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Richard A. Graham


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ichard Arlen Graham was born on November 7, 1929 to Joseph and Henrietta (Seelinger) Graham in Erie, Pennsylvania. He passed away on June 24, 2018 at Suncoast Hospice North Pinellas Care Center surrounded by his loving family.

Family

Richard was preceded in death by both of his parents and his sister Betty Graham. Additionally he is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Mary (Sarvadi) Graham; sons Rick (Wanda) Graham, Todd Graham; daughters Christine (Michael) Beale, Linda Graham, Alison Clarke; grandchildren Ryan, Cory, Sean, Chase, Mikaela, Gabrielle, Brandon, Tyler, Colby and two great-grandchildren Tyler and Kyleigh.

Life

Richard, affectionately referred to as “Papa”, “Mr. Graham” or “Uncle Dick” was a kindhearted gentleman who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. His greatest pride and joy was his family! He adored his beautiful wife, Mary from the first time he laid eyes on her when he was only 16 years old. Their love was admired by all who knew them. Richard and Mary were often referred to as “the lovebirds”, especially in his final year while being cared for in assisted living. When she came to visit him, his eyes lit up as soon as he saw her. They were often seen smooching and holding hands. Their love was a true testament to what commitment means. Richard was an honorable man, always honest and trustworthy. His word was as valid as a written contract. He loved all of his children and grandchildren unconditionally and also taught them the importance of being responsible, strong and independent. His core values never wavered.

Richard served in the United States Air Force for four years during the Korean War. Their first daughter Linda was born during this time to be followed by four more children in the next 12 years. Richard and Mary raised their family in Erie, PA where he worked selling Prudential Insurance until 1978. At that time he decided to retire and move to Clearwater, FL with Mary and their two youngest daughters where they had vacationed for many years. He lived a very relaxed and satisfied lifestyle there surrounded by his kids until the grandkids came along. In his younger years, Richard enjoyed bowling, playing golf,  sports, boating, water skiing and hosting parties with their many friends. He also took pride in his ability to fix anything that got broken and often invented little tools to repair things. He had a silly, childlike sense of humor and loved to entertain his family and friends with his antics and jokes. He got such joy from making people laugh. He also enjoyed gambling & playing dice – a game that anyone who knows the Graham’s has played with him. 

He loved baseball and often accompanied his son Rick to watch him coach his grandkids playing ball. He loved sports and relished in being present at the multitude of sports his grandkids played growing up. He was always the proudest Papa in the stands! He provided a wonderful home for his children and grandchildren. At our house there was always “room for one more” at the dinner table or family gathering. He was a devout Catholic and volunteered as an usher at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Clearwater for many years. He lived a wonderful life and will be greatly missed! 

Services

A memorial mass is scheduled for Monday, July 9, 2018 at 10:00 am at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Clearwater. Father Ted Costello will be performing the mass. Following the mass, a graveside service with military honors provided by the United States Air Force Honor Guard is scheduled for 12:30 pm at Bay Pines National Cemetery. All guests planning on attending the graveside service should plan to arrive at the cemetery at 12:15 pm.

Special Acknowledgements

The Graham family would like to thank the entire staff of nurses and doctors from Suncoast Hospice who were involved in his care. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Suncoast Hospice in memory of Richard Graham.

Friends, family, and those who served with Richard are invited to share a memory and sign his guestbook below.

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  • Amy Denham says:

    So very sorry for your family’s loss. He will be with you in spirit forever.

  • Lauren LePoidevin (Howell) says:

    A beautiful life full of family and love. Sounds like a wonderful man. I’m sorry you all had to say goodbye.

  • Patty Handy says:

    Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Chris C says:

    I am deeply sorry for your family’s loss. The God of all comfort will help you to cope during this difficult time. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

  • Jackie DiTullio Aronica says:

    Beautiful obituary I have many fond memories being at the ‘Graham’household in Erie,Pa. Mr Graham (your dad)was rock solid. He and your mom raised a great family
    I will keep you all in my prayers. You were blessed to have him as you dad He left a wonderful legacy ….. his family

    My deepest condolences. ♥️
    Jackie.

  • sandy lane arcaro says:

    i was once married to mr.grahams son todd; i am truley sorry for his passing and i know he is going to a good place and we all will unite oneday. i love to see him eat’ his favorites were sweets and he always enjoyed anything you cooked. he always treated me with full respect and helped us (todd) and i. he helped get us a place to live ;and we did pay him back.. i promised him faithfully ‘ i would never let him down ; i would always pay our rent on time and other bills as well. heaven has gotten a wonderful man and i know he is in a much better place. all my love and deepest sympathies to the intire GRAHAM FAMILY. to linda and rick and wanda allison christine and todd i am sorry for the lost of your dad. GOD BLESS ALL. AND MARY(MOM) you tried your very best and you did wonderfull to try and take care of him. you are a angel for all you have ever done for anyone ‘including me. even though ‘ after all i still think and love you all dearley. sandy’

  • Mary Jean & Barry Thorne says:

    Dear Mary and family,

    Barry and I were so very fortunate to have moved into the condo next door to two wonderful people. We are truly sorry for your loss. We know that your loving memories of Dick will keep him alive in your hearts forever.

    Much love and sympathy,

  • Ron & Gail McCullough says:

    Rick and Wanda, your mom. The boys and your entire family. Out thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this difficult time. Anything we can do, please let us know. I would say God Bless you but he already has so Good be with you.

  • Christine Beale says:

    Thank you for your kind words about dad. He will be missed here on earth but has made it to his eternal home and we are rejoicing in God’s glory for him. 🙏❤️🦋

  • Jolene Dinehart Munzenrieder says:

    Mr. Graham was a devoted Husband and Father to his family. He always had a smile on his face and a great sense of humor. He did make everyone feel like family when they were in his home. I was lucky enough to have been one of those people. You are in my thoughts and prayers. XOXO, Jolene, Kyle, Garrett & Cali Munzenrieder

  • Debi & Sid Hultquist says:

    To the entire Graham family, we are so very sorry for your loss. Richard Graham will be remembered most for his love of being with his family and friends, playing “Dice” and enjoying good food (especially dessert). He always made us feel like he was truly glad to see us and that we were always part of his beautiful family that he was so proud of. He will be greatly missed, but the memories will live in your hearts. May you all find comfort & rest in God’s grace, mercy & love. Hugs & love to you all.

    Love, Deb, Sid and family and Aunt Lib