Kim Craig's final challenge in life full of challenges

Jun. 06, 2014 @ 10:13 AM

Those who knew Kim Craig remember the bright and cheerful woman whose own memory was damaged by health problems.

Craig, 47, died Tuesday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after a brief battle with MRSA, a drug-resistant staph infection often found in hospital patients.

In 1998 Craig suffering a heart attack and stroke, leaving her with brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during the heart attack. Craig was 31. Her son, Alex, was 3, and her daughter, Cassie, just a week old. Since then, the life of the former Kings Creek School teacher had been an uphill climb. Doctors had said that if she survived, she’d be a vegetable, but she proved them wrong. She moved in with her parents, Harold and Ruby Church of Cajah’s Mountain, and needed a wheelchair to get around. Still, she enjoyed shopping at Ingles in Connelly Springs Road and watching TV. Craig was featured in a News-Topic story in April 2013 that chronicled the daily challenges she faced.

But her biggest challenge remained her memory, often recalling events from years ago but unable to recall what happened five minutes ago.

Craig was a life-long member of Holy Communion Lutheran Church in Banner Elk, where she was a part of the Lutheran Church Women’s Missionary Group.

Craig was recently found to have liver cancer. In surgery three weeks ago at Wake Forst Baptist Medical Center, doctors removed half her liver, Harold Church said. She was sent to the Shaire Center in Lenoir for rehabilitation, but her condition worsened.

“Her oxygen level dropped, so she was sent to Caldwell Memorial Hospital,” Church said. “They then took her by ambulance back to Baptist on Saturday.”

Church said Craig seemed fine on Sunday and was happy to see her parents. But then the MRSA infection took hold, and she never recovered. On Tuesday, she was taken off a ventilator, and at 1:30 p.m. she died.

Just before her final hospitalization, the Luthern Women’s Missionary Group met on the patio at the Shaire Center. It would be her last church event.

“She was always a bright and cheerful person,” Pastor David Mielke said, “but she had gone downhill quite a bit. That stroke kind of did her in.”

Craig’s funeral will be held Friday at the church.