Obituary of Harold K. Graves, Jr.
Harold K. Graves, Jr. passed away peacefully in the arms of his loving wife, Patricia, on January 30, 2018. Some people are born to be excellent followers. A few are born to be leaders. Harold Graves was a leader. He was born May 15, 1941 in Louisville, Kentucky. Six weeks later, he and his father, mother and older sister moved to Chickasha, Oklahoma. After four years, they moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he spent his childhood managing the neighborhood group of children. On any warm summer day, as five or six kids stood in a circle and one asked, “What can we do today?” the whole group looked at Harold. He always had a plan.
In 1952, the family moved to Berkeley, California where he started the sixth grade and then continued, graduating from Berkeley High School. Harold was a leader in the Sea Scouts for several years. The family moved to Mill Valley, California in 1959.
His military life began with basic training at Ft. Ord, California. He was chosen for Officers Candidate School in Georgia, and then went through Jump School and Ranger School. His leadership abilities were evident in 1966 when he was sent to Vietnam and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi. His first assignment was with the 2nd of the 27th Infantry Wolfhounds where he had the first platoon in A company. Then, he took over Battalion Recon and was used as a fourth company. He was awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous
gallantry in action while leading his men in an attack against a strong North Vietnamese force after being pinned down in intense enemy fire. Though wounded, he led his men in an assault on a bunker, while encouraging his men to follow him. He then directed the evacuation of other wounded to the rear.
In February ’67, he became the Aide-de-Camp to the new Assistant Division Commander, BG Edward Flannigan. Two months later they moved into Westmorland’s Villa in Saigon. General Flannigan had become the Special Assistant to General Westmorland and it turned out that Harold’s only job was to set out the name tags for the evening meal. At his request, he left
the next day and went back to the 25th Division and took over the job as Aidede- Camp to the other ADC, General Don Bolton. He finished out his tour flying every day with General Bolton. During his service, he received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Viet Nam Service Ribbon, Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Air Medal with 11 OLC, and Combat Infantry Badge.
After active duty, he returned to Mill Valley, obtained his Broker’s License in Real Estate and managed an office for a large real estate company. He was again, a leader in several capacities during this time, President of the Mill Valley Jaycees, President of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce, President of the Mill Valley Rotary Club and President of the Marin County Board of Realtors. He served on the ’71-’72 Marin County Grand Jury where they deliberated the fate of Angela Davis and the San Quentin Six. In 1980 he took a complete 180 and decided on early retirement, dropping out of all the organizations with which he had been so completely involved.
In September of 2001 he and his wife, Patricia, bought a home in Nevada City, and he became very involved in the community. He loved living in Nevada County and was most proud of the way veterans were made to feel particularly welcome. He joined the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 535, in 2002 and served as their President for a total of four years.
He was also a proud honorary member of the Blue Knight Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club where he made many true and loyal friends. Their many rides across the U.S. were some of the highlights of his life.
Harold will be forever remembered by the ‘love of his life’ his wife, Patricia, and his loving daughters Jennifer (Mark) and Kerry (Geheris), and his four wonderful grandchildren, Katy, Rebecca, Taylor and Ashley. He will also be truly missed by his sister, Nancy, his nephew Scott (Kristen), his niece Stacey (David) and several great nieces and nephews. Among those who will forever remember him are his loyal friends, Stu Fisher, Wells Rasmussen, Bob Troutt and Chris Lopiccolo. Many thanks go to James E. Irons, MD, of the VA Sierra Foothills Outpatient Clinic in Auburn, who was not only his doctor but also his friend, and to the wonderful staff of Hospice of the Foothills, particularly his nurse, Erica.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to: Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 535, P.O. Box 37, Grass Valley, CA 95945.
A ‘Celebration of Life’ will be planned sometime in the spring.
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