Danielle Marie Craft died peacefully at her home in Boise, Idaho, on March 24, 2018, at the age of 53 after a three and a half year long battle with cancer.
Danielle was born on November 19, 1964, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Paul O’Connor and Mary Ann Flood O’Connor. She was the older sister to Paul Francis Jr. and 15 adopted siblings: Melissa, Hyun, Lisa, Lee, Katy, Brian, Jennifer, Rebecca, Amber, Andrew, Sarah, Jordan, Bree, and Tyler. She lived in Brockton, Massachusetts, until she was 6. Her family then moved to Avon, Massachusetts, and she attended school there until she turned 13, when her family moved to Cape Cod. They lived there until her last year of high school. She moved with her family to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1982, finishing her senior year at Thunderbird Academy. She was a wonderful older sister and was always helping her parents around the house with her younger siblings. It was around this time that the Mormon missionaries started visiting with her at her home. She became curious about the religion and started attending LDS church services, where she met Shon Ross, a young LDS girl, and they became close friends. She was baptized January 28, 1984.
She met her husband Paul in 1985 at work, where they quickly fell in love. They got married in Gunnison, Colorado, on October 4, 1986. Paul and Danielle started their family with twin girls in 1987(Megan and Chantelle), followed by Cassandra a year later, and MaryAnn soon after. To support their growing family, Paul and Danielle decided Paul should go to college, and they moved to Grand Junction, Colorado. The older girls started school and made friends, leaving little MaryAnn home with her mom to herself. They loved shopping and running errands together. The year Paul graduated, their son Dakota was born, and the family moved to Boise, Idaho, where Paul managed the food service account for the university and Danielle continued to stay at home and take care of their children. In 1996, the family moved to Cape Cod, into the O’Connor house that Danielle grew up in outside of Sandwich. Danielle loved raising their kids in her childhood home, surrounded by beautiful trees, and her children loved having a pond for a backyard. During this time, Danielle and Paul became interested in fostering children. Here, they met siblings Daniel and Emily, who joined the family though adoption. On November 20, 1997, Danielle gave birth to her last son, Jarod. The family moved to Utah for a job managing food service at the university in Ogden in 1999.
Danielle enjoyed many different callings in church over the years including being the Primary President, Relief Society President, a Cub Scout Leader, and a Stake Missionary with her husband. Danielle was very interested in genealogy and loved researching her family tree. She also enjoyed crocheting, reading, and cooking for her family. They made a final move back to Boise, Idaho, in 2003. Danielle found her tribe in Boise, making close friends and finding work she found meaningful. In 2006, she met her good friends Nicole Hines and Nicole Kopping. They loved getting together on the weekend with their husbands for game night while the kids played together. Danielle and her neighbor and close friend Cathy went to all sorts of local events (Art in the Park, Christmas bazaars, 4th of July fireworks). They took their kids to national parks every summer, and they hauled their families out camping to get them unplugged from the television and internet and plugged into being outside and being active.
With all her children in school, Danielle wanted to fill her time helping others, and she decided to substitute in the extended resource room at Lowell Scott Middle School. They loved having her so much that they hired her on as a full-time paraprofessional. She was awarded Classified Employee of the Year for the 2013-2014 school year. In 2010, she decided to go to college to become a Special Ed teacher. When she was diagnosed with cancer in August 2014, she was only a semester away from graduating with her Bachelor degree in Teaching Special Education. Danielle was truly heartbroken when she had to leave the job she loved due to her illness; she loved her school ‘kids’. She flew to Boston to work with cancer specialists and began trial treatments at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She and Paul traveled to Boston every three weeks for her treatment, which allowed her to remain available for her children and grandchildren.
In June 2011, Danielle and Paul became grandparents for the first time to a terrific boy named Scilas. Danielle loved spending time with Scilas; they shared a special bond only known by grandmas and their grandsons. She enjoyed a special family trip to Disneyland with Scilas and his parents in 2015. In April 2016, they welcomed granddaughter Hadley, followed by Sakara in February 2017 and Brighton in September 2017. Danielle loved spoiling her grandkids and loved watching them learn and grow. Danielle’s favorite hope of heaven was that it would be like Star Trek TNG. She believed nothing sounded more fun or important than visiting distant worlds and learning and teaching.
Danielle is survived by her husband Paul Craft; her father Paul O’Connor; her children Marguerite, Chantelle(Jordan), Cassandra, MaryAnn, Daniel, Dakota, Emily, Jarod; Grandchildren Scilas, Hadley, Sakara, and Brighton; siblings Paul Jr., Melissa, Hyun, Lisa, Lee, Kathleen, Brian, Jennifer, Rebecca, Brynn, Amber, Andrew, Sarah, Jordan, Bree, and Tyler; and mother-in-Law Georgia. Danielle is predeceased by her mother MaryAnn; her brother Kevin; her maternal and paternal grandparents; her father-in-law Warren; and nephew Shane.
Funeral services will be held Friday, March 30, 2018, at 11:30 a.m., at the Amity Stake LDS Chapel, 12040 W. Amity Rd., Boise. Viewings will be held at the church on Thursday, March 29, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and before the service on Friday from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m. Interment will be held at the Meridian Cemetery, 895 E. Franklin Rd., Meridian. A Luncheon will be held afterwards at the Amity Stake LDS Chapel for close family and friends. Memorials can be made to the family to help defer any expenses and can be given to the mortuary.
“I guess, that when we pray we should not pray for Heavenly Father to prevent, cause, or change things in our lives, but rather we should pray as the poem says:
God grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Danielle Craft