Prior to his ordination, he attended Tennessee Technological University and Scaritt College for Christian Workers. He then completed his education at Vanderbilt Divinity School. The next four decades he served as pastor at Alex Green and Dentons Chapel, Chapel Hill, Donelson Heights, Pulaski First Church, Lebanon First, Madison Street, McKendree downtown, and Forrest Hills.
He was called to serve as District Superintendent of the Columbia-Mt. Pleasant District, Pulaski District and Nashville District. He retired from the ministry in 1994.
Rev Craighead was one of the founders and the first board chairman of the Cumberland Mental Health Center and was one of the founders of the Community Care Center in Nashville. He was former Trustee of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, McKendree Village of Hermitage and Hinton Rural Life Center of Haysville, NC.
Active in community and civic work, e was a longtime member of the Lions Club, Pulaski Masonic Lodge as a 32nd degree Mason, a 33rd degree member of Scottish Rite, and Commodore Club.
The family will receive friends Wednesday at Bass Funeral Home in Gordonsville between the hours of 5-7 p.m. and Thursday at Lebanon FUMC between the hours of 10 a.m. until the funeral.
Services will be conducted by Ministers of Lebanon FUMC, Dr. Mike Ripski and David Hesson and Bishop William Morris. Burial will be at the Union Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Cemetery in the Sykes Community.
Survivors include: his wife of 64 years Temple Marie Gwaltney; son Philip Craighead (Darlene); daughter Phyllis Craighead; grandchildren Zachary Craighead (Melissa) and Carissa Stone Wheeler (James); and great grandchildren Madison and Miles Craighead and Xavier Wheeler; foreign exchange students / children Dr. Ad Jooren of the Netherlands and Chiyo Shibata Tokiwa of Japan.
Active pallbearers: Donald Baird, Buford Winfrey, Raymond Tomlinson, Gary Patton, Zachary Craighead, James Wheeler, Robert Lee Smith and Ross Averitt. Honorary: ministers of the Tennessee Annual Conference, their spouses and the Gordonsville High Class of 1947.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, TN c/o Billy and Marie Craighead Scholarship Fund, 433 West Madison Street, Pulaski, 38478 or Lebanon First United Methodist Church 415 West Main Street, Lebanon 37087.
The family wishes to express thanks to "our friends and the staff at The Pavilion for all their love and support".
Arrangements in the care of Bass Funeral Home, Gordonsville.