David Craven Remarks
John P. Craven Memorial Service
Central Union Church, Honolulu
April 9, 2015
This is the point in the service where one of the members of the family thanks everyone for attending and invites everyone to the reception I am David John's son, and I have been given this duty. I have asked my beautiful, loving and caring wife Gwyn to join me because, frankly, I don't know if I will be able to get through this.
Before I move on to the substance of my duty, I wanted to mention why I am in a suit. When we first moved to Hawaii, and for the first 6 years, Dad continued to wear a suit. It may have morphed into an Aloha Coat, but it was still a suit and tie. So, as a partial salute, I am wearing a suit and one of my Dad's ties.
And now to the substance. On behalf of the family, I want to thank all of you for coming today and to express our heartfelt gratitude to every one of you who are here to celebrate the life of my Dad. We hope that everyone will be able to come to the Parish Hall after the ceremony and to share some time together.
But, as my Dad often said, and as quoted by Matt earlier in the service, if a thing is worth being done, it is worth being done badly. And, of course, he never turned down a chance to talk to a group of captive listeners. He loved to share, inform and talk. And, since I have a microphone and some captive listeners, I am going to say a few more things about Dad. Call this "extra innings" as a tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
I am fortunate enough, or perhaps I should say old enough, to have seen John Craven, the Washington Ocean Scientist, John Craven, the Dean of Marine Programs, John Craven, the musician, and John Craven, the Ancient Mariner We have heard a good deal about many of these persona. I want to talk a bit about John Craven, the Dad - long before he became the Ancient Mariner.
He had many interests and passions in life. He passed many of them on to us. My sister Sarah and I were cleaning out some boxes over the weekend, and this brought back a flood of memories. Football games watching the Naval Academy play. Washington Senator Baseball games. Going to Civil War Battlefields. Going Bowling at River Bowl on Saturday morning while my sister Sarah took toddler dance classes. Planting Rose Bushes. And he would take on amazing and unexpected tasks - like the time I volunteered him to become the Director of the Junior Choir at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church - a task he took on with relish as it gave him a chance to use his Father's music.
Then we moved to Hawaii. The activities changed -- Body Surfing at Bellows, Skin Diving at Haunama Bay, Saturday morning golfing with Jack Tomsky, Hawaii Islander Games at Honolulu Stadium and later at Aloha Stadium. Dad continued to be, to us, a Dad. While Newspapers won't write of this, this was, to my mind, perhaps his greatest accomplishment - That he would accomplish so much, while still being a Dad.
What made him such a great Dad? Ultimately, I think it came down to his desire to interact with people. Because of some of the work that he undertook, he couldn't really talk about his work, so instead he would talk on a wide range of topics from Gilbert and Sullivan to Poker to the "crisp" tone of the Honolulu Symphony.
I was with Dad when he gave his last public speech at Woods Hole. It was the first of a planned week of lectures. He had intended these lectures to serve as a summing up of his life-long relationship with the sea. It was significant that the focus of what had been intended as the first lecture (and what proved to be the last lecture) was on family and duty. After the lecture he wanted to hurry to Lunch so he could interact with all of the students. Not that the lecture wasn't important, but it was his view that the interaction was more important.
Over the years we went to many lectures given by Dad, and each time it was the after-lecture which gave him the greatest pleasure.
I don't know what he would have made of this service, but I certainly know what would have been the best part of today for him. It would have been the reception in the Parish Hall after the service with the chance to share and interact.
One other thing that Dad loved to do was to challenge himself and others to reach for goals that appeared to be beyond reach, and not to fear failure. That aphorism that I stated at the start… that if a thing is worth being done, it is worth being done badly (and to which I add today for clarity, the additional qualification rather than not being done at all - a qualification that Dad would never have added even if he knew it was there). While, for many of his projects, failure was not an option, it only was not an option because, first, you had to learn not to fear failure.
For many years, one of his challenges was breaking 100 at the Golf Course (while following the strict rules of Golf). This was, in many ways, one of his Albatrosses - something that we pursued together for many years. Saturday after Saturday of not fearing failure. He eventually reached that goal.
One of these challenges and joys in his later years was climbing Diamond Head. As a further salute to him, a number of us are going to meet in the Diamond Head parking lot at 6:30 am tomorrow and climb Diamond Head. We may do it badly, but we are going to do it because it is worth doing. And if you want to come and climb it with us as well, we hope you can join us.
Again, thank you from the Family for coming, and thank you for all of the support over the past several years. Please join us after the service in the Parish Hall. Thank you.