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Rev. William B. Graham, Jr.

March 1, 1931 – August 24, 2016

 

Bill Graham

Rev. William B. Graham, Jr. March 1, 1931 – August 24, 2016

The Rev. William B. Graham, of Dayton, passed away Wednesday at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Bill was born March 1, 1931, in Spokane, to William B. Graham, Sr. and Martha Ovella (Beggs) Graham.

He attended schools in Spokane, graduating from Lewis and Clark High School, where both of his parents taught, in 1949. Bill graduated from Whitman College in 1953, with a bachelor's degree in English literature. He attended McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill., and received a divinity degree in 1956.

Bill met Julia Esther Rice at Whitman, and they were married in Walla Walla in 1952. Bill and Julia had three sons, Ken, Brian and Larry, and a daughter, Margaret. Bill and Julia divorced in 1972. Bill was later married to wife Diane, who passed away in 1982, and to wives Judy and Cleome, from whom he was later divorced.

Bill served as pastor at several Congregational-UCC churches during his life, including Sauk Rapids, Minn., West Seattle, Vancouver, Wash., Ione, Ore. and Gresham, Ore. He was hired as pastor of the First Congregational Church-UCC in Dayton in 1983, and served there until his retirement in 1993. He lived in Dayton for the remainder of his life.

During the 1980s and early '90s, Bill organized and led the committee that oversaw the renovation of the Columbia County Courthouse in Dayton. He considered that one of his proudest accomplishments.

Bill was elected to the Dayton City Council in 1997, and was elected mayor of Dayton in 1999. He served as Dayton's mayor for eight years. He later served six more years on city council.

Bill was an avid and talented woodworker, and worked in his wood shop throughout his life, especially after retirement.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Jane, and his second wife, Diane. He is survived by his children, Ken (Rebecca Kessinger), Brian, Larry and Margaret (Chris Dalcerro), two grandchildren, three nieces, nine step-children, and several step-grandchildren.

A service celebrating Bill's life will be held Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. at the Dayton Congregational Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Memorial Fund at Dayton First Congregational Church-UCC, 214 S. Third St., Dayton, WA 99328.

 

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