William H. Graves Jr., a former U.S. Postal Service superintendent and real estate agent, died on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. He was 96.
He was born on July 3, 1923 in Philadelphia to the late Katherine T. Graves and William H. Graves. He resided in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia with his parents and siblings, Jean Graves and LeRoy Graves.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Graves attended and graduated from Simon Gratz High School, and subsequently joined the U.S. Air Force.
After being honorably discharged as a sergeant from the Air Force, he attended Howard University as a pre-med student. During his tenure at Howard, Graves met Jean Staton and they married and moved back to Philadelphia in 1949. Two sons were born to their union. He often shared with his family and friends how proud he was of both of his sons. He was married to his wife for 54 years until her death in 2003.
Upon moving back to Philadelphia, Graves joined in the postal service and worked his way up to be the superintendent of Vehicle Operations. During his tenure, he was offered the prestigious position of postmaster but opted out of the promotion because he did not want to relocate to Florida.
Graves also enjoyed a rewarding career as a licensed real estate and life insurance agent.
He was lover of golf and music, especially jazz, and listened to the works of musicians like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Stanley Clarke and the Modern Jazz Quartet.
Graves also had a thirst for adventure and new experiences. Throughout his life, he enjoyed traveling to many countries around the world, and hosting and attending events where he could listen to good music and experience new people.
In his later years, Graves reconnected with his life companion of 15 years, Lois Schmidt, who oversaw his care until his passing.
To the ones closest to him, he was affectionately known as Bill, Billy, Dad, and Pop-Pop; a pensive man who was always rocking in his armchair, sharpening his mind through endless crossword puzzles and chess games with jazz playing softly in the background.
In addition to his companion, he is survived by: his sons, Dr. Vaughn C. Graves and Dr. Derrick B. Graves ; daughter-in-law, Leslie Graves; fiancée of Derrick B. Graves, Donna Whitehead; grandchildren, Dr. Amanda G. Graves, William Harrison Graves, Ilyana Barboza Graves and Ferris Smith; great-grandchild, Nyla Williams and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held Dec. 30 at African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Ave. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. Burial is private.
Terry Funeral Home handled the arrangements.