Craig Anderson passed away at 60 years on Friday, December 4. Craig fought a short, but hard battle with metastatic lung cancer. He was preceded in death by his mother, Dawn (nee Barse) Seaboy. He is survived by his best friend, ‘boss lady’ and wife of 43 years, Beverly.
Craig is also survived by his sisters Diann and Kristen. Craig leaves behind nieces, cousins, family and friends too numerous to count.
Craig was born and raised on the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota, where he met his wife, Bev.
Craig was the long-time President of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (AICCW) and the Executive Director of First American Capital Corp (FACC). Craig was the “face” of the Indian Chamber of Commerce for many years. But better said, he was a “Warrior” for Native-owned businesses in Wisconsin. Craig was the co-founder of FACC, which became Wisconsin’s first loan fund to support Native-owned businesses in Wisconsin. FACC has become a nation-wide model for how to support minority owned business and support economic development.
For many years Craig served on the Tribal Task Force for WisDOT which ensured that Native-owned businesses participated in contracts for road building projects throughout Wisconsin. He served on other state and local committees that had the same objectives. Craig made sure that Native-owned businesses had a seat at the table and a voice in the decision making. He was passionate about promoting economic development in Wisconsin’s Native community.
In addition to being an advocate, Craig also provided one-to-one business counseling and assistance to countless small business people. He shared his time, talent and resources with everyone he met. Small business owners throughout Wisconsin have talked to Craig at one time or another for advice and assistance. He was their true Champion.
Additionally, Craig collaborated with the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce-Milwaukee and assisted the African American Chamber of Commerce sharing best practices and knowledge along the way.
Craig was the host of the AICCW reception at the Indian Summer Festival for many years. This event allowed tribal leaders and businesspeople from throughout the state to network and celebrate their accomplishments for the evening. Craig and Bev also organized the annual AICCW golf event held at Pine Hills Golf Course or the Thornberry Creek Golf Course. This was a signature event for Craig that he enjoyed every year because he was able to see old friends and make new ones. Over a 20 year span this event has raised over $300,000 for college scholarships for Native students pursuing their college education. Craig was proud of the fund raising, but he was even more proud of knowing that future generations of Native students were getting the financial resources they needed to live out their dreams and aspirations.
Previously, Craig and Bev lived in North Dakota and Florida before locating to Milwaukee almost 33 years ago. Craig was an Operating Engineer for many years and owned his own IT business before making the transition to working exclusively for Native-owned businesses in Wisconsin.
Craig had a love for golfing, fishing, grilling and cooking meals.
The family wishes everyone to stay safe and healthy and thus have made the decision to have a Memorial gathering for Craig in the spring/early summer. More details to come later.