Thomas Eugene "Gene" Cravens
Thomas Eugene Cravens, son of Sam and Ola (Claxton) Cravens, was born April 28, 1927. He departed this life Sunday, January 6, 2013, at the age of 85.
On December 29, 1950, he was united in marriage to Helen Rader and to this union two children were born, Gary and Carol.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Helen, son Gary and his wife Sandy of Nixa. His daughter Carol and husband Larry Anderson of Mansfield. His seven brothers and sisters: Wanda and husband Darrel Cope of Hartville, Jack and wife Pat of Lebanon, Sue Hensley of Hartville, Linda and husband Glen Blankenship of Mansfield, Wilda and husband Gene Peterman of Jackson, Jerry and wife Kathy of Butler, and Larry and wife Nancy of Lebanon. He is also survived by ten grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, and a number of nieces, nephews, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.
Gene was raised in the Hartville area and attended Durbin rural school and Hartville High School. He became interested in raising livestock at a very young age and developed projects while participating in 4H and FFA that influenced his decision to attend the University of Missouri where he prepared for a career in teaching Vocational Agriculture. While at MU he was also on the track and field team. His college years were interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy
. After college, he taught for seven years in Mountain Grove where he met his wife Helen. They moved to Mansfield in 1955 where he continued teaching and also purchased a local business where he established the Cravens' Feed and Produce which he sold to MFA in 1959. In 1960, Gene left teaching to pursue a career with Modern Security Life Insurance Co. with Pat Jones and later his son Jerry. As vice-president he was instrumental in the company's expansion into many mid-western states. He retired from the insurance business in 1970 to devote his time and energy to his livestock and farming operation. During his years in Mansfield, Gene was very active in civic and community affairs. He was an active member of Lions Club and served as Butter Day Chairman for many years. He was instrumental in community and industrial development. Gene served four terms on the Mansfield School Board. In 1975, during his fourth term, he resigned to return to work as the Vocational Agriculture teacher/FFA sponsor. He continued to teach in Mansfield until his retirement in 1990.
Gene served on many regional and state committees and boards. He was the first president of the Young Democrats in the 1950's, and also served as County Chairman of the Democratic Party. He was appointed to the State Insurance Board by Governor Warren Hearnes; appointed to the Missouri Clean Water Commission by Governor Kit Bond and served as chairman under Governor Teasdale. He worked closely with Congressman Gene Taylor and Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson on agriculture and conservation projects. He served on the MO Beef Industry Council and was a longtime member of Farm Bureau, serving as President of the Wright County Farm Bureau for 13 years. He received the following awards and recognition for service and accomplishments: The Arkansas Traveler Award from Governor Orville Faubus; Bronze Award from the National Vocational Teachers Association and the Certificate of Merit from the MO Heart Association.
Gene was an avid sports fan and loved the St. Louis Cardinals, MSU Lady Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and the Mansfield Lions. He was a big supporter of local youth sports programs, and was recognized for more than 30 years of service to the local sports community. The Gene Cravens Little League Park is still a vital part of our community.
Gene had made a profession of faith in Christ and was an active member of the Mansfield Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Gene's favorite pastime was spending time with his family. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, uncle, neighbor and a friend to many. We celebrate his life and accomplishments and will always cherish the wonderful memories.
Services will be at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, January 12, 2013 in the Mansfield Community Center with burial and military honors to follow in the Mansfield Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday in the community center. Services are under the direction of Holman-Howe Funeral Home, Mansfield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Gene Cravens Memorial Scholarship Fund and made through Holman-Howe Funeral Home, P.O. Box 199 Mansfield, MO 65704.