Friday, November 22, 2013

Farewell Craig

Craig Amason
Flannery O'Connor did say it best:  A good man is hard to find.  He's even harder to say good-bye to.  Sadly alas, next Wednesday we say so long to our executive director, Craig Amason.  Believe it or not, he has been at Andalusia just about as long as Flannery - 13 years.  It has been my honor and pleasure to work under him for four of those years.  What Craig has accomplished during his tenure is pretty amazing.  When the Foundation was established in 2001 and he was named its first director, Andalusia was in pretty dilapidated shape.  So much restoration work had to be done just to open the place to the public.  Craig undertook this enormous task with extraordinary competence and good cheer.  Through his Herculean efforts, O'Connor's home received its first visitors in 2003.  Yet much more work needed to be done.  When I visited the farm for the first time in June, 2009, the Hill House was covered with vines, the dairy processing shed needed work, the cow barn was on the verge of falling down, and there were none of the attractions that we take for granted today such as the aviary and peacocks.  While Andalusia has benefited from the generosity of its donors, it would not be what it is today without Craig's hard work and dedication.  His love for Flannery and her art is reflected in his labors to make Andalusia one of the premier literary landmarks in this country.  His enthusiasm for O'Connor is contagious.  I have watched him hold school groups spell-bound with the passion of a street preacher.  Flannery could not have found a more committed evangelist.  Yet he is no ideologue.  He just loves O'Connor's fiction and that love is reflected in his work at Andalusia.  In the summer 2013 Friends newsletter, Paula Lawton Bevington observed aptly that Craig is going to be succeeded not replaced.  He's also going to be missed by so many of us.  It seems appropriate in a way that he leaves us the day before Thanksgiving, for we owe him a debt of gratitude for all he has done to preserve and promote Andalusia.  Please join me in wishing him and his lovely wife, Amy, all the best in their new life in Demorest, Georgia.
- Mark


Cathy said...

Yes! I have very much enjoyed working with Craig on the Southern Literary Trail and other collaborations between Andalusia and the Carson McCullers Center in Columbus. Carson and Flannery might not have been buddies, but Craig and I certainly have been. Best of luck to Craig and Amy in their new missions. -- Cathy Fussell, Retired Director of Columbus State University's Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians.

Sarah Gordon said...

I can't really say farewell; that's too hard. Craig has been exemplary! We've all managed to keep our sense of humor and forge ahead as the result of his delightful and enthusiastic response to the Andalusia mission. Because of his love for O'Connor's work and his persistence, he has made his old teacher proud. -Sarah Gordon, Professor Emerita of English, GC&SU, member of the Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Board of Directors

Pilot Presidents said...

What a lovely tribute to Craig! I know he has earned every good word expressed about him. His name will forever be synonymous with "Flannery O'Connor" and "Andalusia." Best wishes! --Paige Henson, Macon