Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 31, 2011 at the Des Moines School Gymnasium with Terrell Jones, pastor of the Trinity Fellowship Church in Clayton officiating. Burial will follow in the Des Moines Cemetery by Hass Funeral Directros of Clayton.
John David Graham was born to Claude R Graham and Ruth (Baldwin) Graham on November 23, 1944, in Socorro, New Mexico. He attended schools in Datil, New Mexico and Magdalena, New Mexico and graduated from New Mexico State University College of Agriculture in 1968. In August of 1965, he married Midge (York) and they began their careers together in areas of education. David taught vocational agriculture at Des Moines High School for four and a half years; then spent a year at the New Mexico Department of Education as a vocational agriculture specialist/state supervisor. In August of 1973, he started his career with the Cooperative Extension Service as the Agricultural Agent in Union County. He loved his county and its people; and he was absolutely committed to agriculture programs, 4-H and FFA programs, cattle ranching and range management in Union County and statewide. He committed time and his real focus to research of noxious weeds, range pests, and pesticide management for many years. He co-authored many scientific papers, working collaboratively with research specialists at New Mexico State University and the United States Department of Agriculture Poisonous Plants Lab in Logan, Utah. David was preceded in death by his father and mother, a special nephew Jimmy Graham, his brother-in-law Dick White, a favorite uncle Jimmy Graham, and maternal and paternal grandparents. Also, by his mother-in-law and father-in-law, David and Sylvia (Peppin) York.
SURVIVORS: He is survived by his wife, Midge, of the family home in Des Moines; a son Kevin of Plantersville, Texas; a daughter Wendy (Cory) Fulfer of Jal, New Mexico; his daughter Stacy Graham of McKinney, Texas, and daughter-in-law, Beth Graham, of Spring, Texas. He leaves behind eight “perfect grandchildren”: Matthew, Emily, Trevor, and Carly Graham; KC, Kimberlee, and Kolby Taylor; Alex Graham. Also surviving is his brother Lee (Bonnie) Graham of Raton and his sister, Ellen (Don) Hiles, of Alamogordo. He is survived by a most special Aunt Helen and cousins in Montana. Near and dear to his heart are his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Buddy and Jennifer York, Sue and Dallas Dowell, Elaine and Larry O’Neal. Surviving are nieces and nephews: Susanne, Leona, Barbara, Billie, Bobbie, Justin, Tiffany, Denton, David, Kaila, Toy, Timothy, Dorothy, Jennifer and Michael.
MEMORIALS: In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to the Union County Fair Board. Memorial donations can be sent to Union County Extension Office, c/o Tommy Jantz, PO Box 428, Clayton, NM 88415.
Dr. Allison requested I post this.
Midge and Family,
I first met David in the summer of 1970 after my freshman year at the university. I was working in Clayton that summer and David was the Vocational Agriculture teacher, here in Des Moines. I can still remember the 2 things that impressed me: 1) his passion for his job of teaching and helping young people and 2) his NMSU letter jacket for bull riding!
Several years later, I was hired as the Extension Range Management Specialist at NMSU and my first trip to Union county was to look at some poisonous plant issue. Dr. Reif and Dr. Dean Doitchinoff and I performed the field inspection while David was doing a 4H bicycle safety course. I posted a reward for anyone with a picture of David on a bicycle!
I worked closely with David during the many years of locoweed management and research. I vividly remember during one rancher gathering, Dr. Lynn James of the USDA Poisonous Plant Lab was telling all of us the strong addictive properties that locoweed possessed. In fact, he said it was second only to tobacco. David and I concluded that Dr. James (a devout Mormon) had gone from preaching to meddling!
One day we were travelling from Clayton to Des Moines in David’s white Ford pickup (anyone who rode in David’s pickup needed to take a shower immediately afterwards). David was pulled over by a rookie state cop for seatbelt violation (I could have told the officer that we couldn’t find the seatbelts). After listening impatiently to the short lecture, David informed the officer: “Either give me a ticket or let me go. I have important things to do!” David always had important things to do.
Many times in my career, whether it was supervising the Clayton Livestock Research Center, judging a science fair project, listening to high school students make presentations about range management, judging the Union county fair hog show or high centered on a big rock in the middle of a locoweed pasture; I would stop and ask myself:”How did I get myself in this predicament?” The obvious answer was that David Graham had convinced me to do it. David had the unique ability to persuade people that the task at hand was the most important thing going on in the world at that moment and we needed to get to work.
David’s passion for helping people, especially ranchers and young people, and his knack for making the most mundane task fun was the reason that I relished the work that he and I did together. I have a feeling of anticipation as well as trepidation knowing that when we are re-united with David in heaven, we all need to be prepared to serve on the fair board that he has organized there!
David's niece has her own blog and has posted her remembrances as One Of The Good Guys. She has granted permission for me to repost it here.
One of the Good Guys
"To live in hearts you leave behind is not to die..."
My Uncle David was one of the good guys. The kind that I'm not convinced they make anymore.
A real cowboy, who used to rodeo with Chris LeDeux. Who could fix whatever, threaten to fight anyone, wasn't afraid of anything, and liked a cold Coors Light. A guy with a booming voice, a look that made you instantly sit up straighter and say, "Yes sir!" and who constantly threatened to the kids that he was "gonna kick your butt!"
And yet, the same guy who spent part of Thanksgiving dinner playing peekaboo with my two younger cousins and used to untangle my toy puppets. A man who would give you the shirt off his back if he thought for a second you needed it. He was one of the good guys.
I don't know if our family is like most others. Aunts and uncles here are not just people that we see once a year and who buy us crappy Christmas presents. In our family, they go to ball games and speech contests, graduations and weddings, and take you out to dinner anytime they are in town. Oh, and they buy really good presents. Aunts and uncles are part of our lives, and for that, I'm grateful.
My Uncle David was the kind of uncle every kid should have. The only guy I knew as a kid who was brave enough to curse in front of my mother. Curse word of choice: Dammit as a new first name. (For example, my Aunt would say something that made no sense and his response would be, "Dammit, Midge!" or my mom would be worried about something or lecturing someone and his response would be, "Dammit, Sue!")
He was the guy who everyone knew. At the State Fair, he would park himself at the corner of the pig show ring bleachers and never leave, because people who knew him just kept on coming by. He knew more about loco weed and winning a science fair than anyone you'll ever meet. He became quasi-famous (maybe infamous is more like it) after he was quoted in the paper for this gem: "Pigs can't read." We were so proud.
You could always spot my Uncle David in a crowd, because he'd wear the same thing, without fail. Boots, Wranglers, solid colored shirt, black hat. He might mix it up and add a tan vest if it was cold or take his hat off at the table. For 28 years, that's how I expected to see Uncle David.
Uncle David hated Olive Garden. But Aunt Midge and I loved it, so when they would be in town to take me out to eat, that was often the destination. He would moan and groan all the way through his shrimp alfredo. In fact, a couple of weeks ago he texted to check on me when I had a medical procedure done. I told him they had found a food allergy. His response, "Probably from that damn Olive Garden."
Speaking of texting---if you knew Uncle David, you might find it strange that he texted. He told me he didn't have a choice if he wanted to communicate with his grand kids. There was, however, a rule. When you wrote Uncle David, you used correct grammar and spelling if you wanted him to answer. Otherwise, you would not get a response, and would, instead, probably get the new first name described above.
And he loved to text me during Oklahoma State football games. I'm not sure if I've watched an OSU game in the last several years without a text from Uncle David. My favorite was the text I got the morning after Bedlam a few weeks ago. Here's the conversation:
Uncle David: "Okay, so what hospital are you in? I saw on tv that 13 people got taken to the hospital after getting trampled while rushing the field, and I knew right away you had to be one of them."
Me: "Ha! Well you are correct---I did rush the field---but you will be proud to know I only twisted my ankle and went to a bar and not a hospital."
Uncle David: "I'm so proud of you for not being a dumbass."
And you know, I'm happy I made him proud. :)
We lost Uncle David yesterday. A week after he was diagnosed with cancer. And Saturday, we will gather to say goodbye. I know that there will be tears, but I also know there better be one heck of a party. Because if there's not, I've got a feeling that there may be a booming voice from Heaven giving the rest of us that new first name.
UPDATE from Facebook
Bobby Ann Vinzant Dictson
Thanks Frank for sharing this web site. David was special to so many people. I was blessed with his friendship for many years. He and Billy were co-workers for many many years. We worked very closely with David the last several years on... Ag Security issues. He was so interested in protecting his producers and the agricultural industry from any problems. He worked with us on a statewide and a national training curriculum. He was very passionate about this project.
We will miss David a lot. He always made my day when he would call, text or e-mail me. He had a way of always making you chuckle.
He was so proud of his children and grandchildren. He loved to talk about them. He was especially proud of his baseball playing grandson. One afternoon he invited us to meet him at a local eating place and brought this special baseball player to meet us. This was a very special time. We know David will be watching every game!!!! I will miss this special friend.
I will keep Midge and the rest of the family in my thoughts and prayers.