Born in St. Paul, Croft was raised on the family farm across the road from the Curtiss-Northwest airport. Watching planes daily, got him enthused about flying. He opened an auto repair shop in St. Paul and gave visiting pilots low prices on their repairs. Croft barnstormed an OX-5 Travel Air and taught in the Civil Pilot Training Program and the War Training Service (WTS) at Wold-Chamberlain for Mac McInnis, and later at Rochester. With partners Art Hoffman and Henry Robinson, he started Gopher Aviation at Rochester. In 1943, Croft joined Mid-Continent Airlines and stayed with them after a merger with Braniff Airlines, retiring as a senior Captain. In post-war years, Croft helped major corporations, such as 3M, Pillsbury, and Peavey, set up flight departments.