Report by Paula Antolini, April 7, 2019, 6:34AM EDT
Former Bethel Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) Chairman Lawrence Craybas, a 39-year Bethel resident, passed away yesterday morning, April 6, 2019.
Mr. Craybas was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and other ailments and was being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, with his wife Joan by his side. He was married to Joan Craybas for 55 years.
Some of Mr. Craybas’ family members own and operate The Gift Cottage on Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, where you would see Mr. Craybas occasionally.
Mr. Craybas had been Vice Chairman of the Bethel Board of Education for 2 years and Chairman of the Bethel Board of Education for 8 years.
Mr. Craybas was a long time advocate for the Town of Bethel and was a well-respected advocate for the schools. One of Mr. Craybas’ major achievements was his involvement with the Rockwell and Johnson elementary schools renovations which required approval of $65.8 million, which came to fruition with his help.
Mr. Craybas also served on the Board of Directors of the Bethel Visiting Nurses Association for 3 years, was a Community Emergency Response Volunteer for the Bethel Health Department, had served on the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Committee, was a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the Bethel Office of Emergency Management, and was a Certified Fire Policeman.
Mr. Craybas was a retired Sales Executive from General Foods/Kraft Foods with a 28 year career. He was a Business Educator with Business Continuity Planning, and a Eucharistic Minister and Lector at St. Mary’s for 39 years.
School board vice chair, Melanie O’Brien, was recently named chairperson of the board, and Democrat Jennifer Ackerman as vice chair. O’Brien was acting as chair from when Republican Craybas resigned recently.
Our condolences and prayers to the Craybas family.