Joseph Levy Cratch affectionately known as “Joe” was born in Washington, North Carolina to William Thomas and Rosella Cratch on February 13, 1926. He joined the U.S. Navy on June 2, 1944 and became a Seaman First Class. Joseph was honorably discharged on March 28, 1946. He married Ernestine Jones in Portsmouth Virginia on March 30, 1946. From this union, his son, Preston and daughter, Joyce, were born. He later moved to Philadelphia Pennsylvania where he resided for many years. Joseph gained employment at the Springfield Water Company where he worked until his retirement. Joseph also worked construction and was a well-known handyman in the Philadelphia area. He did everything from fixing roofs to finishing basements.
Following Ernestine’s passing in 1993, Joseph married Rosalie Swann on December 28, 1994, and moved to Rembert S. C. From this union, he gained three stepdaughters, Marie, Geraldine, and Minnie Swann, and three stepsons, James, Elex and John. Joseph was lovingly referred to as “Dad”.
Joe was easy-going, kindhearted and very social. In his early years, he was an amazing cook and an active church member. Joe often referred to himself as a “young jitterbug” and when asked how he was doing he would often say “I’m fine as wine and slick as silk.” Indeed, he was! He did not sit still too long. After moving to South Carolina, Joe often drove to Philadelphia to visit friends and family. It was important for him to stay in contact with the ones he loved, and Joe loved everyone! In his later years, Joe found odd jobs to do around his home. Into his 90’s he even climbed ladders and chopped down trees. In his pastime, he enjoyed sitting on his back porch, staying up late eating coconut cake and ice cream while watching tv. He could also be found scrolling through his telephone books calling his loved ones to check up on them because he believed that when you think about someone you give them a call. In his final days, he told his loving wife, Rosalie, “There is no greater love than the love between us right here right now.” Joe was a compassionate man with a great sense of humor and a heart of gold. He will be sorrowfully missed and his memories forever cherished.
Joseph was preceded in death by his parents, William Thomas and Rosella Cratch; his wife, Ernestine; siblings, Clyde Cratch, Sr., Marvin Cratch, William Thomas Cratch, Jr., Johnny Cratch, Charles Cratch, Isiah Cratch, William J. Cratch, Eula Mae Grimes and Lela Tillery; step-children James, Elex and Marie; step-grandson, Roy, and step-great grand-daughter, Serenity.
Joseph is survived by his wife, Rosalie Cratch; his children, Preston H. Cratch and Joyce A. Lazier; sisters, Marnie Hall and Christine Sheppard; step-daughters, Geraldine Swann and Minnie Swann; step-son, John; grandchildren, Raun L. Lazier, Yolanda N. Copeland, Rachelle I. Holt, Sigourney L. Hevalow; step-grandchildren, Michael, Troy, Charess, Taffinie, Nyna, Jamaal, Tanya, Deena, Cynthia; thirteen great-grandchildren, thirteen step-great grandchildren, one step great-great grandchild and a host of family and friends.
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