William Muir Graham, age 78, died Tuesday, July 23rd at Big Bend Hospice House.
Bill came into this world on June 29, 1935 in Munhall, Pennsylvania where he spent his childhood and attended local schools. Upon graduation from Munhall High in 1953, he joined the United States Marine Corps. During his service, he was stationed in Japan and Hawaii. After being honorably discharged in 1957, he traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to visit a friend. Liking the lifestyle in Florida so much, he stayed and enrolled in St. Petersburg Jr. College. While there he met, Marlene Cardalico, who became his wife soon after his graduation.
In 1960, the couple moved to Tallahassee so Bill could continue his education at FSU. He graduated in 1962 and began his career in Human Resources with Continental Can Company, in Auburndale, and then IRC Company, in St. Petersburg .
He found his calling in life when he joined Goodwill Industries Suncoast, St. Petersburg, as Personnel Director. He soon was transferred to Tallahassee as Branch Director of Goodwill Industries – Big Bend and eventually became President and CEO. Bill worked tirelessly and enthusiastically for 34 years to expand two small Goodwill stores with 12 employees to 23 stores in North Florida with 350 employees. He was also instrumental in building 10 apartment complexes for the handicapped before his retirement in 2002.
While with Goodwill, he was active in various associations advocating for the disabled. He served as President of the Southeast National Rehabilitation Association, and was an active member of the Florida Rehabilitation Facilities and Leon County Center of Independent Living. He served as Treasurer of the Florida Council of Handicap Organizations, was founder of Leon Human Resource Association and was a member of the Florida State Rural Development Council, the Florida State Economic Development Council, the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, and the Tallahassee Downtown Rotary Club.
After his retirement, he worked at the Florida Legislature for the Sargent of Arms during the sessions and found it both enjoyable and educational.
Bill was a futuristic thinker who enjoyed life to its fullest and had many friends. He was an optimistic and positive person who treated everyone, no matter their status in life, with equal respect.
Bill's first love in life was his family and friends but his second love was golf. He vowed that after his retirement he would play golf every day. He fulfilled that dream and spent the years after his retirement doing just that. He played with the Killearn Senior Group or "SLUGS" at Killearn Country Club for many years and spent his last three years playing at Hilaman Golf Course with the Hilaman Outstanding Golf Seniors or "HOGS".
Bill was preceded in death by his parents Sarah and John Graham, brothers Robert and James and sisters Nancy Keeler and Faye Barrish. Bill is survived by his wife Marlene, son Jeff Graham (Nancy), daughter Jennifer Douglas (Robert) and three grandchildren, Garrett, Matthew and Jason Graham. He is also survived by three nieces Sally Keeler, Patsy Berkner, and Nancy Lex.
The family will receive friends at Culley Timberlane Funeral Home on Friday July26th from 5 to 7 PM. A celebration of Bill's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Bill's memory be made to either Goodwill Industries Big Bend or Big Bend Hospice.