Pastors' Memoirs

Harry W. Craver, 1899-1986

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Harry Wallace Craver was born October 20, 1899, in Baltimore, Maryland. When he graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1926, his college yearbook, "The Yellow Jacket," expressed how he was perceived in this way: "Harry has chosen a noble vocation which should prove very successful in the years to come. He is a lad of ability with many natural gifts. .." His abilities and gifts contributed to a meaningful ministry career which spans two conferences and more than 60 years of service to his Lord.

The beloved "Reverend Mr. Craver" began his ministerial career in 1928 as a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church's Baltimore conference. He and his wife Ruth, whom he affectionately called "Sweetheart," were blessed with two children: Harriet, and Wallace, Jr. In 1933 he went to serve the communities of Greenville and Mint Spring in the Shenandoah Valley. In the mid-1930s, he was transferred to Central Church in Arlington County, Virginia. When unification took place in 1939, he became a member of the Virginia conference of the Methodist Church. He served Elm Avenue in Portsmouth, Cherrydale in Arlington, Ferebee- Halstead in Norfolk, Grace in Newport News and its successor, Noland Memorial, Park View in Portsmouth, and Elm Avenue a second time. He retired from the active ministry in 1969.

Following his retirement, Harry continued to serve his Lord by providing ministerial services to the West Norfolk Church (later renamed St. Mark's) and to Monumental Church in Portsmouth as the minister of visitation. Upon the occasion of his final retirement, Monumental named him "Minister Emeritus" as an expression of their love and respect for his unending ministry. Harry Craver was a special kind of person whom I was privileged to know as my pastor, friend and colleague in ministry. His understanding smile and wise counsel guided me when I made the decision to enter the ministry and continued to be a source of inspiration to me and countless others whose lives were privileged to be touched by this gentle man of God. Often he would share Scriptures with me which were a source of inspiration to him through life's journey. Harry's earthly pilgrimage ended on July 9, 1986 and memorial services were conducted at Monumental Church, Portsmouth, July II by this writer. Carl Haley, Harry's long-time friend and colleague, expressed a sentiment shared by many: "He exemplified the love of our Lord and so unselfishly expended himself for others. He was indeed a kindly Christian gentleman who will always be remembered and loved."  
--R. Franklin Gillis, Jr.

 

 

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