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Dad was born on December 28, 1930, in Etterville, MO, and was the seventh and last surviving child of Marble Lura Bell Browning Graham and Ernest Eltry Graham. His oldest sister joked that his feet didn’t touch the ground until he was five years old, as there was always someone willing to carry him around. Dad grew up on the family farm, and he enjoyed living in the country. If he had not learned a profession in the Air Force, he probably would have been a farmer. He was very athletic and played all sports in high school, even earning an invitation to try out for the St. Louis Cardinals shortly after graduating. In the age before social media, Dad earned this invitation thanks to his father bragging about Dad’s ability to someone he met on the train as he was heading to St. Louis to sell cattle. Dad attended the tryouts, got to go to a game, and although he didn’t make the team, the St. Louis Cardinals were always his favorite team. He played softball and golf throughout his life, and bowled until he was well into his 80’s. Like his mother, Dad could play the piano “by ear,” often sitting down and playing songs after hearing them just a couple of times.
After graduating from Eugene High School, Eugene, MO, in May 1947, Dad worked on the family farm until he enlisted in the Air Force in April 1951. He served in the communications division in Korea from 1951 to 1955, where he learned morse code. When he returned from Korea, he worked on the family farm until 1959 when he used his radio communication skills, specifically his knowledge of morse code, to get a job with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He worked for 19 years at Troop F in Jefferson City, then transferred and worked 13 years as the Chief Radio Operator for Troop I in Rolla. He retired in March 1991 and lived in Rolla until October 2020, when he moved to Kansas City. He passed away on December 18, 2022, in Liberty, MO.
Dad married Doris Fay Martin on November 7, 1959, and has three daughters: Dana Hayes (Larry) of Kansas City; Dalynn Hayakawa (John) of Kansas City; and Devon Grady (Sean) of House Springs. He is survived by eight grandchildren: Logan Hayes (Becca), Jordan Kolb, Connor Hayes (Ryan), Tyler Kolb, Evan Kolb, Clayton Kolb, Adam Hayakawa, and Bracie Hayakawa, and 3 great-grandchildren. He married Jama Sue Allison on June 10, 1991, and has three stepchildren: Kim Oppliger (Steve) of St. Louis, Martin Allison of Rolla, and Cathy Allison (Liene) of Rolla. He is also survived by three step-grandchildren: Michael Oppliger, Amanda Oppliger, and Cody Allison, and 3 step great- grandchildren. Dad especially loved all his grandchildren and enjoyed spending time with them.
Dad had a great sense of humor and always enjoyed a good joke. He liked good music (which means old-fashioned country) and was extremely patriotic. He was good at building and fixing things and learned to refinish furniture, making pieces he kept and used for years. He was a good neighbor and loved having conversations with anyone who wanted to join him at the lunch or dinner table. He loved all his pets, but especially his dog Smokey, whom he and Jama adopted from the Rolla Animal Shelter. Smokey and Dad became inseparable, and Dad got to know his neighbors in Rolla and Kansas City because Smokey was such a good people person.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions for the upkeep of the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, where most of Dad’s family is buried and where his ashes will be interred. Make contributions payable to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, and mail them to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Fund, c/o Stacy Kempker, 49 Booth Rd, Eldon, MO 65026. Contributions in Dad’s name can also be sent to the Rolla Animal Shelter by making checks payable to City of Rolla Animal Shelter, and mailing them to the City of Rolla, Attn: Finance Dept., PO Box 979, Rolla, MO 65402. A service is being planned for the spring of 2023.Service Information:
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions for the upkeep of the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, where most of Dad’s family is buried and where his ashes will be interred. Make contributions payable to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, and mail them to Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Fund, c/o Stacy Kempker, 49 Booth Rd, Eldon, MO 65026. Contributions in Dad’s name can also be sent to the Rolla Animal Shelter by making checks payable to City of Rolla Animal Shelter, and mailing them to the City of Rolla, Attn: Finance Dept., PO Box 979, Rolla, MO 65402. A service is being planned for the spring of 2023.
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