The Moose is Loose in Heaven!
Robert “Moose” Cravens was born May 26, 1937, in Owensboro. He died Friday, April 29, 2022, at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital with Jane, his loving wife of 66 years, by his side. He was 84. Robert “Bobby” Cravens, also known as “Moose,” was a larger-than-life man who made friends anywhere and everywhere and kept them for life. He was a strong man with a big laugh and his nose was so great, it earned him the nickname “Moose” that stuck for life on and off the football field.
Moose was like many boys. He gave the cops a hard time when he was young, once putting his posterior through the windshield of a patrol car he tried to leap. He later joined the ranks of the Owensboro Police Department and turned his police work into a lifelong career.
Before all that came Jane, a beautiful girl Moose had deep feelings for and a woman who would change his life forever. Moose and Jane met in high school. He played football. She was a cheerleader. They fell in love. Later, they would defy all traditions by eloping and getting married in a small town in Missouri of all places. They “honeymooned” in Arizona, but they forgot to tell anyone where they were going, prompting a nationwide search for the newlyweds. Together, they raised five children.
Moose was a star football player, although he loved all sports. So much so that he’d fire up the radio to listen to his beloved Kentucky Wildcats basketball games, with his youngest son by his side, recording every basket in the mint green boxes of his spiral scorebook.
A four-sport letterman at Owensboro High School, Moose was the MVP of the Red Devils Kentucky State Football Championship team, earned All-State and was an All-American in 1954, playing in the All-Star game in Memphis, where he earned the Most Outstanding Player Award, making him the best high school player in the country.
Moose was a member of Jack Hicks’ first American Legion Championship baseball team in 1953, yet he thrived on the football field, signing with the University of Kentucky, racking up All-SEC honors twice and was the leading rusher for the Wildcats for three straight years, played in the Blue-Gray All-Star Game in 1958, the All-American game in Tucson, Arizona in 1959, and left UK as the second leading career rusher in UK history.
Moose went on to play for the Ottowa Roughriders in the Canadian Football League before returning home to care for his family.
Recognized as one of the great running backs in UK history, Moose was an incredible cop, who rose to the rank of sergeant before retiring in 1988. He was best known for defusing any difficult situation and was much loved by his fellow officers who referred to gatherings at his house as choir practice, even through they really were just late night card games.
Even with his tough work schedule, the Moose always made time for his family. His three sons all played football and his two daughters were cheerleaders. He drove them across the country and on many beach trips, providing some of the best memories of their lives.
Some of his favorite times were spent with “The Lunch Bunch,” a weekly gathering of the who’s who’s who of Owensboro history, his lifelong friends, made up of a former mayor, teachers, business owners, and others, who meet every Tuesday for lunch and laughs.
A lifelong member of Third Baptist Church, he was dedicated to their Sunday School class, the Millennium Class, as it is known. The class was a second family to Moose and Jane.
The Moose is preceded in death by his parents, Robert Y. and Agnes Cravens; his sister, Maggie Cravens; his brother, Norman Cravens; and grandson, Christopher Cravens.
Survivors include his wife, Jane Ayer Cravens; two daughters, Joni Cravens (Tom Carlyle) of Owensboro and Judy Harper (Bob Brock) of Richland City, Indiana; three sons, Rob Cravens of Bowling Green, Terry Cravens (Rachael) of Hebron, Ohio and Kenny Cravens of Bowling Green.
He was known as Pappy Moose to eight grandchildren, Ross Martin, Kimberly Harper, Casey Trimm, Brittany Cravens, Lauren Cravens, Caroline Cravens, Eric Cravens and Drew Cravens; five great-grandchildren, and many step grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Services will be 11 am Monday, May 2, 2022, at the chapel of James H. Davis Funeral Home in Owensboro, Ky. Entombment will follow at Owensboro Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1 to 4 pm Sunday and after 10 am until service time on Monday at the funeral home.
Expressions of sympathy may be made by donations to Third Baptist Church, PO Box 808, Owensboro, Kentucky, 42302.
Online messages may be left at www.davisfuneralhome.com.