Cover photo for Craig Noel Hagen's Obituary
Craig Noel Hagen Profile Photo
1950 Craig 2024

Craig Noel Hagen

January 25, 1950 — February 21, 2024

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undivided, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”   

1 Peter 1: verses 3 to 5  KJV

Craig Noel Hagen came into the presence of Jesus Christ his Savior on the morning of February 21, 2024 as his wife, Mindy, prayed over him in their apartment, thanking God for their marriage and the deep love they have for each other. She whispered in his ear, “Sweetheart, the Lord is taking you home; you’re ready to go and I’ll be okay. We’ll be together again someday.” Upon hearing these words, Craig took his last breath and passed from this life to heaven’s glory.

Native San Diegan and outdoorsman, Craig was born on January 25, 1950 at Quintard Hospital in San Diego, CA to parents Howard L. Hagen and Alice M. (Sharpe) Hagen. He was their only son and second child after daughter Elizabeth (Hagen) O’Brien, a loving and sweet girl who doted on her little brother. 

Craig was continually in awe of God’s creation. He marveled at beautiful sunsets, cloud formations, the moon and stars, song birds and animals. He knew the names of wildflowers and plants which grew along the trails he hiked. Now with his Lord and Savior for eternity, Craig’s earthly body will be laid to rest at Greenwood Memorial Park on March 4th, 2024 at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Attending church for many years, Craig sang in the men’s quartet, taught Sunday School and was on the softball team. “Because He Lives” and Galatians 2:20 are his favorite song and Bible verse.

There were special times in Craig’s childhood he wouldn’t have otherwise had, if not for his father being a sports writer at the San Diego Union for twenty nine years. Young Craig was fascinated seeing the inner workings of the newspaper and thrilled to be the “water boy” during football practice at Aztec Bowl, a ‘job’ he loved. At Christmas time the football players were welcomed by the Hagen family to join them for a delicious holiday dinner prepared by Craig’s mother. There were visits by Jack Murphy, too! 

One of Craig’s best memories as a kid was going fishing with his dad in San Diego Bay and taking trips to Mexico’s Bahia de los Angeles, 325 miles south of San Diego. He liked to reminisce about catching Queen Triggerfish, Yellowtail, Bonita, Cabrilla and Mexican Sierra and the fun he had being with his dad. 

Craig had a passion for airplanes and learned to identify them by their shape, size and sound. In the 1950’s his family lived next to Morley Field in Balboa Park and Craig watched with excitement when the B-24 Bombers, B-17’s and B-36’s were flying above his home on Park Villa Drive.

High School sweethearts, Craig and Mindy (Morton) Hagen were married on February 28, 1969, six months after they met. “When you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, why wait?” They were blessed with a daughter, Dawn Noel (Hagen) Dorough, a third generation San Diegan, later that year on December 7th. The family lived in El Cajon until 1970 before moving to North Park when the ‘Cajon Zone's’ summer heat became too much for baby Dawn. 

From 1970 to 1974 Craig worked full time at Jack-in-the-Box (nights) and attended college full time (days) at Fletcher Hills Bible College, now Southern California Seminary, where he received his B.A. in Christian Education. In Craig’s last semester of college a private Christian school in Poway contacted the college to ask one of the professors if he would consider teaching Greek to their high school students. The professor responded, “Unfortunately, I can’t accept your request due to my schedule but I will send my best student.”Thus began Craig’s eleven year career teaching Greek, Spanish, Chemistry, Biology, Math Physical Education and Music at Poway Christian School and later, as the junior/senior high teacher and principal at Immanuel Christian School. A gifted and beloved teacher, Craig’s commitment and dedication, coupled with a great sense of humor and witticism endeared him to the hearts of his students. Many kept in touch through the years and said he was the best teacher they ever had.

During the gas crisis of 1973 to 1974, moving from San Diego to Poway was imperative if Craig was to continue teaching. There was a rationing system based on car license plates. If you had an even number, you could only get gas on even numbered days. Cars encircled city blocks as people waited more than an hour for their turn at the pump. In order to cope with the gas shortage, Craig moved his family to Poway, the “City in the Country” where Craig and Mindy resided until he breathed his last.

As America anticipated celebrating its Bicentennial and everything was awash in patriotic colors of red, white and blue, including baby clothes adorned with bright appliqués of flags, stars and emblems, Craig and Mindy were looking forward to welcoming their second child. Darrell James Hagen was born on October 28th, 1975. Proud of his daughter and son, Craig relished his role as their dad and they are blessed with happy childhood memories and of special times with him in their adult years.

An avid cyclist and hiker, he embraced every opportunity to explore the trails, wilderness and hills around San Diego County. Yosemite National Park was Craig’s favorite place to vacation. He was drawn to the breathtaking grandeur of Yosemite Falls, Hetch Hetchy, Mariposa Grove, Wawona, Vernal and Nevada Falls, Glacier Point, Bridalveil Fall and more. Twice he climbed Half Dome, the first time with his son, Darrell, and proudly wore the famous park’s shirt “I Made It To The Top!” Not willing to limit himself to hiking and biking, Craig also enjoyed taking to the skies as a pilot and seeing views of the ocean, desert, and areas in between from a new perspective.

Board member and treasurer of The Poway Pilots, a club for RC enthusiasts who flew their planes at Sycamore Canyon Preserve, Craig was sorely disappointed when the field closed because of environmental issues. He decided it was time to earn his private pilot’s license and fly real aircraft. Craig often took Mindy with him and they enjoyed flights together. Even though she didn’t know the first thing about flying she was so happy seeing her husband happy! In 2018, Mindy surprised him with a flight on the B-17G Flying Fortress. He sat in the bombardier’s station as it departed Gillespie Field and flew west over San Diego Bay. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and Craig savored every minute!

He was a man who could fix and repair almost everything. His abilities and inventive mind were evident in model rockets he made and set off from an elaborate launching pad, as well as the detailed layout complete with bridges, tunnels, lakes and countryside for his N scale model trains. Craig made RC airplanes, including a F4U Corsair and World War ll P-40; models of the USS Constitution; classic cars and V-8 engine models, and a small scale replica of his childhood home. He loved hobbies that were challenging and enjoyed creating designs for and making latch-hook rugs, string art and needlepoint. 

Craig was self-taught in computers and began his second career at General Dynamics Corp. in 1984, eventually working for Datagraphix Inc., Anacomp Inc., and lastly, as Senior Logistics Analyst Programmer at Petco Corporate Headquarters in San Diego until his retirement in 2008. One of his co-workers has said, “Craig on his worst day is better than anyone else on their best day.” What a compliment to the high standards Craig held of himself! Faith in God, a strong work ethic, trustworthiness, integrity and honesty, whether in the workplace or elsewhere, were part of the fabric of his life.

Alzheimer’s raised its ugly head when Craig was 55 years old. After being told the news he commented, “At least I know what I’m going to die from.” Craig was an intelligent man and diagnosing him was a challenge for the team of doctors at UCSF. His brain found ways to come up with the right answers during testing but most of the doctors agreed he had early-onset Alzheimer’s. Mindy tirelessly researched about the disease and became Craig’s advocate. Eager to do his part by helping others with AD, Craig participated in a two year clinical research study at Sharp Mesa Vista where he received ongoing memory tests, brain scans and infusions of experimental medications.

Craig and Mindy embraced the truth that each day is a gift from God and they determined to be thankful and keep trusting Him no matter what their circumstances. They lived the next nineteen years to the fullest, due in part to Craig’s optimal health. Many days he’d ride between fifteen to twenty five miles on his bicycle, eventually riding on every street in Poway and branching out to Rancho Bernardo, Carmel Valley, 4S Ranch, Santee Lakes, Tierrasanta, Penasquitos, Lake Miramar, Escondido, and Torrey Pines by way of State Route 56. He kept detailed journals of the places he biked and hiked, and the mileage of each excursion, adding up the miles at the end of the year. When Craig wasn’t outside in God’s beautiful creation he enjoyed working on puzzles, reading books about nature, and playing his guitar. Oh, and eating ice-cream, too! He said it is one of the four food groups.

Mindy was amazed at his vast knowledge on many subjects and she’d ask, “Craig, how did you know that?” His answer was always, “Well, you just pick these things up as you go through life” to which she’d reply, “I don’t pick these things up as I’m going through life” and they’d laugh. Craig loved to make Mindy laugh! He did impersonations of famous people, danced to wacky songs of the 1960’s, and spoke with foreign accents in his delightfully uninhibited way. The last few years after losing his sense of direction, Craig and Mindy were always together, holding each other’s hand as they went for walks around the neighborhood or to pick up the mail. He hugged and kissed Mindy often during the day and thanked her for all she was doing. She felt privileged as the one person who loved and knew him best. They were a team and theirs was a true love story.

Craig’s family and friends miss his expressive face, big smile, the hugs he freely gave, his outgoing personality and all that made him the unique person he’ll always be remembered for.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Mindy and his much loved son, Darrell Hagen; daughter, Dawn (Hagen) Dorough and son-in-law, Fin Dorough; sister, Elizabeth O’Brien and brother-in-law, Stephen O’Brien; grandsons, Elliott Dorough and his wife, Kimberlee Dorough, Grant Dorough and Oliver Dorough; nieces, Sarah McNamara, Sara (O’Brien) Paulk, April Chase, Devon Searles; nephews, Donald Morton (deceased), Michael Morton and his sister, Alyson (Morton) Harmon; cousin Nicholas Hagen, MD and his wife, Mary Lou (Edvalson) Hagen, as well as grandnieces, grandnephews, and many wonderful friends!

Our family greatly appreciates your friendship and support. Sharing your memories of Craig in the Guestbook below brings comfort and encouragement to us now and in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you for your special thoughtfulness.
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