Craig Vinton

Craig Vinton
2/11/47 – 8/1/12

Craig was born in Portland, OR and adopted by the female physician who delivered him.  She adopted two girls as well and he always spoke very highly of his mother.  Craig was impressed by her as there were few female medical doctors in 1947 and then she became a single mom by choice.  Craig is survived by his sister Janet Campbell of Portland OR and his sister Heather Stoneking of Newberg, OR.  As a kid, he loved animals, especially the family cat.  He performed in the choir as a child and had a beautiful voice.  This is likely when he was bitten by the showbiz bug.  When his voice changed, his singing career ended abruptly, though he stayed very involved in music all of his life.

 

In 1964 Craig and his friend Frank Barton were among the very first to skateboard in Seattle and they started a Saturday workshop in a local park for youths in the area to learn and master the skateboard.  He loved surfing and skim-boarding as well.  Craig graduated from West Seattle High School in 1965 and was well known in the area for restoring and building hot rods that cruised Alki endlessly.  He still had his 1954 Chevy that many remember from those daze. (typo intended)  He loved Seattle and West Seattle especially.  He was active in the community and very involved the Hi-Yu festival for many years, many years before finding out that he was part Cherokee.

 

Craig had the entrepreneurial spirit early on.  Shortly out of school he started a film and photography business with a good friend.  During the early ’70’s Craig became a promoter and held many concerts in Lincoln Park as well as other locations.  Later he created a marinade that he marketed and was quite successful, it was called “What’s dis here sauce?”  He also made beef jerky for a while too.  He was a good at many things and always seemed to have great focus and a real passion for whatever he was doing at the time.

 

Most people know Craig through his entertainment company, AllStar Entertainment.  He did promotions for bars and nightclubs as well as fundraisers for charitable causes, many of which he held dear.  It is believed that he was the first to bring Lip Sync to the Pacific Northwest as well as Karaoke.  Craig was a great MC, DJ and he loved being on stage or in the spot light for private and corporate events.  For many years he ran a youth talent competition at the Seattle Center.  His company provides sound, lights, photo booths, dunk tanks, human gyro rides, sumo suits, inflatables like bouncy houses and obstacle courses, Segways and many other fun things for thousands of events.  He always had the best toys.  He obviously took to heart the saying, “He who dies with the most toys, wins!”

 

It was his wish that his company AllStar Entertainment will live on and it will.  The email and the phones are still being answered, even in this difficult time.  “The show must go on!”  Craig often said.

 

He was constantly creating new things and new ways of approaching old challenges.  He had a workshop where he often would fasten things together that had never been fastened together before, George Carlin would have loved Craig’s ingenuity.  He had recently designed and built a system of LED lights for his 1923 Electric Mercedes convertible for the Torchlight Parade.  He was to drive the mayor in the parade, only to find out just hours before the parade that his services were not needed.  “Well, I have ‘em ready for next time I guess.” he said afterwards optimistically.

 

Craig’s love for our planet and the critters that share it with us fueled many of his passions.  PAWS and other animal shelters were dear to his heart and he often helped out with fundraising events.  The environment and what we are doing to it was always in his thoughts.  His house ran almost entirely on solar energy, as well as four of his electric vehicles that he charged by the sun, whenever possible.  He even washed his clothes with rainwater.

 

He was also often seen buzzing around the city on one of his two wheeled Segways, also electric.  He was a mainstay of the Macy’s Parade where he would appear as The Mirror Man, which was a suit he made that looked like a human mirror ball and he would ride his Segway up Fourth Ave handing out Frangos to anyone within tossing distance of the candies.  Of course, always the entrepreneur, he bought a fleet of Segways which he would rent out to private and corporate clients year round.

 

Craig also gained notoriety for his Simpson collection, as in Bart and Homer Simpson.  It has been said to be the second largest in the world and Matt Groening had actually heard of Craig before they met a few years ago.  When Craig started the collection he had no idea that the Simpson’s would span two decades or that the collection would out grow his house and storage facilities, but he kept collecting.

 

Craig loved to be on the leading edge of technology and trends.  He was always going to trade shows to get ideas to bring back to Seattle.  Craig also loved his friends and was very generous to them.  He was the catalyst that kept a huge network of friends together over many years.  He worked hard and played harder!  He used to like to be introduced for Lip Sync shows or game shows he would Emcee and host as “Seattle’s Oldest Teenager.”  His sense of humor was one of the quickest and most creative.  As his friend, you never knew when the proverbial pie would be thrown your way.

 

Craig had many charitable causes and one of them was the restoration of the Kalakala.   He spent countless hours grinding, sanding and welding.  He loved the look of that old ship, with it’s art-deco design and it’s history in the Seattle area.

 

In 1993, Craig found his birth mother shortly before her death of Alzheimer’s.  Though his birth mother was unable to tell him of other siblings because of her advanced disease, he learned by chance that he had a half sister.  Craig and his “new” sister, Heather became very close and celebrated many holidays together over the years.  The photo at the top was taken about one year Craig’s passing at his sister Heather’s wedding.  Because Craig was such a goof, good pictures of Craig are hard to come by.  In most photos he is sticking his tongue out or doing something equally goofy.  This photo is published with permission courtesy of www.PhotoMacy.com

 

Craig passed quickly on Wednesday August 1st.  He was sitting in his favorite electric vehicle.  He was doing favors for his neighbors and friends by taking their trash to the transfer station during the Waste Management strike.  That is the kind of guy that Craig was.  He had a full social schedule and was on top of his game.  He got his wish, he died very fast, no long illness and no sad ending.

 

Good show Craig, take a bow, you did really well!  You will be sorely missed by many.  First rule in show business, “Always leave ‘em wanting more!”

 

A memorial fund is being set up for the dedication of a park bench in Craig’s name on Alki beach.  A memorial will be held for a small group of friends and family on September 22nd.  If you would like to contribute to the memorial bench or if you have questions or would like information on attending the memorial please email: craigvintonmemorial@gmail.com

5 Responses to “Craig Vinton”

  • Nancy Bradley-Giles says:

    I’ve know Craig a long time, but haven’t seen him in quite a while. I remember all his crazy vehicles – like the hearst. Craig, God loves you and we miss you
    xoxo

  • Lori Pellegrino says:

    I have known Craig since 1972 and he has always been a real stand up guy. He will be missed by his many friends!

  • Charlene A. Haba says:

    I last saw Craig at a memorial service for Kevin O’Hearn at the WS Eagles. Back in June I saw him at the WS High School All-year Reunion. I will miss him.

  • Colleen Rae says:

    Craig, thank you again for your kindness, I think of you often. You left a positive mark on those you left behind. Although I was in costume I finally got to dance with you!

  • Willie and Marva Brown (Todd Brown’s parents) says:

    Craig, we miss you sooo much! Our son Todd Brown was a participant in your “Allstar” Lipsync shows! He won the “Michael Jackson” imposter for your “Championship” show! RIP

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