John Watson Craven, born August 2, 1924, to James Robert Craven and Gennie Elizabeth Warwick in Cleveland, GA, passed peacefully into the Kingdom of God Thursday, July 8, 2021 at Givens Highland Farms in Black Mountain, NC. He was 96.
He is survived by his loving sons, John Currie Craven of Norwood, CO and Robert Craven (Laura) of St. Petersburg, FL and his brother, Charles Eugene Craven of Rock Hill, SC, and his grandchildren, Waine Alexander of Orlando, FL, and Emily Ann of St. Petersburg, FL, and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased in death by his wife, Ann McLeod Craven, his brothers, William Clifford Craven, Robert Hoyt Craven, Earl Mark Craven, and Talmon Philmore Craven, his sister, Hannah Elizabeth Craven, and his daughter, Elizabeth Ann Craven.
John grew up in Hickory and Newland, NC and graduated from Newland High School, attended Davidson College, graduated from Hampden-Sydney College, Columbia Theological Seminary, and the University of Edinburgh with his PhD. He was ordained in 1947, a United States Navy Chaplin, and called to his first pastorate at the Church in the Pines, Laurel Hill, NC. During this ministry, John met Ann while working at a Presbyterian youth summer camp. In 1953 they married and began their lifelong partnership in the Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Bartow, FL where their three children were born. He loved and cherished his wife and children and enjoyed sharing stories about them with anyone who would listen. John loved everything Scottish, wearing his kilt whenever he could, and enjoying his active membership in the Montreat Scottish Society.
John also enjoyed serving as Pastor of Tabb Street Presbyterian Church, Petersburg, VA, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lynchburg, VA, First Presbyterian Church, Hampton, VA and First Presbyterian Church, St. Petersburg, FL. After his retirement in 1983, he continued in his ministry by providing interim service at First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Ashville, NC, Crossnore Presbyterian Church, Crossnore, NC, and Bridgewater Presbyterian Church, Morganton, NC.
John was an active and celebratory participant in life. He enjoyed family and friends, worldwide traveling, golf, tennis, and croquet. Camping with his young family was dear to him and in retirement, living in his beloved Montreat, NC was John’s contentment. John was never at a loss for words, whether a poem by Robert Burns or Robert Service, a favorite hymn, or homily of his own device, he gladly shared with all. No one was a stranger for long after meeting John but quickly became a friend.
Interment will take place at Montreat Columbarium / Memorial Garden on Saturday, July 17 at 11:00 AM. A service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at Givens Highland Farms Assembly Room thereafter at 1:00 PM with a time of fellowship and greeting to follow. The service officiants are the Reverend Doctor Steve Runholt, the Reverend Eugene Craven, and the Reverend Lynn Bledsoe. John would be honored by memorial gifts made to Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church.