Bill Cravens passed away on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, Calif.
Bill was born on Flag Day – June 14, 1932 – to the Rev. Paul William Cravens and Clara Catherine (Hargis) Cravens in St. Louis, Mo. He graduated from high school in Mt Vernon, Ill., and attended Southern Illinois University before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1952.
In the Navy, Bill served more than 14 years as a radio operator and communications technician during the Korean and Vietnam wars. He traveled the world, spending time stationed in San Diego, Hawaii, Turkey, Philippine Islands and Taiwan and toured on several ships, including the USS Albuquerque.
While stationed at Skaggs Island, Bill met and married his wife of nearly 50 years, Claudia (D’Onofrio) Cravens on June 14, 1964. In 1967, Bill left the Navy having earned the National Defense Service, China Service, United Nations Service, Korean Service and Good Conduct medals.
He and Claudia returned to Napa, where they lived and worked for the next 18 years before relocating to Fairfield, Calif. Bill worked in the automobile business in Napa, Vallejo and other parts of the Bay Area as a salesman, finance manager and, most recently, as a driver for Mercedes and the Ford Motor Company.
Bill was quick-witted with a dry sense of humor. He loved dogs, enjoyed good music, good wine, nice cars and a good book. Bill was an avid 49ers fan, having held season tickets from the mid-1970s through the 1990s. He also enjoyed Major League Baseball and followed the San Francisco Giants from the 1950s through present day and often followed the St. Louis Cardinals, as well.
He is survived by his wife, Claudia; daughters, and sons-in-law, Debbie (Steve), Margie (Leonard), Kathleen (Leo) and Paula (Robert); and many grandchildren, Emilee, Daniel, Matthew, Kaylene, George, Gena, Helena, Vincent and Clark) – all of whom Bill loved very much.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Clara.
The family would like to express their personal gratitude to Dr. Lopez and his staff at the NorthBay Cancer Center, as well as the nurses and workers at NorthBay Hospital, with special thanks to Lindy Davis at NorthBay Medical Center Same Day Health Care for going above and beyond. Additional thanks are also extended to Jelly Belly Corporation and the many friends, family members and colleagues who have supported Bill and the family throughout his illness.
Private services have been arranged for Bill’s family and friends to pay respects. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society, to your local hospice or to the VA Northern California Health Care System.
Friends may send their condolences to the family at www.bryanbraker.com, Bryan-Braker Fairfield, 707-425-4697.