Death of Curtis Craver, Jr., Brings Several Eras Closer to their Ends

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Lt. Col. Curtis Craver, Jr., USA, Ret., was a war hero of “The Greatest Generation” who was in the news a little over a year ago when the son of a soldier he helped rescue tracked him down in Raleigh and paid a visit to reminisce.

He was also, as an adjunct faculty member, a mainstay of the Music Department at NCSU for 45 years, teaching an estimated 65,000 lessons – and launching the careers of clarinetists, near and far, who continue his legacy with their ongoing enrichment of our lives. In addition, he compiled and edited the primary reference work on the NCSU Music Department, having lived a large swath of its history.

His WWII pals, other members of that “Greatest Generation” who were his friends and Sunday school classmates at Ridge Road Baptist Church (some of whom gather every month at Pam’s Farmhouse for breakfast), speak admiringly of his character, his selfless service, and his longevity.

We extend our sympathies to his family, friends, and former students around the world.

The visitation is Thursday, October 17, starting at 6:00 p.m., at Mitchell Funeral Home. The service is Friday, October 18, at 2:00 p.m., at Ridge Road Baptist Church.

Here is the obituary, provided by the family to the funeral home.

In Memory of Mr. Curtis Raymond Craver Jr. : Sept. 17, 1917 – Oct. 13, 2013

Lt. Col. Curtis R. Craver, Jr., 96, of Raleigh passed away at Rex Hospital on Sunday, October 13, 2013 after a brief illness. He was born September 17, 1917 in Clemmons, North Carolina to Curtis R. Craver and Lelia Cornish Craver. Colonel Craver was a 1935 graduate of R. J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem. He attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana on a band scholarship, graduating in 1937. He was also a 1962 graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Craver attended North Carolina State University for three years prior to serving in World War II.
In 1939, Craver was a member of the Fourth Corps Area ROTC Rifle Team. He was an excellent rifle marksman and competed in the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio earning a Marine Corps medal for competition at the 1000-yard range.
During World War II, Colonel Craver served in the South Pacific Theater for three years and four months receiving the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Arrowhead for participating in an amphibious landing on a hostile shore. It was his regiment that received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for taking Clark Field and a major part of Manila.
Immediately after World War II, Craver accepted a position in the United States Postal Service. At the time of retirement in 1975, he was serving as the Director of Employee and Labor Relations for the Raleigh Sectional Center. He also was a past Chairman of the North Carolina Federal Personnel Management Council.
Craver was a finalist in the National Youth Symphony Orchestra auditions in 1939 and 1940 and was auditioned by the Maestro, Leopold Stokowski. Craver became legendary as both a clarinetist and clarinet teacher in North Carolina. He taught more than 65,000 private lessons and master classes to his beloved students.
Craver was also an Adjunct Professor in the Music Department at North Carolina State University for forty-five years during which time he was instrumental in helping to establish the Music Minor. He retired from NCSU in 2003. That year, Craver also received the North Carolina State University Alumni Award of Merit.
Craver authored three books: The 129th Infantry Regiment in World War II (1946); The History of Music at North Carolina State University (2003), and Supplementary Studies for the Clarinet (2007).
He was a member of Ridge Road Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC and attended the Seekers Sunday School Class.
Curtis Craver was a cherished, much loved, unforgettable husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, and uncle. He is predeceased by his wife, Sarah Louise Wilkie Craver. He is survived by a son, Curtis R. Craver, III and wife, Charlotte, of Raleigh; a daughter, Carolyn Craver Congleton of Lexington, Kentucky; a granddaughter, Mollie Anna Craver Jacobs and husband, Ryan, of Wilmington; and granddaughter, Mary Ashleigh Craver of Raleigh. He is also survived by three nieces and four nephews.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Ridge Road Baptist Church, 2011 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607; Baptist Children’s Homes of NC, Attn: Dr. Michael Blackwell, PO Box 338, Thomasville, NC 27361; The Curtis R. Craver, Jr. Endowed Clarinet Scholarship, North Carolina State University Foundation, Inc., Campus Box 7474, Raleigh, NC 27695-7474.
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