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Thomas's Story

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Thomas E. Graham, Sr., 96, of Washington, IN, died peacefully at his home on April 20, 2017. Tom was born in Petoskey, MI on September 8, 1920 to Robert Cabel and Bertha Hack Graham also of Washington. After graduating from Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, MD he attended Purdue University and obtained a BS in Agriculture in 1942. Upon graduation from Purdue University he enlisted in the US Navy where he served as an officer on LST-377 in both the European and Pacific theaters.

Returning from the war in 1945 he married his college sweetheart Jeannette Haynes of Park Ridge, IL on May 11, 1946 and they made their home in Washington where he and his brothers ran the family businesses Graham Brothers, Graham Farms and Graham Cheese. His passion for farming and the cattle business brought accolades from his peers and recognition with many state and local awards. All his children shared his joy in horseback riding and learned to appreciate farming and nature from Toms example and love of life. His active participation in the promotion and creation of many of the reservoirs located in SW Indiana continue to be highly valued. Toms involvement in youth ranged from Cub Scout pack leader and peewee football coach to supporting Catholic education. Toms commitment to higher education resulted in being a member of the Purdue University Board of Trustees for 12 years.

Tom was an accomplished boatman, sailor, navigator, fisherman and sportsman, especially on the Great Lakes. By his unique love of teaching and through example, his family enjoyed and thrived in the same. Committed to a life of service to others, Tom contributed to his local community wherever he lived. In the summer months, he and his family resided at their lake cottage near his birth place in Petoskey. He was a leader at the local yacht club where he promoted sailing and was a charter member of the Pickerel-Crooked Lakes Association. When in Washington, he was involved in community and social organizations, his church, and most particularly, his family.

He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Jeannette Haynes Graham, six children: Marguerite Graham (Nancy) of Conway, MI; Tom Graham, Jr. (Jean) of Washington, IN; Victoria Newby (Rick) of Palm Desert, CA; William Graham (Barbara) of Salisbury, MD; Rebecca McKinney (Todd) of Rancho Santa Fe, CA; and Christine Loudermilk (Alan) of Austin, TX. Also surviving are his 12 grandchildren, who knew him as Tom Tom: Thomas Graham III, Leah Pitts (Brandon), Paige Graham, Andrew Graham (Rachel), Mathew Graham, Alan Loudermilk, Jr., Thomas Loudermilk, Maxwell McKinney, Spencer McKinney, Lauren Loudermilk, Tyce McKinney and Christian Loudermilk; his 2 great-grandchildren: Wyatt Pitts and Berkeley Pitts; and his brother David B. Graham of The Villages, FL.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church, 315 NE 3rd St., Washington, on Saturday, May 6 at 1 p.m. with internment in the family plot at St. John Cemetery. Visitation will be at the church from 11:15 to 12:45 and continue at a reception to be held after the gravesite ceremony. The reception will be held at Mulligans located at 908 Bedford Rd.

Memorials may be made to Washington Catholic Educational Endowment, Inc., P.O. Box 916, Washington, IN 47501; Helping Hearts Hospice, P.O. Box 760, Washington, IN 47501 or Crooked Lake Sailors, P.O. Box 195, Oden, MI 49764 (a 5013C). Arrangements are through Ed Lee Mortuary. Condolences may be sent to www.edleemortuary.com.
Published on April 24, 2017
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