Mr. Curtis Raymond Craver Jr.

September 17, 1917October 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.


  • Visitation Thursday, October 17, 2013
  • Funeral Service Friday, October 18, 2013

Mr. Curtis Raymond Craver Jr.

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Marissa Magee

November 14, 2013

Extraordinary teacher who had such a passion for music and a dear friend. He transformed me from a student who loved music to a student who understood, loved ,and greatly appreciated clarinet music. I still remember vividly one of my lessons when I was warming up, I had begun to play Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (the second part), and all of a sudden Mr. Craver joins in playing the first part in harmony with me. I got chills it was so beautiful, and now every time I hear this song, I hear him playing. When I started teaching young students, I remember the first time I asked him for advice with my students, how enthusiastic he was that I was teaching and how he also used to teach when he was a student to earn money for his lessons. He always gave me the best advice to better understand, connect with, and teach my students. I will miss him so much and am honored to have been his student and his friend.

Colin O'Sullivan

October 21, 2013

I was sad to hear of Mr. Craver's passing. I was a clarinet student of Mr. Craver from 1992-1997 and still have such fond memories of him and his basement studio where we had our lessons. He was able to transform a mediocre clarinetist into a regular all-state band participant. Though I no longer play clarinet, I think the lessons he taught often transcended the finer details of playing clarinet. I saw how setting high expectations for me motivated me to work harder. I saw how clarinet skill was more the result of hard work than natural talent. And I saw how a few carefully placed corny jokes could lighten the mood and make everything seem a little bit easier. He was such a positive influence on my life and I never fail to think of him on the few occasions I do find myself playing clarinet or giving pointers to some of the kids in my neighborhood just starting out on clarinet. I will miss him.

Pauline Leveille

October 18, 2013

Mr. Craver was such a presence in the music department at NCSU. He was kind hearted, someone you could laugh with, and so supportive. When I decided I wanted to get to first chair flute in the band, I took lessons from Mr. Craver and he helped me achieve my goal! Whenever I think of him I smile. We've lost so many music department mentors from the 80's in the past few years, but Mr. Craver was the foundation, the quiet presence, quick with a joke, so talented. We will all miss him so much.

Jesse Krebs

October 18, 2013

Jesse Krebs

October 18, 2013

Jesse Krebs

October 18, 2013

The first time that I heard Mr. Craver play the clarinet was in my first lesson with him in 1993. I actually wished that I could somehow capture his sound and have it come out of my clarinet - his tone was so beautiful, his technique was so clean, and his tapers added so much musicality. His high expectations made me want to be a better musician and transformed me from last chair in my band to first chair in the NC all-state band with a scholarship to college. I'm now in my ninth year teaching as a clarinet professor in Missouri and I use what he taught me everyday with my own students (including a few of his jokes). His passion for the clarinet will remain with me, as well as the memories of going to his basement studio, smelling the wood burning stove and hearing him come down the stairs for my lesson. Even a few years ago in his nineties when I called him to say hello, he was still interested in what I thought about the latest mouthpieces and clarinet models. He continues to be a role model for me - especially in the way that he taught with both compassion and high expectations for perfection. I'm sure that he's looking down from heaven right now playing his favorite clarinet solo from the end of Night on Bald Mountain with a perfect reed and a smile.

Terri Haywood

October 17, 2013

A wonderful man, instructor, and corny joke teller. My son studied under him for 8 years and then went on to major in clarinet at UNC! We have the fondest memories of both Mr. and Mrs. Craver formed during those lessons.

October 17, 2013

My sincere condolences to the family. May God provide you with comfort to cope during this time.

Bev Hill

October 17, 2013

Words are inadequate when expressing how Curtis has affected my life. How can you fathom how much beautiful music he has contributed to the lives of so many people or how many smiles he has generated with his corny but much beloved jokes? His loving relationship with and care of Sarah were so heartwarming and inspirational. I am so grateful that God made sure Curtis passed along his talents to Mollie and Mary Ashleigh so that his gifts will live on through his granddaughters.

Jill Rosenberg Mall

October 17, 2013

I was one of his private students when in high school 1986-1988. He was such a wonderful man and patient teacher. I still play the clarinet, and am so glad to hear that he lived to the age of 96!