Craig P. Greason '48
Deceased March 19, 2009
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- Born March 25th, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY; Craig was an only child raised by father, Judge Samuel Greason Jr. and mother, Rita Pomeroy Greason at 61 Whitehall Blvd. Gardena City, NY;
- He graduated from The Choate School in 1942;
- Entered Cornell in the summer of ’42;
- He joined the Eight Air Force in 1944 and eventually was selected to pilot B17 bombers.
- In the war, Dad’s crew flew 48 missions. His group, the 457th Bombardment Group was known as the Fireball Outfit, and his crew were the Lonesome Polecats. The planes they flew got so badly shot up by the Germans that 6 of them never flew again, yet Dad brought them home. He gained a reputation as being lucky, a pilot who always brought his crew back home, and some of his crew refused to fly with any other pilot. They crash landed three times, once in the North Sea, once in a Belgian mine field, and another time over Germany, when they were captured.
- As prisoners, they were marched 20-30 miles per day across the German countryside for 2 weeks. Dad’s schoolboy German was adequate to convince his captors that the war was almost over and that it was in their best interest to keep his crew alive. Eventually his captors signed them over to a local magistrate and abandoned them to go home. The 16 prisoners overwhelmed the magistrate with his single-shot rifle and Dad’s crew was then reunited with Patton’s army, and got to return home in 1945.
- Dad entered Amherst College in 1945 and graduated in 1948. He graduated from Harvard Business School in 1950. He then worked in advertising, first for Hearst Magazine and then for himself. He held several patents for inventions used to insert perfume samples and coupons into magazines.
- He married Suzanne in 1954. They raised three children in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island.
- In 1999, Craig and Suzanne moved to Orinda, CA following the westward migration of their three children, who had provided 5 grandchildren 3,000 miles away.
- Craig passed away on March 19, 2009 (6 days short of his 85th birthday) of his second heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; three children and 5 grandchildren.
Craig Greason of Orinda, Calif., died March 19, 2009, at age 84 from a heart attack. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 25, 1924.
Craig graduated from the Choate School in 1942 and that summer entered Cornell. He joined the Eighth Air Force Division in 1944 and was selected to pilot B17 bombers. His group was the 457th Bombardment Group, known as the Fireball Outfit, and his crew was known as the Lonesome Polecats.
They flew 48 missions. Craig, known as “Lucky” because he always brought his planes back to base, and the crew crashed landed three times: once in the North Sea, once in a Belgian mine field and lastly over Germany where they were taken prisoner. They were marched 20-30 miles a day through German countryside. Craig used his high school German to convince his captors that the war was almost over and that the crew should be kept alive. Eventually, the captors signed 16 prisoners over to a local magistrate and abandoned them to go home. The prisoners overwhelmed the magistrate who was armed with a single shotgun. Reunited with Patton’s army, they returned to the States in 1945.
Craig entered Amherst in 1945 graduating in 1948. While at Amherst, he belonged to Theta Delta Chi, glee club and DQ and played soccer. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard in 1950.
He joined Hearst Magazines for five years and then formed a sales consultancy, eventually building it into a sales promotion agency.
In 1999, Craig and Suzanne moved to California to be near their children.
For the Spring 2009 issue of Amherst, Craig wrote, “After 64 years, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded me the POW Medal (shot down and captured March 2, 1945)! Bureaucracy! Regards.”
Craig is survived by his wife, Suzanne, whom he married in 1954, three children and five grandchildren.
He will be missed.
-Adrien Ringuette ’48