It is with great sadness that I must report the passing of my dear friend Craig Tarler, Founder of Cornell & Diehl, yesterday evening, September 4th, 2012, following a lengthy illness, at 82.
Cornell & Diehl released the following a few minutes ago:
For the past twenty three years Craig and his partner and love of his life Patty devoted themselves to their family and his great passion, pipe tobacco and pipe smokers. Craig found pipe smokers to be among the most interesting of the people he met during his rich and full life and years of traveling the world. His genuine love of people and friendly, outgoing and larger than life personality was evident to all who came in contact with him, whether by phone or in person. On many occasions visitors would come by to visit at Cornell & Diehl and all had the same reaction, that they felt they already knew Craig and Patty from getting to know them on the phone and felt they were visiting with an old friend on their first face to face meeting.
While Craig will certainly be missed by all whose lives he touched he wouldn’t want us to be saddened by his leaving. He viewed life as a wonderful adventure, meant to be savored and experienced to the fullest and shared with others. Selfishness was a foreign concept to Craig; he gave fully and freely of himself to all he came in contact with and would wish to be remembered with a smile and a heart full of good will for others. Though our world here on earth is a bit darker, we should all be heartened by the knowledge Heaven is a bit brighter, lit by Craig’s rogueish, joyful smile and his booming voice announcing his arrival with the words, “Oh, what fun!”
I first got to know Craig some twelve years ago and we have been close ever since. Whether discussing intricacies of Virginia flakes or a particular oriental varietal, or simply discussing life, I will always fondly remember the hours we whiled away together. Every year for the past seven years, I've made something of a tobacco pilgrimage up to Morganton to spend a day, or longer, with the Tarlers. I am thankful for those times together and Craig's warmth and friendship over the years; he left me with memories of him that I will always treasure.
If the measure of a man's life is in the people he touched and the lives he enriched by his presence, then Craig's was a life well lived. I know that my sentiments towards Craig are far from unique. The pipe world has indeed lost one of its greats.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Craig's wife of more than sixty years, Patty, and his children, Sally, Pam and Chris.