Walter Graves

Obituary of Walter Graves

Life Legacy Walter Kenneth Graves, aka W. Ken, as he liked to be called, died on August 14, 2014, at age 79 after a lengthy history of health problems. He was born June 12, 1935 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Walter and Eleanor Ryno Graves. He grew up in/near Sparta, Michigan. He attended Sparta High School, then Grand Rapids Junior College and the University of Michigan before being drafted into the U.S. Army where he served in Monterey, California, for two years. He was always amiable and well liked. From high school to the tennis clubs in Monterey, he made friends wherever he went. His big smile and warm personality endeared him to many. While growing up on a farm in Sparta, Ken learned many small-town sensibilities. He loved bowling at the local bowling alley, worked in the town foundry, and learned to hunt, fish and camp in the woods around Sparta. Ken always enjoyed the Holidays. Big family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas were events he looked forward to every year. He did his best to share those traditions with his family. He believed in strong family values. He resumed his education in California, attending what is now Cal State Northridge from which he graduated majoring in Accounting in 1965. Ken was very active in his student life, which included helping found the Sigma Chi Fraternity chapter at Cal State Northridge, participating in intramural athletics, student politics and singing in the chorus. Ken was a strong believer in higher education and encouraged his sons to pursue their degrees as well. After college, he became a CPA and practiced for over 45 years working in both public and private accounting, first for one of the “Big 8" accounting firms, as he referred to them, and then running his own practice for many years. Sports were also important to Ken. He played basketball, baseball, and tennis in high school and college and enjoyed being on the tennis court up until his death. Unfortunately, those sports took a toll on his body and an early knee injury would come back to haunt him on numerous occasions over the years. Ken also passed on this love of sports to his two sons. The Boy Scouts were always a part of Ken's life. After being a Boy Scout and then a Scoutmaster in Michigan, he continued that legacy by helping his younger son, Tad, achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, an accomplishment that Ken would always take great pride in. Ken's love of the outdoors would be something he'd carry from childhood long into his later years. He would often recount hunting in the woods in Michigan with his dog and friends, family with reverence. As a small boy, Ken said he would dream of traveling to far away places and seeing the world. And this too, he would see in his lifetime. While in the Army in 1960, he saved up his leave and spent five weeks visiting Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines, Okinawa, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. Later in 1967, he spent a week in Mexico City where an adventurous cab ride landed him at a Jai Alai stadium. He also visited Japan on numerous occasions, experiences he got to share with his young sons. His time in the Army instilled a love of the Monterey Peninsula. And in 1989, he would pick up stakes and move from Los Angeles to Pacific Grove where he would spend the rest of his life. Above all, Ken wanted to be remembered as a man who put family first. He would never miss his sons' games, campouts, youth activities and graduations. All of his leisure activities revolved around family as well. There were trips to Disneyland, trips to the beach, road trips to visit family in Michigan over the years. And throughout all the trials of life, Ken did his best to look out for his sons. He leaves his two beloved sons, Kiyoshi and Tadashi, both of Los Angeles, his former spouse, Hideko Graves, sisters Nancy Menzel, Margaret Graves, brothers Charles Graves and Jimmy Graves, sister-in-law Cookie Steeby and numerous nieces and nephews. His brother Rudy Steeby and sister Jean Bird preceded him in death. Ken will be remembered as a kind and caring person with a big heart who loved life no matter what the challenges were. And he will forever be a small town boy from Sparta, Michigan. There will be a memorial service for Ken in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on September 19, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. at Resurrection Cemetery, 4100 Clyde Park Avenue SW, Wyoming, MI 49509. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Breast Cancer Assistance Group of the Monterey Peninsula Boy Scouts of America, or your favorite charity. The family wishes to express our appreciation for the kind and devoted professional care Ken received from David Craig Wright, MD, and his entire staff, and the other health care professionals who gave Ken excellent care.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Walter Graves, please visit Tribute Store
Share Your Memory of