W. E. “Jack” Raven, 86, passed away on March 17, 2014. Jack Raven was born in Austin, Texas (in the north Austin area known as Ridgetop) on June 13, 1927, to Martin and Bess Raven. He was a fourth generation Texan whose great-great grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1838 and settled in Austin in 1848.
Jack grew up attending Austin Public Schools and Ridgetop Baptist Church. During World War II, the family moved to the Houston area where Martin worked in the shipyards. As a result, Jack spent his last two years of high school at Davis High, where he was a member of the track team, and excelled in the 100-yard dash.
Upon graduation from high school in May of 1945, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After boot camp, he joined the Navy Seabees and served the remaining months of the War at the Seabee base in Port Hueneme, Calif. Jack continued to serve in the Navy (Seabee) Reserves for another 21 years, until 1968, when his reserve unit (MCB22) was called to active service in Vietnam. He proudly served a tour of duty in DaNang.
In February 1947, Jack and Mary Lou Blundell were married in a small ceremony at his parents’ home on East 52nd Street in Austin. After WWII, he worked briefly as a carpenter with his father. After that, he went to work for Hamilton Electric for a number of years before joining his uncle, Wilson Raven, at Rackley Tool Company, a mainstay business on Congress Avenue for over 20 years. While raising their two sons, Jack and Mary Lou were active at Woodlawn Baptist Church. Once their sons established their own families, they returned to their “home” church, Kinney Avenue Baptist Church, where they remained until his death. Other than his family, Jack’s greatest joys in life were ballroom dancing and hunting doves and deer. Although he didn’t play his first round of golf until he was 68, he fell in love with the game, and played twice a week during most of the next decade.
Jack took great pride from being a Navy Seabee. He was honored for his service as a veteran by participating in the first Austin Freedom Flight in 2012, and joined other veterans on a trip to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Those who knew Jack will remember him for his big heart and caring nature. Among other things, his sons will remember him for all the things he could make and fix with his hands, and for the “eye” he could give to them when they weren’t behaving properly as children.
Jack was preceded in death by his younger sister, Betty Crooks.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary Lou Raven; sons Tim (Gail) Raven, of Stonewall, and Matt (Sharon) Raven, of Conroe; Six grandchildren: Kelly (Brad) Wells, Barrett (Kristen) Raven, Kris (Kayla) Raven, Taylor (Meagan) Raven, Zachary Raven and Graham Raven; and seven great-grandchildren: Katelyn, Kara, Ira, Nate, Wyatt, Krista, and Natalie.
Pallbearers will be Jack’s grandsons and grandson-in-law.
The family wishes to express their gratitude to those who have cared for, called on, and prayed over our beloved Jack, especially Ken Baldwin and the members of Kinney Avenue. Special gratitude also to the staff of The Heritage Independent Living Facility and Brookdale Hospice for their care and concern.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, 2014, at Kinney Avenue Christian Fellowship, 1801 Kinney Ave., Austin, Texas. A graveside service was held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Jeffrey Cemetery in McMahan, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kinney Avenue Christian Fellowship, 1801 Kinney Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704.