Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Richard Graves

September 20, 2022
Grand Rapids, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Richard (Dick) Charles Graves, born on April 30, 1929, to Rena and Harry Graves in Battle Creek, Michigan. He moved to Flint, Michigan, where he graduated from Central High School, and then attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1954. He served in the U.S. Air Force for two years as a dentist and then opened a dental practice in Flint for 13 years. He also served in the Michigan Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve for 24 years in the Dental Corp, retiring as a full Colonel.

In 1968 he returned to the University of Michigan to earn a master’s degree in Public Health and a DrPH in Epidemiology. He then taught at the University of Michigan, followed by time with the University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, and University of North Carolina. Upon retirement, he and Sylvia put their furniture in storage to hike the Appalachian Trail for two summers and then retiring to Traverse City, Michigan, where they lived for 18 years before moving to Covenant Living in 2012.

Dick enjoyed participating in marathons, road races, bicycling, swimming, triathlons, Senior Olympics and the World Senior Games in St. George, Utah. To celebrate his 75th birthday he hiked to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, parts of the Great Wall of China for his 80th, the Alps for 85th, and rafted through the Grand Canyon for his 90th.

Dick is survived by his wife of 67 years, Sylvia Marie (Jandacek) Graves, and their seven children: Deborah (Robert) Kalmbach, Diane (Peter) Young, Ann (Charles) Pilch, David (Julia) Graves, Barbara (Timothy) Ramey, Kathleen (Randall) Barnett, and Thomas (Marnie) Graves, 14 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.

Dick had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and a great love of singing hymns. He will be missed by all who were blessed to know him.