Ben 'Woody' Cleaver Jr., pilot, skydiver

June 19, 2014

Ben A. "Woody" Cleaver Jr., 73, of Harbeson, passed away peacefully Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at his residence. He was born July 13, 1939, in Willkes-Barre, Pa., son of the late Ben Atwood and Mildred (Thompson) Cleaver Sr.

Mr. Cleaver was a district sales manager for Bachman Pretzel Company for several years before embarking on a lifelong career with Preston Trucking Company Inc. He owned his own truck and worked from the Preston, Md. location, retiring in 1990 after 35-plus years of service. Mr. Cleaver enjoyed a great day fishing on the local waters and was also a history buff. The History Channel was a main stay in his selection of television viewing.

Known to his family and friends as the jokester, he could entertain for hours with his storytelling, which will be greatly missed by all. His ornery moods drew people even closer to him. He was an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, never missing an opportunity to cheer his team on to victory! He also held a pilot's license and looked forward to those bright sunny days where he could be flying.

Mr. Cleaver was a founding member of the Delmarva Skydiving Club which originated in the 1960s. He thoroughly enjoyed skydiving, especially when he would skydive into the Salisbury Mall parking lot at Christmas dressed as Santa Claus for all the kids to enjoy. He was a charter member of the Elks Lodge 2540 and member of Jefferson Lodge 15 both in Lewes, DE. Mr. Cleaver was also a member of Nur Temple in New Castle.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Cleaver was preceded in death by his two sons, Ben A. "Trey" Cleaver III and Scott A. Cleaver. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betty Jane; his son Robert Cleaver and girlfriend Karen McCabe of Lewes; two daughters: Karen Hunsicker and her husband George Jr. of Lewes, and Kathryn Virden and her husband Troy also of Lewes; six grandchildren: Travis Shalaby, Jordyn Virden, Tanner Virden, Sarah Hunsicker, Jacob Hunsicker and Joshua Hunsicker, all of Lewes; and one sister, Elizabeth Cleaver of Salisbury, Md.

A Masonic service immediately followed by a Memorial Services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, June 23, at Parsell Funeral Homes, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, 16961 Kings Highway, Lewes. Friends may visit at the funeral home beginning at 10 a.m. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children, 3551 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.