Capt. Frank Eldon Graves, USMC Ret'd, of Denison passed away on August 8, 2014 in Denison, Texas. He was born September 17, 1922 in Honey Grove, Fannin County, Texas to John Campbell Graves and Ida Ethel Culbreath Graves. He married Evelyn Christene McDonald on December 17, 1942 in San Diego, California. To this union were born three children: daughter Sharon Kathleen Mulrey; daughter Catherine Louise Fielder; and son Wade Tyler Graves. He was also blessed with 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. Frank was descended from Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony and at least 11 American Revolution Patriot Ancestors. ...
Capt. Frank Eldon Graves, USMC Ret'd, of Denison passed away on August 8, 2014 in Denison, Texas. He was born September 17, 1922 in Honey Grove, Fannin County, Texas to John Campbell Graves and Ida Ethel Culbreath Graves. He married Evelyn Christene McDonald on December 17, 1942 in San Diego, California. To this union were born three children: daughter Sharon Kathleen Mulrey; daughter Catherine Louise Fielder; and son Wade Tyler Graves. He was also blessed with 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. Frank was descended from Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony and at least 11 American Revolution Patriot Ancestors.
Frank was preceded in death by his parents, brother Raymond Durward Graves, daughter Catherine Graves Fielder, son-in-law James Gilbert Fielder, and grandson Captain Michael Sean Fielder, US Army.
His mother Ethel passed away when he was three years old, and he was raised by his loving grandparents, John W. and Jenny Graves, on their cotton farm near Honey Grove, in Fannin County, Texas. When he was 14 years old, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, and worked at assignments in California, Colorado, and Texas.
In 1939, at age 17, Frank enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After Basic Training and Sea School, he was assigned to the Fleet Marine Force as a gunner on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6). While stationed on Enterprise he served as orderly for Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., and as crew member on a 5-inch gun. In October 1941, Frank was assigned to temporary duty at the Fleet Machine Gun School at the mouth of Pearl Harbor to learn how to fire the ship's new 20mm cannons. He and the other students at the school conducted a "live fire" graduation exercise during the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, and were credited with shooting down 3 Japanese planes. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, Frank was able to rejoin the Enterprise and participated in Task Force 16 (Doolittle Raid), the Battle of Midway, and the Battle of Eastern Solomons where he was cited for his meritorious service by Captain A.C. Davis, USN, commanding officer of the USS Enterprise.
In September of 1942 Frank was shipped back to the States and granted a 30-days leave. He returned to Texas to visit family and friends. During this visit home he was introduced to his future wife, Christene.
In the Spring of 1944 he was sent back to war and served as First Sergeant of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Montpelier (CL 57). They took part in battles in the Philippines, Borneo, and the Okinawa landings. During the Philippines campaign, he was commended by ship's Captain Harry Hoffman for "his courage and fighting spirit" while shooting down a kamikaze aircraft. After hostilities ended, and before the formal surrender was signed, he was part of a Marine shore party sent into Japan to evacuate Allied Prisoners of War. After the POW evacuation mission ended in late August 1945, he and other members of the shore party toured the inner city area of Hiroshima to view the results of the atomic blast. Following World War II, he served at many Marine Corps stations, including Japan, California, and North Carolina, and retired with the rank of Captain in 1960.
After retirement, he began his second career as an educator by completing his studies and earning a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education at East
Texas State University in Commerce, Texas. His knowledge of computers and his Masters degree led to employment by the Mesquite ISD, Henderson County College, and ultimately Grayson County College. While at Grayson College, he served as Dean of Admissions and Registrar, Executive Vice President and Dean of the College, Vice President Administrative Services, and taught Computer Science courses in the Business Division. After his retirement from Grayson College, Frank wrote his memoir, An Eye Witness to History, spoke to many civic organizations and schools about his experiences at Pearl Harbor, and was also featured in episodes of Battle 360: USS Enterprise on the History Channel.
He was a proud member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, USS Enterprise Association, USS Montpelier Association, charter member of North Texas Council of College and University Registrars, Pi Omega Pi, Phi Delta Kappa and served 40 years as an usher at Waples Memorial United Methodist Church.
Frank is survived by his wife Chris of Denison, daughter Sharon Mulrey and son-in-law Brian of Albuquerque, son Wade Tyler Graves of Denison, granddaughter Christine Mulrey, grandsons Brian Mulrey Jr. (Annette), William Fielder (Elaine), John Fielder (Carrie), and Frank Tyler Graves, great-granddaughters Sarah and Kaitlin Koch, Miranda Mulrey, and Emily Fielder, and soon to be great-grandson Andrew James Fielder.
Our family wishes to express their thanks to the entire, wonderful staff at Denison Nursing and Rehabilitation. We are most grateful for your care and concern for all of us these last few weeks.
Celebration of Life Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday August 12th, at the Waples United Methodist Church in Denison, Texas, followed by a graveside service at Fairview Cemetery. Family night will be held at Bratcher Funeral Home in Denison from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday. The family will also gather in the church Parlor prior to the funeral service on Tuesday.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in his memory to the Memorial Fund at Waples Memorial United Methodist Church, 830 W. Main St. Denison, TX 75020 or the Grayson College Foundation 6101 Grayson Drive Denison, Texas 75020.