a long-time member.
Reading was one of Kathy’s greatest loves. She read all types of books from biographies to historical fiction to romances and mysteries. Her passion for reading led her to serve as a member and vice president of the Mexico-Audrain County Library board.
Her biggest passion, however, was teaching. She taught school in three Missouri high schools with her last 24 years at Mexico High School where she retired in 2007. At all three schools she advised the newspaper and the yearbook, and she taught English. In 2004, Lauren Miller, one of her students, received the Student Journalist of the Year Award from the Journalism Education Association.
In preparation for a lifetime of teaching, she served as the editor of the 197l Mascot at Mexico High School and the editor of the 1975 Echo at Northeast Missouri State University. Kathy was a 1971 graduate of Mexico High School, a 1975 graduate of what is now Truman State University, and she received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
Her passion was teaching. Because of that passion, she was invited by colleges, yearbook companies and journalism organizations to teach at workshops and seminars throughout the school year and during summers. She taught thousands of students in 26 states and the District of Columbia, including 35 years at summer workshops at Ball State University in Indiana. She also taught journalism advisers where she could provide answers to their questions and help them establish programs. She was a prolific judge of high school publications where she emphasized the importance of words from in-depth captions to quick read pieces to longer narratives. She believed the key to good journalism was sound reporting and well-written copy. She was willing to share her materials as she helped influence thousands of scholastic journalism programs across the nation.
She was also an author. She wrote Copy Writing for Walsworth Publishing Company, and three articles for Leadership for Student Activities magazine and she wrote a column for the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Update for several years.
During her teaching career, she also served as regional director and as the awards chair for the Journalism Education Association, and she was active in the Missouri Interscholastic Press Association where she served as coordinator of the High School Awards Day. In addition, she also served as a consultant for Walsworth Publishing Company.
Besides helping scholastic journalism programs, she also ran Mexico Help Center’s holiday Adopt a Child program every year after she retired. She served on the Children’s Therapy and Early Education School Board of Directors and the Miss Missouri Scholarship Pageant Board of Directors. She edited the program for each pageant. She also gave back to the Mexico School District after she retired by organizing the awards night program at the high school.
Her work for various organizations led her to receive several awards, including being named the Missouri Teacher of the Year in 1986 and the National Yearbook Adviser of the Year in 2003. She also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Northeast Missouri State University in 1985, the Greatest Impact High School Teacher Award from Duke University in 1988, the Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association in 1991, the Most Influential High School Teacher Award from the University of Missouri in 1992, and Master Journalism Educator Award from the Journalism Education Association in 1993.
She was loved by her family and everyone she met. In her scholastic journalism world she was known for her stare that would make anyone sit up straight and her slightly bent finger when she needed to get someone’s attention. Most of all, however, she was known for her wit. Even when she was serious, she made people laugh. She made their day!
There are no plans for a memorial service at this time, but to honor Kathy individuals may make contributions to the Mexico-Audrain County Library or to the Ball State University Foundation to help support a scholarship in her name. Checks may be sent to Kim Green, BSU Journalism Workshops, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306. Please include Kathy Craghead’s name in the memo of your check. A private burial of ashes in Hillcrest Cemetery in Fulton, Missouri will be held at a later date.
Condolences at www.arnoldfh.com