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Craig Michael Linz, age 47 of Buffalo, Minnesota, passed away Thursday, July 23, 2020, surrounded by his wife and children.

Craig was born on December 24, 1972 to Donald and Patricia (Young) Linz. He graduated from Albany High School in 1991, and attended St. Cloud Technical College, earning a degree in Mechanical Design. He married Stacy Hoffarth on March 16, 1996, and they had two beautiful children, Averi and Conor.

Craig worked for Tetra Pak (formerly Scherping Systems and Carlisle Process Systems), for more than 26 years in Winsted, MN, serving most recently as Customer and Category Manager for Cheese and Whey. His contributions to Tetra Pak and the cheese and dairy industry are numerous and included recognition during his lifetime, recently receiving the 2020 Eggebrecht Award for his drive, good humor and generosity; being a valued member of the “B Team” for the U.S. Championship Cheese Contests; serving on several boards of directors of international, national and regional associations; and two posthumous honors. Craig loved his job, but more importantly he valued the friendships he developed with customers and colleagues.

More than his impressive professional career, Craig was a devoted husband, father, brother, son, uncle and friend. He was the family cook, spending time passing on many of his cooking secrets to his wife and children over the last several months. He was Averi and Conor’s biggest fan. Whether it was extracurricular activities, academic accomplishments, or everyday life moments; he never missed an important event in their lives. Even through treatment, he rarely wasn’t at a game, event, or ready to hear about their day. He recently told them, “The best job I ever had was being your dad”. Craig had a giving heart, calm manner, and a witty sense of humor. He enjoyed spending time with his family, especially going on family vacations, cheering on the Vikings and Twins, annual family deer camp at the farm, fishing, as well as hanging out with friends while enjoying a Bud Light and sharing cheese from his cheese drawer, earning him the nickname “Cheese” in the neighborhood.

Craig is survived by his wife, Stacy; his children, Averi and Conor; the family dog, London; his mother, Patty; brothers and sister, Derrick (Lisa), Paul (Kara), Tresa (Troy) Ringwelski, and Brandon; father and mother-in-law, Marvin and Susan Hoffarth; brothers-in-law, Brad (Gina) and Travis (Molly); 15 nieces and nephews, and many uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Linz; grandparents, Raymond and Catherine Linz and Leo and Tresa Young.

A public family and friend visitation will be held Tuesday, July 28, 2020 from 9:30 to 11:00 AM at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo, MN. A private immediate family Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:00 AM.

Due to today’s circumstances with COVID-19, social distancing and masks are required and all are asked to refrain from hugging Craig’s family. 

Serving the family is The Peterson Chapel in Buffalo, MN. 763-682-1363.

25 Guestbook Entries

  1. Sister Caroline Berres

    My friend Caroline Linz shared with me the death of Craig.
    I want to share with you my thoughts and prayers at this time
    that you would experience the consolation of God’s love.
    We Poor Clares remember in our prayers Craig and all his family and friends. And at this Covid time blessings and peace.

  2. Steve Stettler

    Craig was a great guy, honored to call him a friend and partner in crime. Always had a good time when Craig was around and he was a valued friend to my family as everyone got to know Craig thru the contests.The night Craig told me, is one night I will never forget. Prayers and hugs to Stacy and Craig’s family, wishing you all the best!
    Steve Stettler

  3. Amber Anderson

    My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. May our Lord comfort you and your loved ones.

  4. Ronny Wilson

    My deepest sorrow and condolences for the great loss of a wonderful, sweet, kind-hearted man. Craig was my manager at Tetra Pak for a short while up until his passing. Although his treatments and illness kept him away for a large portion of my time as his direct report, he still found the time to get to know me and support me as I acclimated myself. I will always cherish the memory of my time with Craig! His magnetic personality and genuine care for others is evident in the many personal relationships he had with his colleagues and customers and the love and pride he had for his family was well-known by all who knew him. He never complained or ever seemed to let his illness or the painful side-effects of the treatments get him down. He is a true inspiration for those of us that had the pleasure of working with him! RIP Linzy

  5. Deacon Todd Martin

    Craig was one of the finest gentlemen that I have had the pleasure to work with. We will keep him and his family in our prayers

  6. Patrick Byrne

    My sincere condolences go out to Stacy, Averi and Conor.
    I have worked with Craig for the last twelve years with Tetra Pak and I have come to know him foremost as a man who lived life to its fullest and loved his family deeply.
    I pray that during these very tough times that you will be able to turn to God and your families for support.

  7. Caroline Linz

    It has been an absolute honor to be Craig’s Godmother. He was a great person as a young boy and grew into a wonderful husband and father. He will be missed, as you all know. With sympathy and love to Stacy, Averi and Conor.
    Godmother Caroline

  8. Caroline Linz

    It has been an honor to be Craig’s godmother all these years. He has been a great man, husband, father, and friend. He will be missed by many. With sympathy and love, Godmother Caroline

  9. Trevor Clarke

    I was very saddened by the news of Craig passing my condolences to Stacy, Averi and Conor
    Craig was a great mentor and friend to me during my US posting to Tetra Pak Cheese Systems.
    He worked hard to balance a busy work schedule with family commitments and he was very proud of being a coach for his children’s sports teams.
    He introduced me to American football, baseball and Bud light, his way of ensuring I experienced what he enjoyed.
    Craig will be remembered for his friendship, courage and never give up attitude.
    Rest in peace Linzy

  10. Greg Alberts

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Stacy, Avery and Conor . I am blessed to be able to call Craig friend. As a member of the b- team he was part of our family as well. Lots of fun working hard and enjoying the company of the team. He was a very proud father and a family first guy. Seeing Craig last week was very special for me. I love ya man you will be missed but never forgotten .

  11. John and Tina Young

    John and I send our deepest sympathy. Craig will be missed by many people. He touched countless lives. May you and the children hold tight to the beautiful memories, those moments are irreplaceable and will be glue that holds you together. May God hold your family close and bring the comfort you need in this difficult sad time.

  12. Carl Lins

    Sending condolences to the family and friends who were able to cherish his life. Knowing Craig and working with him for small interactions he was always pleasant and made you feel welcome to the Winsted office. I never got to know him personally however always said hello and exchanged small conversations on e-mail when our names were mis typed. He will be missed by many.

  13. Chuck and Amy Derdall

    Stacy, Averi and Conor,

    My husband Chuck worked for Craig at Tetra Pak. More than a co-worker and boss, Craig was Chuck’s friend. He respected, trusted and admired Craig and always looked forward to talking with and seeing him. I feel like I know your family through conversations with Chuck about Craig and your family. He loved you all so dearly and was so very proud to be your husband and dad.

    Our words will never be enough to express heartfelt sympathies to you. Chuck loved Craig like a brother and his heart aches for your family.

    We are in the process of moving to Missouri and Chuck can’t come to the visitation because of this; it saddens him to not be able to pay his respects in person. We are with you in thought and prayer.

  14. Jim Mueller

    Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss…our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. May Craig soul rest in peace

  15. Matthew M.

    My Heart aches to hear this very sad news. I will always be grateful for the times I got to work with Craig. He always gave me the confidence and, the belief we will pull through in all the many project challenges no matter the issue. I always wanted him involved on my side so much so that, I was sending him communications as of last week.
    My family and, I send our condolences to the Linz Family. In this difficult time, I pray the perfect Peace of God and, ask for his understanding for the Linz Family.

  16. Jim Banks

    Craig was a true gentleman and Icon in the Cheese Industry where he was respected and liked by all.
    Our condolences to his family and many dear friends.
    Prayers for Craig and family.

  17. Darin McKinnon

    My condolences to Craig’s family. Craig was a great guy and I never saw him without a smile even in trying times while at work whatever the task. I always enjoyed my time talking with him and he always made time for everyone. He will be greatly missed.

    Darin McKinnon

  18. Bill Krogman

    I am so sorry to see that Craig passed on. I remember him as a great student and a fine team member.
    A real loss.

  19. Linda Abraham Hall

    Brandon and family; Our deepest sympathies in the loss of your brother, son. May God continue to bless you with love of family and friends. Sending gentle moments of celebrating and sharing the memories and continue to tell the stories to continue Craig’s legacy. the Abraham Family

  20. Jim Mader

    I had the privilege to be Craig’s football coach at Albany High School. He was an outstanding teammate and leader. Just a good solid person. My thoughts and prayers to his family.

  21. Tim High

    My condolences to Stacy, Averi and Conor. Craig was a fine gentleman, husband, father and friend. He will be greatly missed.
    I first met Craig when I joined Scherping Systems in 1999, some 21 years ago. At that time he was still learning the ropes under the guidance of George Schwinghammer and others. They grew into a formidable duo, and worked diligently to build up our business. Craig was always dependable and creative.
    Amongst other things he introduced me to ice fishing, not a natural sport for an Australian, but something he loved sharing with others. He lived life to the full, and I wish all his family the very best for the future.
    Isolating in Tasmania, and unable to travel anywhere, attending his service was not an option, but he is very much in Sheena and my own thoughts.

  22. Mark Collins

    I am saddened with the news of Craig’s passing. Craig was always a kind hearted individual and the most supportive. Craig was the first person at Tetra Pak that I ever talked to about working for the company. He gave me so many opportunities that I am forever thankful for. Craig was a great mentor and leader.

    I am sorry for your loss Stacy, Averi and Conor. Craig will be dearly missed.

  23. The Becks

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Although I didn’t know your husband, I know that the amount of support you have given both Nathan and my family has been nothing but amazing and I would believe your husband to be just as amazing. Please know that your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

  24. Peter Santos

    I have not worked with Craig for several years but I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing. I will always remember his good nature and pleasant personality. He was that kind of person.

  25. Diane Kilian

    Dear Stacy and family,
    I’m so sorry to hear of Craig’s passing. You have my sincere condolences. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Diane Kilian


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