James Theodore Kraver, Jr

August 15, 1927 - September 17, 2021

JAMES (JIM) T. KRAVER, Jr, – CAPE CORAL. Jim moved to Cape Coral in 2017 after living in Satellite Beach, FL, with his wife since 1967 to be near his son Mark and his extended family. He died 09/17/2021 at Health Park Medical Center at the age of 94. Jim was born and lived in Mobile, Alabama, until 17, when he enlisted in the US Navy. He served four years during WWII, 38 months in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Shelton (DD 790), as an Interior Communications Electrician.

After receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy, Jim entered the School of Engineering at Alabama Polytechnic (Auburn University) and earned a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, the Sperry Gyroscope Company, located on Long Island, NY, employed him as a Field Engineer. It was there he met and married his wife, Eileen. During the three years with Sperry, Jim and Eileen moved extensively. They had several exciting assignments, including the B-47 Bombing and Navigation System, radio wave propagation experimental studies that led to the LORAN navigational system, and Sperry’s Marine Products Division as sales service engineer.

As the family began to grow, Jim left Sperry, moved back to Mobile, and was employed as an Electronic/Industrial Engineer for the next ten years by the USAF Air Materiel Command at Brookley AFB in the Maintenance Directorate. He designed and implemented overhaul and testing facilities for the first-line aircraft, including engines, accessories, and ground support equipment. He was the Chief of the Engine Engineering Branch when the base closed. Jim changed jobs during the base closure process and moved to NASA’s Mississippi Test Facility (now known as the Stennis Space Center), where he became an actual rocket scientist working with the likes of Dr. Wernher von Braun. In support of the Apollo Program, he participated in building facilities and test firing the first and second stages of the Saturn V space vehicle that sent man to the moon. Near the end of the testing program in Mississippi, Jim transferred to Patrick AFB, Florida’s Eastern Test Range, where he was employed by the Ground Electronics Engineering and Installation Agency (GEEIA). There he participated in the design and installation of communication systems throughout the Eastern Test Range that extends more than 16,000 km from the launchpads of Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island across the Atlantic Ocean and Africa into the Indian Ocean.

When the space program declined in the early 1970s, Jim transferred to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, Air Material Area’s Directorate of Maintenance as Chief of the Automated Test Equipment Branch. Here he managed and supervised the design and development of diagnostic software to repair avionic/electronic systems and components. Four years later, the AF Communications Command asked him to return to Patrick AFB as Chief of the Engineering Field Office. Later, he transferred to the Eastern Space and Missile Center, where, in December 1988, with 36 years of federal service, he retired as AF Chief of Maintenance. He received a letter of commendation signed by President Regan at the retirement ceremonies and a medal of outstanding civilian service. After retirement and for the next 14 years, Jim provided consultant services to prominent corporations, such as RCA, General Electric, Lockheed, and Johnson Controls, helping them win significant government and commercial contracts.

Jim was very involved in both religious and social activities. He held many office positions in Lutheran churches, both in Mobile and Satellite Beach. In addition, he was on the Building Committee for the Advent Lutheran Church in Sun Tree, Florida. As his children were growing up, he was heavily involved in the scouting program. He held many positions, including Area Council Program Chairman, Scoutmaster, and Cub master. Jim loved to dance, Cha-Cha and Swing were his favorites. He and Eileen were members of a local dance club.

He is survived by his sister, Charlesa Burgess of Mobile, AL; brother, Walton Kraver of Mobile, AL; sons, Ted Kraver (Denise) of Oklahoma City, Dr. Mark Kraver (Nita) of Cape Coral, FL, Scott Kraver (John Nash) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Gregg Kraver (Tina) of Merritt Island, FL; seven grandchildren, Dr. Phillip Kraver (Jenny), Laura Panayotti (Chris), James Kraver (Courtney), Joshua Kraver, Kaylee Kraver, Sierra McMillen (Alex), and Aidan Kraver; as well as seven great-grandchildren, Emery, Makenna, Elliot, Bennett, Aviana, Kinsley and Taylor.  

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Eileen of 68 years in 2020.

Memorial Contributions in memory of James T. Kraver, Jr. are suggested to the Advent Lutheran Church Building Fund, 7550 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32940.

Jim and Eileen will be interred at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery. 

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.


Leave a Comment