Carolina Virginia Graham

Carolina Virginia Graham

April 5, 1919 — December 5, 2017

Carolina Virginia Graham, 98, passed away on Dec. 5, 2017 in Wichita Falls, Texas.

A Celebration of Life will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Rolling Meadows Media Center, in Wichita Falls, Texas, officiated by Reggie Coe.

Graveside services will be held at Lakeland Hills Memorial Park at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials may be made to Meals on Wheels of Wichita Falls, 1008 Burnett St., Wichita Falls, TX 76301 or Grace Church, 5214 Stone Lake Dr., Wichita Falls, TX 76308.

Virginia was born April 5, 1919, in her grandmother’s home in Itasca, Texas, to the late John Rufus Hyden and Julia Josephine Cogdell Hyden. She grew up with her three younger siblings as their family moved all over Texas to be with her engineer father as he designed and built roads from San Diego, Texas, to Dallas. Her favorite place to live and visit was in Itasca with her grandmother, Carolina Virginia Gathings Cogdell, who took her to a traveling tent revival where Virginia asked Jesus into her heart at the age of 10 years!

Virginia was a 1935 graduate of Sunset High School in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Texas Women’s University with a Physical Education Teaching degree in 1939 and took her first coaching job in Burkburnett, Texas. One of Virginia’s favorite stories was telling how she had to run spring training for the football team when all the men coaches joined the war effort. She told the boys, she would hold practices, but if they ever caused any trouble that would make her have to go into the locker room, “It would be all over!”
In 1940, she took a coaching position in Corsicana, Texas, where she met the love of her life, Coach James Fred “Speedy” Graham! They were married May 2, 1941, and lived in Princeton, New Jersey, while Fred attended Naval Officer Training School. Virginia told of meeting and chatting with Albert Einstein in Princeton’s Prospect Garden as she took her daily walks. She and Fred also enjoyed train rides into New York City on the weekends where the nightly “blackouts” made it a guessing game as to which restaurant or store you were entering.

Captain James Fred Graham received his orders and they traveled to San Francisco, California, where their son, James Fred “Spunky” Graham, was born. After the war, Virginia and Fred came home to Texas and settled in Dallas where their daughter, Julia Carolyn “Taffy” Graham, was born.

Virginia loved her years as a coach’s wife, mother and teacher. She was active in Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church teaching in their kindergarten for 10 years. Next she took a full time teaching job at Jefferson Davis Elementary until she retired in 1976. One of the highlights of her teaching career was receiving an award given by the American Freedom Foundation to outstanding teachers of History and Social Studies. As a recipient, she was sent to Chicago, along with husband Fred, to attend a six week course with educators from all over the world.

After retirement, Virginia and Fred moved to Lake Buchanan, Texas, where she delivered Meals on Wheels for more than 30 years. She was an active member of the Lake Buchanan Interdenominational Church and volunteered at The Red Barn to raise money for area volunteer firemen and EMTs. Virginia drove many miles on US 281 between Marble Falls and Wichita Falls to attend almost every sporting event, musical production and birthday celebration of her beloved grandchildren.
Her last move, at the age of 90, was to Rolling Meadows and later The Gables of Rolling Meadows, where she enjoyed friendships with residents and staff. The family would like to extend their personal thanks to the staff of Rolling Meadows, The Gables and Hospice for the loving care bestowed during Virginia’s last years.

Virginia is preceded in death by her husband, James Fred Graham; son, Dr. James Fred Graham, sister Julette Hiett and brother in law Richard Hiett; brother John R. Hyden and sister in law Pat Hyden; sister in law Margie Boehler and brother in law Hal Boehler; sister in law Dortha Kanewske and brother in law Joe Kanewske.

Survivors include her daughter Julia Carolyn Ketner and husband Randy of Wichita Falls; daughter in law Paulette Graham of Marble Falls; brother James Hyden and wife Anita of Chandler, Texas; grandchildren Jamie Graham and wife Tenisha; Steve Graham; Gabrielle Kinman and husband Mickey;Danny Ketner and wife Amy; Kara Langley and many nieces and nephews who loved “Aunt Teensie” and her homemade peach ice cream!

God blessed Virginia “Gma” with great grandchildren who kept her young in heart and spirit: Cameron, Brody and Anson Graham; Reid Graham; Graham, Clover, Ryan, Kyla and Jonah Fred Kinman; Maggie, Lila Jane and William Ketner; and Brynn Elise Langley!

Virginia will be greatly missed, but we rejoice knowing she is finally home hearing, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

I love you a bushel and a peck, Taffy.

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