Mary Adelaide Austell Craver, the only child of Charles Benjamin Austell and Mary Adelaide Roberts Austell of Shelby, North Carolina, was born in a Charlotte hospital on July 1, 1942. She passed away peacefully in the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte on January 4, 2019.
Her very happy childhood years were spent in Shelby and Blowing Rock, North Carolina, where her parents maintained a summer home. From the time of her birth, Adelaide was also adored by her maternal aunt and uncle, Minnie Eddins and George Carpenter, who had no children and whose home was across the street from the Austells’ residence. After graduating from Shelby High School she attended one year as a student of Randolph Macon Women’s College and later graduated from Duke University in 1964. Thereafter, in 1967 she graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill and was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar to become the first female resident of Cleveland County, North Carolina, licensed as an attorney-at-law. That year she also became employed by the Trust Department of First Union National Bank in Charlotte.
In 1972 she married her childhood best friend, Richard Davidson Craver of Shelby, also an attorney working in Charlotte. Before they moved to Shelby in 1981, Adelaide and Dick’s two children, Joseph Newton Craver, II and Adelaide Austell Craver, were born in Charlotte. Newton and his wife, Kendalyn Paige Lutz-Craver, reside in Shelby with their three children, Joseph Newton Craver, III (13), Rowan Austell Craver (10) and Aveleigh Alice Craver (6). Adelaide resides in Charlotte.
In Shelby, Adelaide progressed from her initial position as Cashier of The First National Bank of Shelby to its President, its Chief Executive Officer and lastly its Chairman of the Board. The bank, which maintained fifteen offices located in four southwestern counties of North Carolina, was sold in July, 2013. Afterward, Adelaide continued to be employed by Shelby Loan and Mortgage Corporation and was serving as its President at the time of her death.
Coupled with her professional career, Adelaide also personally served in leadership positions of many civic, cultural, religious, educational and business organizations in Shelby, Charlotte, and North Carolina. In addition, she was appointed a regional director of the American Bankers Association headquartered in Washington, DC.
Because of her extensive personal service, Adelaide was recognized by the University of North Carolina School of Law’s “Outstanding Alumna” award, by the University of North Carolina’s “Order of the Valkyries”, its highest women’s honor society, by the state of North Carolina’s “Order of the Long Leaf Pine”, by the North Carolina Bankers Association Women’s Division’s “Legend in Banking” award, and by the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce’s “Athena Award” as an outstanding woman in business.
Adelaide’s roles as a wife, mother, and friend were beyond reproach. She was always masterfully planning fun and interesting activities for her family – college sports events, worldwide travel as well as entertaining friends and special occasions in their homes in Shelby, Blowing Rock and on Pawleys Island. Her love of travel and the level of detail that she put into places to visit were extraordinary. She worked very hard with a lot of research and resourcefulness to show her family the world.
But for all of her many outstanding traits (brilliance, lover of a great party, hard worker, great sense of humor to name a few) it was her kindness to everyone that her friends and family admired most. She always looked at the positive side of tough situations. Both personally and professionally, Adelaide consistently conducted herself as the epitome of a lady and had genuine concern and unlimited time for anyone, including animals, needing her love or help. She will be missed tremendously.
A funeral will be at 2:00 o’clock p.m., Tuesday, January 8th, in the First Baptist Church of Shelby. A reception will follow in the Earl Scruggs Center on Shelby’s old courthouse square. If desired, memorials may be made to Destination Cleveland County (103 S. Lafayette Street, Shelby NC 28150), the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (“BRAHM”) (159 Ginny Stevens Lane, Blowing Rock, NC 28605) or to the American Cancer Society ( www.cancer.org).
Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family of Mrs. Craver. Guest Registry is available at www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.com