SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Sixty-five-year-old Craig Harney lost his battle to cancer Saturday night surrounded by loved ones.
Harney worked as WTOC’s Creative Director, and those who knew him say he was an integral member of the community.
“Craig Harney was Savannah,” WSAV Executive Producer Tarcia Bush said. “He loved his city, he loved his community, and he was always doing something to help people. The way I see it, Craig’s death is like a hole in the heart of Savannah.”
Harney began his career at WTOC 40 years ago. He started out as a receptionist for the station while he was studying at Armstrong State University and worked his way up to become the creative director.
Bush was close friends with Harney for 26 years.
“He was the nicest, kindest, most thoughtful man you could ever meet,” she said. “He took the time out to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room.”
Those who’ve watched Harney’s work for years say his storytelling is unparalleled.
“He knew how to get to the heart of the story,” WTOC Vice President Larry Silbermann said. “And everyone wanted their story told by Craig.”
Silbermann worked alongside Harney for 20 years. He says he never met someone so loyal to their community and passionate helping to improve it.
“He was just interested in doing everything he could to help shine a light on what made this area so special,” Silbermann said.
Friends and colleagues say he was most proud of the documentary he shot on civil rights leader W.W. Law, titled “In His Own Words.” He received the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award for this piece, along with many other national recognitions for his groundbreaking work over the years.
Last month, Harney was inducted into the Junior Achievement Savannah Business Hall of Fame. Earlier this year he was awarded the Spirit of Philanthropy Award by United Way of the Coastal Empire.
Silbermann says Harney was always smiling and had a wonderful sense of humor.
“When you would ask him how he was doing, his stock response up until his last day in the building here which was last Wednesday, was ‘Never better,’” Silbermann said.
He leaves behind his wife of 37 years, Suzanne Harney, and his daughters Maggie and Annie Harney.
“Always with that camera on his shoulder. Always with a smile. He was a wonderful father and even better friend,” Bush said.
Visitation services for Harney will be 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 3 followed by a Vigil Service at 6 p.m. at The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Wednesday, December 4 at 10 a.m.
Interment will be in Bonaventure Cemetery immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make donations in Craig Harney’s name to the United Way of the Coastal Empire.