December 23, 2004
DONALD KEITH BECRAFT
(3/24/1927 – 12/12/2004)
Donald Keith Becraft, 77, a well-known Moberly business owner of Becraft Jewelers in downtown Moberly, MO, died December 14, 2004, at Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, MO. He had suffered a cardiac arrest in Moberly, MO, December 12, 2004.
Mr. Becraft was born March 24, 1927, on the family farm near Downing, MO, a son of William and Bessie Mathes Becraft.
He was a graduate of Memphis High School, Memphis, MO.
Donald Keith Becraft built a life for himself and his family while building his career. Since 1950, the prominent businessman had attended Carpenter Street Baptist Church, where he also taught Sunday School for about 15 years. He was a member and past president of the Missouri Jewelers. Since 1976, Mr. Becraft had been a member of the American Gem Society comprised of an elite group of jewelers who had to earn a degree to join.
He was also a member and past president of the Moberly Optimist Club, and a member of the Masonic Lodge and Coon Creek Shrine Club, attending the annual Christmas party Saturday night with his wife on their first anniversary.
He also belonged to Main Street Moberly, MO, formerly the Downtown Association. During his junior and senior years of high school, Don worked part-time at a jewelry store because of his interest in the field. During this time, he took his watchmaker’s apprentice training. He worked for the jeweler three years until an opportunity to work in Moberly arose. He was employed at the former T.W. Kamp Jewelry for a year and a half while Kamp’s son-in-law was in the Army. When the son-in-law returned and Don was without a job, Mr. Kamp helped Don find a position with a jeweler in Columbia. He worked there for about a year and a half, returning to work at Kamp’s when the son-in-law entered the ministry.
Mr. Becraft purchased the repair department of Kamp’s business in 1958 and owned the repair department until 1964 when he started his own jewelry store, Becraft Jewelers. He expanded his business in Moberly in 2004 by adding The Jewelry Box, located east of his long established shop on Reed Street in downtown Moberly.
Mr. Becraft often related that his interest in jewelry was born of physical limitation due to childhood polio.
He married Thelma Orr Mohney on December 11, 2003, at Coates Street Presbyterian Church in Moberly. She survives of the home.
Also surviving are a daughter, Cheryl Lucille Becraft Crawford, and her husband, Harold Leon Crawford, and a granddaughter, Ashley Brook Crawford, all of Rockaway Beach, MO; two grandsons whom Mr. Becraft reared, Christopher Dru Milcik, and his wife, Jamie, of Moberly, MO, and Justin Shea Milcik of Columbia, MO; four sisters, Florence E. Becraft, Bloomfield, IA, Beulah Evans, Lelah Goins and Callie and husband, William S. Moore, all of Memphis, MO; a brother, Russell Ray Becraft and his wife, Dovie L. Becraft of Tampa, FL; and extended family members, Jim Orr and wife, Shelia of Lee’s Summit, MO; Bill Orr and wife, Jadeania of Moberly, MO, Jerry Orr and wife, Becky, also of Moberly, MO; John Mohney and wife, Carlyn of O’Fallon, MO, Jay Moore and wife, Carole of Liberty, MO, Betty Moore Bell of Moberly, MO; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Patsy Ruth Becraft; sister, Jewell E. Becraft; brothers, Lowell H., Millard W., Robert L., and Albert E. Becraft.
Funeral services were held December 18, 2004, at Cater Funeral Home Chapel. Burial was in the Oakland Cemetery with Rev. Michael Anthony of Carpenter Street Baptist Church and Rev. Wallis Landrum of Coates Street Presbyterian Church officiating. Masonic services were held December 17, 2004 at the funeral home.