James Henry Graves passed away peacefully on 27 Sep 2023 at home in Langley, Oklahoma. He was 86 years old. Born on 2 Nov 1936 at his parent’s home near Adair, Oklahoma, James was the youngest child of Maggie LeShawn (Troglin) Graves and Joseph Henry Graves.
He was preceded in death by his spouse of 65 years, Joan (Newsom) Graves and daughter LaDonna Kay (Graves) Opp and grandson Luke James Graves. James loved Joan and since her passing has felt the void she left and truly missed their constant companionship. James was also preceded in death by his parents and six siblings: Doris “Bill” (Graves) Thomas, Joseph Noel “Bud” Graves, Clarence Earlene “Russ” Russell, Mary (Graves) Carson, Betty Jane (Graves) Boren, and Douglas R. “Doug” Russell.
James is survived by sons Charley Robert “Skip” Payton, David Lee Payton and Steven Paul Graves; brother Thomas Warren Graves, 15 grandchildren, and 33 great grandchildren.
In 1942, when James was a young boy, his family moved by wagon to a new farm his parents bought; five miles east of Adair. His parents built a new home; a barn, granary, chicken coup, and out buildings for the animals they raised. James helped his family plant large gardens, a fruit orchard, and tended live stock (pigs, cows, horses, and fowls). Born during the Great Depression, James worked hard with his family to grow and raise everything they needed to survive during those hard times. As a young schoolboy he rode a horse 3 miles through all types of weather to attend a one room schoolhouse. James, his brothers and sisters, also had to do morning and evening chores to help take care of the farm.
James traced his Native American heritage via his mother’s lineage and is on the Cherokee Nation Dawes Rolls. As a soldier in the U.S. Army, he was assigned to a Missile Defense unit stationed in Germany during the height of the Cold War and Berlin Wall construction.
During his youth and adulthood, James thoroughly enjoyed nature and being outdoors in the county side. He hunted quail with his bird dog and fished the creeks, rivers, and lakes in the area. His passion for nature, hunting, and fishing was passed on to his children and his grandchildren. In his later years he gave up his bird dog for blue tick bloodhounds and rode his horse (later a mule) to hunt raccoons. James loved the nighttime hunts following the howling hounds and jumping fences with his mule during the chase even though he rarely killed a coon.
A memorial service will not be held for James. To leave his family a personal message, please visit his guestbook at www.shipmansfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Shipman's Funeral & Cremation Service of Pryor.