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Portions of this obituary taken from the Wichita Eagle via legacy.com
Wichita, Kansas – Lee Craven, a 1947 Central graduate, passed away at the age of 94 on January 17, 2021. Lee grew up on a small farm in Oklahoma, enduring the Dust Bowl years, where he learned to be hardworking and enterprising. He worked his way through Central College in McPherson and then completed his degree at Seattle Pacific College, where he was a member of their traveling quartet. Lee loved music and singing, greatly enjoying both for the rest of his life.
Lee married Doris Cottrill (CC ’48), daughter to George “Cotty” Cottrill. George worked for Central for a number of years. In the early years of Central’s history, George was probably the first official fundraiser for the College, besides the sitting president. Central roots run deep for this family.
Following his marriage to Doris, they moved to Kansas, living in McPherson for a number of years in the 1960s and 1970s. There, Lee began a very long career in sales as a pots and pan salesman for the Lifetime brand. He retired from that job around 1980, moving to Wichita. However, he loved selling so much, he still dabbled in it until age 90, coming out of retirement when Master Guard called in order to sell fire alarms for them until around 2014-15. He excelled at whatever he sold, always ranking at the top of the company in sales production.
Lee was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and also loved his church family wherever they attended. Doris played the organ at the local Free Methodist Church and Lee, of course, sang in the choir. He was happiest when spending time with family and friends, especially when playing pool, dominoes, and card games. Lee was known for taking the bid, no matter his hand! He loved cooking and entertaining, and will be remembered for his famous pot roast dinners. Later in life, his great-grandchildren brought him great joy.
As an alumnus of Central, Lee was part of an important historical event in the life of the college, becoming a member of the first men’s basketball team formed in 1944. He attended the 75th anniversary of that event at the 2019 Hall of Fame Ceremony. Following his time at Central as a student, Lee would later become a board member for a number of years.
Dr. David Ferrell, who knew Lee well offered his sympathies, saying:
I am saddened by the death of Lee Craven, an alumnus of Central and a member of the first men’s basketball team. I have known the Lee and Doris Craven family all of my life. Their son Dennis and I graduated from high school together.
The Craven family’s Central roots go back decades as Doris’ father, George “Cotty” Cottrill, was a pioneer in fund-raising for the College. Lee and Doris supported the College in so many ways including their presence at campus events and with their finances. As Dennis said, ‘Central meant so much to him.’ We are thankful for Lee’s impact on Central and wish the family God’s best at this time.
He was preceded in death by his lovely wife Doris. Surviving him are his children, Cindy (John) Beberman, Dennis (Janice) Craven, and Carla (John) Keller; grandchildren, Shawn (Jill) Craven, Nicole (Jeran) Avery, Katharine Beberman; and six great-grandchildren. He will be missed by his family who loved him dearly. Service to be held Feb. 19 at 1:00 pm, at Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas.
ABOUT CENTRAL CHRISTIAN COLLEGE OF KANSAS
Central Christian College of Kansas is a four-year collegiate institution that strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person through four core characteristics: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about Central, go to centralchristian.edu/about. Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.