By Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent
Name: David Graves
Born: June 28, 1940
Died: Nov. 24, 2004
Preceded in death by: his parents; and a stepson, Teddie Radcliff.
Survived by: his wife Delma; a son, Jeff (and wife, Stacy) and their children, Timber and Wyatt; two stepdaughters, Janie Mock of Clayton and Beverly Creighton (Donald) of Elida; two brothers, Donald (Juanita) of Elida and Kent of Odessa, Texas; and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
David Graves was the type of person that did not give up on life when circumstances stood against him. He took life by the horns and pressed on as he overcame a number of health issues.
On Nov. 20, 2004 his house caught on fire and Delma Graves, David Graves’ wife of 38 years, pulled himout of the burning building. Delma received major injuries when she later ran back into the house. They were both admitted to the University Medical Center Health Systems in Lubbock, Texas. Delma was in the intensive care unit burn center when David died four days later on Nov. 24, 2004.
Family and friends described David as being fun loving and kind. He enjoyed restoring antiques, growing tomatoes in his garden and sharing them with the Elida community, watching television and raising cattle.
Beverly Creighton, David’s stepdaughter, said her favorite memories of David were on branding days.
“He loved to cook,” she said. “We would build a camp fire, cook out and just relax.”
David Graves was born on June 28, 1940 in Idalou, Texas, to G.W. “Jiggs” and Nathalie Graves. In 1943, the family moved to Carlsbad and then to Elida in 1947. He attended Elida schools until his high school graduation in 1958. During that time, he was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, earning the top rank of Eagle Scout. He was also a member of the Boy Scouts’ honor society, the Order of the Arrow.
After high school, he joined the U. S. Navy and served for three years in Florida and aboard the U.S.S. Forrestal. After completion of his duty, he returned to Elida and worked at Wall’s Grocery Store in the meat market. In 1965, he married Delma. He later started his own business, Elida Custom Beef Processing, which he operated until the 1980s when he sold it. He then operated a furniture refinishing and sales business for many years at the North Side Feed Store in Elida until health problems forced him into retirement.
For more a decade, David sat with his friends and drank coffee, sometimes three times a day, in a designated area called the “liars table” at the Branding Iron Café in Elida, according to Delma.
Paula Heflin, a cook for the Branding Iron, said the table of men drink coffee and tell stories and sometime their tales are “tall and fat.”
“David was a real nice man,” Heflin said. “He didn’t talk a lot but when he did, he had something to say.”