James Lewis Graham, Jr., 75, of Fairfax Station, VA, passed away at his home on July 19, 2017 as a result of complications of bladder cancer, metastasized into his lungs and eventually his spine and brain.
Jim was preceded in death by his father, James Lewis Graham, Sr. and his younger brother, David Alan. Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Ann L. Graham of Fairfax Station; his son, Matthew F. Graham and his friend, Heidi, of Minneapolis, MN; his daughter and son-in-law, Paige E. (Matt) Thacker of Manassas, VA; and two grandchildren, Olivia and Samantha Thacker. He is also survived by his mother, Odette F. Graham of Dublin, VA; his brother, Michael Graham and his long-time and much-loved companion Patrick Rowland, of Phoenix, Arizona; and his brother and sister-in-law, Raymond Theodore (Ted) and Bonnie Graham of Dublin; as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. His first marriage to Sandra Loar ended in divorce.
Jim grew up in Fairlawn, Virginia and was a 1960 graduate of Dublin High School in Pulaski County. He owed much to his parents, his experiences in the Boy Scouts, and the sweet life of growing up in a small town during what many of us consider to have been the best of times. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving from 1960 upon entry with the Class of 1964 at the United States Air Force Academy, until retiring as a Colonel in 1988. After this first retirement, he was a technology consultant and consulting manager for several companies in the Washington, D.C. area from 1989 until 2007.
Jim loved to fly, though never succeeding to do so in the Air Force. After what seemed to be a lifetime of delays and procrastination, he finally slipped the surly bonds as a licensed private pilot in the late 90’s in a Cessna 172 trainer – and then years after that training, joined in a partnership with two very good friends to own and fly their own Tecnam Sierra Light Sport Aircraft. While never accumulating a significant number of flying hours, he flew as often as other responsibilities allowed, and he loved the sensations, freedom and discipline of flying – it was a life’s wish finally realized.
He loved Gospel music, and music in general, and his life’s motto was “If not me, then who? And if not now, then when?” Thinking like this repeatedly got him into trouble – but good trouble… such as homeowners’ associations, the opportunity to lead a Dublin High School All-Class Reunion in 2007, and volunteering with others in support of friends in assisted living. He volunteered for many years in support of Wounded Warriors in the Virginia/DC/Maryland area. He loved Genealogy and uncovering the realities of the lives that have gone before us.
A visitation will be held at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Rd. Fairfax, VA 22032 on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. A funeral service will be held at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home Chapel on Monday at 1 p.m. with a visitation the preceding hour. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will follow at a date yet to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances of memorial donation can be sent to any of the following organizations: Fairlawn Presbyterian Church, Fairlawn, VA; the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network; or the Boy Scouts of America. The graham family is in the care of Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home and Crematory in Fairfax.