Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Paula Louise Craig

Sunday, November 20, 2022
Paula Louise Craig

Paula Louise Craig passed away very peacefully on November 14, 2022, after a nearly two year battle with brain cancer. Born October 2, 1960 in Fort Dix, New Jersey, she was the loving daughter of Colonel Paul Craig and Miriam Louise (Weaver) Craig. Paula grew up in Claremont, New Hampshire and graduated from Stevens High School in 1978. She attended the University of New Hampshire, graduating in 1983 with a BA in Theater and Communications. After graduation, she was hired at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center and worked as a technician on EPCOT’s Lagoon show fireworks & multi-media spectaculars New World Fantasy, Laserphonic Fantasy, Illuminations & Skyleidoscope. While working at Disney, Paula worked on the pyrotechnic crews for the parks’ daily operational production shows, as well as for special events. She was involved with the design and technical coordination of many of these shows. She was the Pyrotechnics crew chief and logistics coordinator for the Gala event ceremonies for the grand opening of Disney MGM Studios.

After Disney, she became the Laser/Fireworks specialist for the grand opening of Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and was the Pyrotechnics crew chief and logistics coordinator for the Gala event ceremonies for the park’s grand opening. She was an integral part of the creative and technical team that first developed that park’s multi-media show “The Lone Star Spectacular” as well as many other theatrical productions.

On March 27, 1995, Paula married her best friend, Gary Kudrna. They made their home in Ennis, TX and together raised Gary’s sons Ty Kudrna and Chaz Kudrna. Paula loved being “Mom” and friend to Ty & Chaz and “Bonus Mom” and friend to Gary’s stepdaughter Taneel Pace of Jordan, Utah. She also felt blessed to have a big extended family of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins & in-laws.

With the support of Gary, their kids and other family, Paula continued her pyrotechnic career working from a home-based office in Ennis, then traveling around the US and internationally to show locations.

Paula was the grand opening pyro coordinator for the Orlando “O-rena”, MCI Center in Washington, DC, the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, as well as the co-producer and pyro coordinator for the grand opening of GM Place in Vancouver. She was also part of the pyro crew for major sporting events such as NBA games working with many team mascots, NHL games including Stanley Cup Finals and MLB games including All Star games and World Series games. Paula was the event consultant for the US Olympic Festival held at the Alamo Dome. With UnReel Effects of Calgary, she worked PBR events, Canadian Finals Rodeo, and the CFL Grey Cup in Winnipeg. She was part of the on field fireworks crew for the Superbowl XVII halftime show and was the Pyrotechnics coordinator and crew chief for the Superbowl XXV halftime show as well as being the logistics coordinator for the pregame effects, post-game fireworks and game scoring effects for Superbowl XXXVIII in Houston. In 1994, she produced the opening ceremonies for FIFA Soccer World Cup in Orlando. She was the pyrotechnics designer, coordinator and crew chief for the Dallas Stars victory party at Reunion Arena when they won the Stanley Cup in 1999.

From 2002 to 2010, representing Pyro Spectaculars of Rialto, CA, she was the logistics coordinator for the 4th of July Fireworks shows for the cities of Houston, Boston and Seattle. Also representing Pyro Spectaculars, for over 20 years she was contracted to the Princess Cruises Entertainment Department to design and implement pyrotechnic enhancements for their on-board production shows getting to work with several Broadway icons including Steven Schwartz.

Paula worked at every level of the entertainment industry from small, intimate theatrical shows to epic world class multi-media and fireworks extravaganzas like the Power of Houston. While she loved the unique challenges that came from each production, her very favorite part of her work was meeting new people. She truly enjoyed the company of new and old friends; and she cherished every friendship made along the way during every chapter of her life from school to Camp Coniston to work.

She felt blessed that her job allowed her to travel the world, visiting scores of countries on 6 continents. Her favorite travel spots included World UNESCO Heritage sites; historic European cities like Prague and Rome; Sydney Australia; Istanbul, Turkey; Kotor, Montenegro; the Baltics; and the pristine natural beauty of the Juneau, Alaska area, where she visited so often that she thought of Juneau as home away from home.

Her very favorite part of travel was returning home to spend time with her beloved Gary and their rescue dogs. And she loved to catch up with all the kids & grandkids, as well as other family and dear friends.

She cherished Ty, Chaz, and Taneel’s spouses, life partners & families, especially her grandkids, Mason Kudrna, Vicky Kudrna, Ruben Leon and Sysco Pace-Lettig. She also adored all of her nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws.

She is preceded in death by her parents and her beloved brother William S. (Bill) Craig of Bowdoinham, Maine.

An informal “Celebration of Life” memorial gathering will be held at a later date in Ennis, Texas; details to be available shortly. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are kindly requested for the (5030 969-7651; or to a nature (trees, bees, oceans, etc.) conservancy program of your choice.

Eventually, Paula’s family will scatter her ashes in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston to be with bottlenose dolphins, the laughter of children, and glorious sunrises and sunsets. Her family hopes friends will remember her whenever they see the ocean.

Paula kindly requests that no balloon releases be done in her memory since they are so devastatingly detrimental to the birds, wildlife and sea life that she so loved.