Cover photo for Gary Lee Cravens's Obituary
Gary Lee Cravens Profile Photo
1947 Gary 2022

Gary Lee Cravens

October 16, 1947 — October 22, 2022

“I told you I was sick!” He said that’s what he wanted on his headstone. Fitting for the funniest guy to ever walk the earth! Gary Lee Cravens passed on October 22, 2022 in Twin Falls, Idaho after a two year battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his family. Gary was born on October 16, 1947 in Cincinnati, OH to Lloyd & Virginia (Sweet) Cravens. He always claimed he was a big city kid, but they moved to Twin Falls, Idaho when he was 2 weeks old. He grew up in Twin Falls and attended St Edwards Catholic School through 8th grade, then O’Leary Junior High and graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1965. While working in high school at Marty’s Market he met his sweetheart, Marie. It took him two years to convince her he was worth her time. His high school graduation night was their first date – which kept him on the straight and narrow as he was trying to impress her. They drove from Twin Falls to Sun Valley and were almost killed by a train going through Shoshone – which is ironic because he spent much of his youth in Shoshone at his Grandma and Grandpa Sweet’s home and was very familiar with the trains. In 1966 he attended the College of Southern Idaho during their inaugural year – CSI didn’t have their own campus at that time so classes were held in the evening at Twin Falls High School. Marie was still in high school so Gary & Marie shared her high school locker, leaving sweet notes for each other. They were married in Twin Falls on August 18, 1967, and were blessed to celebrate 55 years of marriage this past August. Within their first year of marriage, they moved to Boise where Gary worked as an auto body painter at Bob Rice Ford. They welcomed their oldest and favorite daughter, Christa in November 1968. In 1970 they moved back to Twin Falls where he was co-owner of Harv N Gary’s Auto Body Shop. In 1971, their youngest and favorite daughter, Heather was born. Marie’s father, Clinton Earl was a fireman for the Twin Falls Fire Department and knew the city had plans to change all their fire trucks from red to yellow. Clinton recommended Gary’s painting skills and he landed the painting contract which started his association with the fire department. In 1974 he joined the ranks of the TFFD and over the course of the next twenty-five years he worked his way from a hoseman, driver, and captain until he retired with the rank of battalion chief in 1999. He met many lifelong friends as they served the City of Twin Falls for 25 years. In his leadership roles with the TFFD he was a stickler for safety and rules, some may say a bit of a hardass! The day he retired and left the Main Station on 2nd for the last time, he stopped at St Edward’s Church and offered a prayer of thanks that none of his men lost their lives on his watch. Then he threw his watch out the window on highway 30 driving home and started growing his iconic beard! On the day he passed he said he didn’t want a bunch of fanfare with fire trucks and firemen in their dress uniforms, “They don’t get a day off on my account, they should stay at work!” making us laugh till the end. Most firemen have side gigs on their days off. For years he worked in the auto body world, painting cars, some of which can still be seen at car shows. He was a perfectionist and would often back a car out of the shop only to find a tiny flaw (not seen by the customer) then pull it back into the shop, sand and paint again! Later he started Magic Valley Extinguishers and serviced many local businesses. After he retired from the TFFD he wanted more freedom in his schedule and sold the extinguisher business. Then he turned a hobby into a little business with Gary’s Sharpening Service. His business card was a band aid with his phone number stamped on it, and it was always needed. He loved his family! He absolutely adored Mom, Peaches as he called her, and was a fierce protector and provider for her. He was quite possibly the best dad two girls could ever have! He taught us many life lessons, how to work, how to be honest, how to have fun, how to love, and how to return our shopping carts to the store . . . he was certain that would be the act to get him into heaven! He was born in the wrong century! He loved old westerns, history, horses, shooting in the desert and camping in the mountains. He loved our family cabin in the South Hills, and his hands have touched, built and repaired almost everything there. Camping around Idaho and trips to the cabin were our family vacations. To sit around a campfire with Dad and glean his insightful perspective on life was a treat and a treasured memory for anyone who was blessed to do so. He kept an entertaining camping journal and would add notes after he went in the trailer at night about where they took the piss buggies for the day, who showed up to camp, and how many moose walked through camp. I’m not sure if it was a good thing to be mentioned in the journal or to hope your behavior didn’t warrant an entry?!? Over the last two years he couldn’t breathe well at high altitudes or around a smokey campfire and we could all feel the void without him there. He missed the mountains and the mountains missed him. He was a Campfire Legend! In 1990 Idaho celebrated 100 years of statehood and Dad was able to participate in the Idaho Centennial Wagon Train. They left on horseback from Minidoka and ended 2 weeks later in Arco. Sleeping under the stars with a bedroll and eating over the fire. He was such a cowboy at heart! After years of enjoying their horses and many trail rides in the mountains and across the desert he got tired of breaking the ice on their water trough. He sold the horses and bought their first piss buggies (4 wheelers). To honor his horses, he framed a picture of each horse and mounted it on the handlebars of each buggy. He was a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan! Winning or losing didn’t matter, they were his team! He loved music. Bluegrass, banjo pickin, old country music like Waylon, Don, Willie, Merle and Johnny! He didn’t read music but taught himself how to play the guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, really anything with strings! He always had an instrument close by to pick up and quietly plunk out some cords until he could play a song from the radio. Or better yet, entertain us with one of his original songs! Guaranteed to be colorful and comical! Dad loved spending time in the desert and mountains. For years Mom & Dad were part of a local Geo-Caching club which gave them a great excuse to explore more of Idaho and ride back country trails together. The saying, “When I die, I hope my wife doesn’t sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them!” should have been his anthem! He built guns, collected guns, traded guns, and shot guns his entire life. His Grandpa Sweet shared that love with him. He taught us how to shoot when we were young and instilled in us a deep respect for guns. He wasn’t much for leaving the comforts of home. But when they did venture beyond Idaho, he thoroughly enjoyed seeing new places. Mom and Dad loved the Alaskan Cruise they took together, and he was absolutely mesmerized by the Pacific Ocean! Dad was a man of his word. He lived by the motto . . . Say what you do and do what you say! He didn’t tolerate tardiness. And had no room for dishonesty! He was a giant of a man, quietly larger than life, and his passing has left a gaping hole in our hearts! He will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know and love him! He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd & Virginia Cravens, brother James Cravens, brother-in-law, Stan Jantz, Grandparents, Gilbert & Ailene Sweet, Luther & Edith Cravens. Survived by his sweetheart, Marie Cravens, Filer, daughters, Christa (Scott) Burnett of Gooding, Heather (Brett) Schlund of Kimberly, Sisters, Susan (Steve) Sharp of Filer, Lori Jantz of Twin Falls, and brothers Tony Cravens and Joe Cravens of Twin Falls. Grandkids, Christopher (Katie) Burnett, Michael (Amy) Burnett, Trintin Burnett, Claira Burnett, Mackenzie (Zachary) Calderon, Caden (Lindsey) Schlund, and Isabelle Schlund. Great grandkids, Jet, Rowen and Karsen Schlund. To View Gary's Video Memories Click Here: https://youtu.be/ZKo4LxAZS74 https://www.tributeslides.com/tributes/show/BFTH2Q9MS9SPYC7R
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