Dorothy Craven

June 1920
April 2022


Dorothy (D’Ann) Craven, second child of Raymond (Shorty) Thomas and Theresa (Posey) Rae, died on April 16, 2022 at Llanfair in Cincinnati. Her cause of death was presumably pneumonia following a bed bound state after a fall from bed caused a closed head injury. D’Ann Thomas was born in 1920 in Rockford, Illinois and as a child growing up in Beloit, Wisconsin during the depression she recalled some hard times but a generally happy childhood. As a high school student, she enjoyed sports and academic excellence. A favorite story was the day she got her name in the paper for perfect attendance and outstanding grades. Following high school, D’Ann left the safety of Beloit, despite her mothers’ misgivings and admonitions, and headed for “the big city” of Chicago. She worked at Woolworth’s to save money then enrolled in nursing school at the Evanston Hospital where she completed the Registered Nurse program with an associated undergraduate degree from Northwestern. After a short stint in hospital nursing in both Illinois and New York City, she joined her older brother, John, and enlisted in the armed services. During WWII, as a Navy nurse, she remined stateside and served for three years. Post war, the greatest generation returned home to launch an historic baby boom and invent suburbia as we know it today, collectively redefining the American experience. For D’Ann’s next step, she enrolled at University of Michigan in the graduate program in Public Health Nursing. It was there that she met, fell in love with, and married her Chemistry class teaching assistant, Robert Craven. Bob was at the U of M pursuing his doctoral studies in Organic Chemistry. They married in 1948 and continued to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Jeff was born in 1950 and Nancy was born in 1953. In 1954, the Cravens moved to Wilmington, Delaware where Bob started his first post graduation job at Dupont In 1959, Bob transitioned into the academic world as a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the family moved north to Pittsford, New York. D’Ann enjoyed widespread social interaction. She nurtured her teenagers, took year-round nature walks, volunteered at The Rochester Natural History Museum, birded, sailed, played in bridge clubs and did church volunteer work. Professionally, D’Ann filled in for the school nurse at the kids’ elementary school as well as helping her close friend, Molly Coulter MD, at the well-baby clinic. An avid tennis player she was a fixture at the Rochester Tennis Club. In 1975, D’Ann returned to school and earned a BA in Social Work. Active in the immigrant community, she served as liaison and mentor for several families. She enjoyed part time work at The Three Crowns, a boutique arts and crafts store. D’Ann remained active for the next several years in upstate New York. In 1983, she headed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where the climate was friendlier to failing hips and she was much closer to her beloved sister, Nancy. She worked her way through a total of four hip replacements, surgery for a malignant melanoma, chemotherapy and radiation for a B cell lymphoma. Despite these significant hurdles in the path of life, she continued her, social schedule where she played the occasional tennis match, volunteered at the community library in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and traveled to France, Germany, Italy, Cornwall (her ancestral home), Great Britain, Ireland and France amongst others. The years in Fearrington Village were a cherished part of her life as she continued to make and retain close friends. In 2016, D’Ann made her final move to Cincinnati, Ohio. The vast majority of her friends had predeceased her and it made sense to be closer to Jeff. Rather than scheduling two trips a year, he visited her at least weekly to share stories and play records. Never compromising for less than what felt like home, she road tested four nursing facilities before settling at Llanfair Living Ohio where she spent the final years of her life. Her orthopedic and arthritic problems took their toll on her mobility and towards the end she was unable to leave her bed for wheelchair trips to her beloved ‘out of doors’. Her attitude was consistently positive, her orientation remained fairly intact, and she loved to share her stories. She reminisced her happiest moments: singing show tunes, sailing with Bob on Lake Canandaigua, friends and parties with folks in Rochester, trips to Seven Lakes North Carolina to see her sister Nancy, high spirited car trips as a teenager in Wisconsin to local swimming holes, and a few wild times with her friend Betts as a night shift nurse at Mount Sinai in New York City. D’Ann’s life was as fraught with challenges as anyone, her gift was her willingness to march on, find the light and the laughter, focus on the good, enjoy the flowers, people and places – wherever life takes you.

Friends & Family

Newsletter Signup

Stay up-to-date with Science Care, medical research, and health and wellness tips.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Connect with Science Care

Facebook small logoTwitter small logoLinkedIn small logoYouTube small logo