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He was born March 5, 1931, in Haskell to Mary Inez (Brady) Cravens and Lawrence Overton (Pat) Cravens.
He moved to the Ada area after he married Mary L. (Ward) Cravens on Dec. 29, 1956, in Coalgate.
A professional rodeo cowboy since age 13, J.O. competed in bareback bronc and bull riding for 40 years. He also worked as a rodeo judge for professional and youth rodeos for decades.
He and Mary were founding members of the International Rodeo Association (later International Professional Rodeo Association) in the 1960s, establishing rules and bylaws that are still followed today. He served as president and managing director of the IPRA for a decade in the 1980s and 1990s.
He was a 1972 graduate of East Central University with a B.S. in education, and he taught U.S. history at Sulphur High School for 14 years.
He is survived by two daughters, Johna Cravens and Dayna Cravens of Fittstown; a brother-in-law, Vernon Ward of the home; great-niece and honorary granddaughter, Mandy Smith and her daughter, Laurel, of Bristow; four brothers-in-law; seven sisters-in-law; and a host of nieces, nephews and rodeo family.
J.O. was preceded in death by his wife, Mary; his parents; sister, Sybil (Cravens) Harris; and five brothers-in-law.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Lance Hartsfield Fair and Expo Center in Coalgate, with the Rev. Mike Fletcher of Quitman, Texas, and the Rev. Bill Leveridge of Sulphur officiating. Interment will follow at Ward Family Cemetery.
Family visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Brown's Funeral Service in Coalgate.
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