Sarah Francis Craig Aldridge, age 95, passed away on May 12, 2018, in Oak Ridge Tenn.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Gaines Aldridge in 1990. She was born in Lawrence County, Ala., to Marlan Houston Craig and Lona June Burch Craig.
She was a direct descendant of John Craig who was a veteran of the Battle of King's Mountain (Revolutionary War) and built Ft. Craig that stood on the ground of the current Blount County, Tenn. Courthouse.
She came to Oak Ridge, Tenn., in September 1943 to be with her husband.
Gaines could not get out of the dorms in Oak Ridge or be with Sarah, unless she got a job. She arrived in Knoxville by train and Gaines was unaware of her arrival, because of mail delays into the city and poor phone access. She gained employment as a support staff member in the U.S. Engineering Division, Army Corps of Engineers and later with the Atomic Energy Commission. She lived in the "Guest House" (Alexander Inn) in an open recreation room for three weeks and then a Dorm in Jackson Square. In December of '43, they were assigned a small East Village home, which she lived in until she died. In the early days, she enjoyed bowling, cribbage and movies.
Her father died in 1929, leaving her mother Lona with 13 children on a cotton farm in the foothills of the Bankhead National Forest. She developed an appreciation for nature and an interest in wildflowers. As residential development boomed in Oak Ridge, she got permission to rescue wildflowers before the areas were bulldozed. She was proud of her work with the Oak Ridge Garden Club, plant sale fundraisers and working in the Emma Spray Garden. She was an Honorary Life Time member of the National Federation of State Garden Club Associations. She was on the Board of Governance of Racheff Gardens (Knoxville) and responsible for the development of the wildflower garden there. She was a Master Flower show judge. Her knowledge of flowers was amazing.
She was a lifetime member of the Church of Christ and spent much of her time in fellowship with New York Avenue Church of Christ and the Quilting Club. She was kind, helpful and generous without forgetting her humble roots.
She is survived by her sons, John Aldridge, of Asheville, N.C., Stanley Aldridge (Anna), of Brandon Miss., and three grandchildren, Sarah J. McMillian (Matt), Caroline G. Hammett (Dusty), both of Knoxville, and Lydia Rose Aldridge, of Brandon.
A Celebration of Life will be at the New York Avenue Church of Christ on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 2 p.m. A simple Graveside Service will be held at Oak Ridge Memorial Garden at 4 p.m. Sunday.
In lieu of flowers, donate to Wild South, 552 Lawrence Street, Moulton, AL 35650, helping to preserve Bankhead NS or donate to your preferred charity or person in need.
It is a blessing to have someone so wonderful in your life who will be so hard to live without.