Charles Graham knew the true meaning of service – to his country, his community, his church, and everyone he loved.
As a young man, he volunteered as soon as he could to join the American forces in World War II. He was just 17 when he left America for Japan to be part of the U.S. occupation and revitalization of the war-torn country. He became a member of the 11th Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, eventually attaining the rank of Major.
Later, he was assigned to be an observer at the U.S. atomic bomb testing site in Nevada.
He was stationed at the University of Dayton with the ROTC program and he met his beloved Evelyn, and they married in 1956, celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this year.
He came back to UD as a student, graduating with a degree in business administration in 1957.
He then began his lifelong career as a salesman, first working for the Royal-McBee Company, then Puritan Chemical, eventually moving into insurance and starting his own insurance agency, the Graham Insurance Agency, in 1969.
He earned his CLU and ChFC designations and he was president of Dayton Area Life Underwriters and a member of NAIFA and the Miami Valley Estate Planning Council.
He also championed a number of civic and charitable causes, including the City of Centerville Board of Architectural Review, president of the University of Dayton Alumni Association, president of the International Serra Club Foundation, a member of the Holy Sepulchre and Knights of St. Peter Claver. Along with his wife, he was an active member of Incarnation parish for 62 years, including being a lector. For his work with the City of Centerville, he was named Volunteer of the Year in 2013.
He was most devoted to his family, including his three children, Kim, Janet, and Charles William (Chuck). He enjoyed recreational outings and cheering them on and volunteering for their sporting events. The family enjoyed a number of trips together to Europe and Canada. With his wife, Evelyn, they traveled to all 50 U.S. states and 30 countries.
Avid fans of University of Dayton basketball, Charles and Evelyn have been season ticket holders for 70 years.
Charlie was a renowned storyteller and known for his wit and tremendous joke telling ability. The Graham dinner table was always a fun place to spend a few hours. He enjoyed gourmet cooking and was known to whip up delicious desserts and his mother’s delectable scones.
He will long be remembered for his dedication to others and love of life and laughter.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William Graham of Glasgow, Scotland, and Elizabeth (Sawyer) Graham of Devon, England, his son, Chuck, and his sisters, Helen Lee, and Sheila Johnston. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn; daughters Kim (Lew) and Janet (John); daughter-in-law, Julie; granddaughters, Kelli and Leah (Lindsey); and great grandson, Charlie.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 29 at Incarnation Church, Centerville, Ohio. Family will greet friends one hour prior, 9:30 a.m., at the church. Following the Mass, Charles will be laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery in Dayton.
Memorials may be sent to charities of your choice.