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Stephen L. Graves

June 17, 1924 July 12, 2015
Stephen L. Graves
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Obituary for Stephen L. Graves
Stephen L. Graves, 91, passed away at his home in Brookings on July 12, 2015 with his wife of nearly 66 years by his side. Stephen was born June 17, 1924 in Fresno, Calif. , one of four children to the Reverend Fredrick D. and Rebekah D. Graves. The family moved to Oceanside, Calif. where Stephen attended and graduated from Oceanside High where he was active in the music program. He went on to attend the University of Southern California on a music scholarship. While in Los Angeles, Stephen played Oboe and English horn on occasion for the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra and for Columbia Studios with Mitch Miller. In June of 1943, he was inducted into the US Army serving in the “F” Battery 3rd Coast Artillery which had the mission of the Harbor Defense of Los Angeles. On June 27, 1945, Stephen married Yvonne Jean McCain. After receiving an honorable discharge, Stephen and Yvonne moved to Chemiketa Park, Calif. where he worked as a contractor and attended San Jose State College. The marriage to Yvonne ended in divorce in 1948. Stephen graduated from San Jose State with high honors in 1949. He married Dorris Patricia “Patti” Burck on September 25, 1949. They both continued their schooling, each earning a teaching credential. Stephen taught for a short time before being hired by the US Air Force as a Missile Engineer. He worked on the Atlas Missile System, the Minuteman Missile and as a statistician for the Missile Targeting Group. He retired in 1984 after 30 years of federal service. Stephen and Patti then moved to London – using that as a base of operations to visit the Anglican Historic Places and tour in France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. They moved to Brookings in 1988 where they lived for a short time at At Rivers Edge RV Park before moving to their home on the North Bank of the Chetco River. Stephen was a member of the Masonic Lodge and served as Master of the Sidney Croft Lodge in 1991. He joined Flotilla 56 of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary qualifying for many positions, teaching boating classes and serving as Flotilla Commander in 2000 and 2001. In 2002, he and Bob Pratt initiated the Burial at Sea Program for the Flotilla and Station Chetco River providing burial ceremonies for veterans of all service branches and their spouses in the Pacific. He retired from the Coast Guard Auxiliary in 2010 following twenty years of service. Survivors include his wife, Patti of Brookings, sons, Michael Burck Graves, Lawrence Dunstan Graves, daughters, Lois Rebekah Graves Marks, Jennifer Lynn Graves Hammargren, Mary Patricia Graves Lund, foster sons, Mahendra Modi and Terry Carothers, foster daughters, Annette Bomberg and Lori Reynolds, one goddaughter and three godsons, six grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. Stephen was preceded in death by his siblings, Mary Denslow Graves Dunn, Elliot Digsby Graves and Sarah Graves Dyche. Memorial contributions may be made to Coastal Home Health and Hospice, PO Box 493, Gold Beach, OR 97444 or St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 1237, Brookings, OR 97415. A memorial service will be held in September. The time and location will be announced. Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at
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