Funeral services for Dr. Craig Alan Bex, of Cedar Rapids, were held on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, at the Edgewood Family Fellowship Church with Pastor Dave Beals officiating. Private family burial was in the Cedar Memorial Cemetery with military honors accorded by the American Legion Post 727 and the United States Air Force. Kevin Stittsworth, pianist, and Mark Phillips, vocalist, shared “My Tribute”, “Go Rest High on that Mountain”, “Because He Lives”, “Majesty” and “I’ll Fly Away”. Casket bearers included Steve Russell, Steve Bartman, Mike Myers, Steve Phillips, Scott Ogburn and Terry Johnson. Honorary casket bearers were James Allen Bex, Fidel Jackson, Ray Bertrand and Peter Teahen.
Craig Alan Bex was born Sept. 29, 1953, in Clinton, Iowa. He was placed at birth in the Annie Whittenmeyer Children’s Home in Davenport, Iowa. He was adopted from the home by Norman and Stella Bex. He was raised with a younger sister, JoAnnette, who was also adopted.
Craig started music lessons at age four and continued through high school, being active in band, orchestra, vocal music and theatre. He attended Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. Craig and a group of friends, along with the encouragement of Mr. Ashford, vocal music instructor, founded the Washington Madrigal Singers who have won many awards and national titles.
After high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force and was trained as a Medical Service Specialist, with additional training as an anesthesiology technician. He flew medical air-evac during the Vietnam era. While stationed at Lackland Air Force Base he met Olga Flores and the two were married on Dec. 2, 1972, in Floresville, Texas. Following his discharge, Craig was a piano and organ salesman and demonstrator for two music companies in Texas. While working in Lubbock he was minister of music at a local church. When the pastor of the church resigned, Craig was asked to assume his duties.
From there Craig continued his schooling, and served three churches in Arkansas: Hickory Plains, Clinton and Sedgwick. While at Sedgwick he carried a full college load and pastored three small churches, preaching every Sunday at 8, 9:30, 11, 5:30 and 7. He was on the road so much between churches, that Olga would ride with him reading his text books aloud in order for him to complete homework. It was here that Craig and Olga’s first child, Angela, was born on Jan. 4, 1979. While in Arkansas the family made a trip every summer to Chicago where Craig attended Garrett Evangelical Seminary. On July 26, 1979, Craig was ordained.
Craig then accepted a call to pastor in Carthage, Ind. Three years later, he was called to the Community Church in Newtown, Ind. During this time he completed his Master’s Degree in Religion at Indiana Christian University. Craig and Olga’s second child, Bradley James was born on April 12, 1983. For the following two years, Craig served as the Associate Professor of Bible and Theology at Indiana Christian University.
Craig then accepted a call to serve the Community Church in Kamrar, Iowa, in the fall of 1984. The church met in a rented building, but by 1986 they had built a new church. Craig served Kamrar for 14 years and the children were raised and graduated from Northeast Hamilton Schools. At the dedication service of the new church in Kamrar an offering was taken with hope of building a sister church in the Philippines. God blessed in a powerful way, and the offering was enough to build five churches. A year later, in 1987, Craig was invited by the Christian Evangelical Mission to travel to the Philippines and dedicate the five churches that were built. Subsequently, for 38 days Craig traveled in the jungles of the Philippines, reaching several tribal villages by foot, jeep, horseback and outrigger canoe.
It was only a few years later, because of continued growth, an addition as large as the main building was added to the church in Kamrar. During this same time, Craig was honored with a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Indiana Christian University and earned his PhD in Counseling Psychology from the Christian Bible College and Seminary in Missouri. He completed his practicum at the Minrith & Meier Clinic in Dallas, Texas, and his clinic hours at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Fort Dodge. He also developed a first family and marriage program for those receiving treatment in Fort Dodge. Along with his pastorate, Craig also served one day a week as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Fort Dodge. He became a faculty member at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, teaching Psychology, Sociology, Religion and other humanities.
In 1999 Craig was asked by Bill Larson, the then District Executive Minister of the Iowa Baptist Conference, if he would be willing to drive to Knoxville and fill the pulpit until other arrangements could be made. Craig had no intentions of leaving Ellsworth, but the little church in Knoxville began to grow. In 2001, he accepted the pastorate full time and moved to Knoxville.
In June 2006, Craig accepted the call to become the pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church, now known as Edgewood Family Fellowship. In August 2007 Craig became ill with what was later diagnosed as liver disease. He was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester; and after being placed on the transplant list, he later sought treatment at the University of Iowa. In July 2008, Craig received a liver transplant, and was back in the pulpit by September of that year. Craig was a proud supporter of the Iowa Donor Network and the University of Iowa Transplant Program.
Craig passed away on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, at Mercy Hospital, in Cedar Rapids, at the age of 60 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents; biological sibling, Shirley Sander and his birth father, Robert Jones of Clinton.
He is survived by his wife, Olga of Cedar Rapids; daughter, Angela Bex (Fidel Jackson) of Chicago; son, Bradley James “B.J.” (Jenni) Bex of Cedar Rapids; grandchildren, Kameran and James; sister, JoAnnette Bex of Mesquite, Texas; his birth mother, Rose Jensen of Camanche, Iowa; biological siblings: Merlin Jones of Dripping Springs, Texas, Teresa McCutcheon of Camanche, Gloria Albright of Clinton, Travis and Troy Jensen also of Clinton, and many other family members and friends.
Memorials may be made to the family and will be designated at a later date. Online condolences may be left at BertrandFuneralHomes.com