John Frederick Graves

March 8, 1944


November 13, 2020

John Frederick Graves

March 8, 1944


November 13, 2020

John Frederick Graves died Friday evening, Nov. 13, 2020, in his home and among family in Billings; he was 76. John was born in Independence, Kansas, on March 8, 1944, to Margaret Esther (Sourbeer) and Clarence Graves, Jr.

John’s life, accomplishments, and beliefs are survived in a rich and diverse family spirit, history and tradition of hard work and dedication to family, public service, and simply wanting to have an impact on all those around him in a transformative way. He made you a better person simply by having known him.

Everybody who knew John knew he was larger than life. He was truly one of a kind. His energy could fill up a room with his piercing smile and bombastic laugh. He was happiest when around the table hootin’ and hollerin’ with his friends, telling wild stories, and perhaps having a drink or a smoke.

He loved reading and loved a great intellectual and political discussion. He felt that a good education was the greatest gift you can give yourself and perhaps to those around you. Every day he would tell his kids, “Do cool in school.” His children were everything to him. He also loved cooking, daily trips to Costco, and was always good for a bowl of chili. His love for cooking and gathering with friends and family are remembered by a long list of lasting memories shared across the table.

Dementia set in after John had already lived a full and wonderful life. He accepted his fate with grace and composure, never complaining or giving his wife Linda a hard time about anything as she cared for him. He spent the remaining years and days of a 52-year marriage with her next to his side. His passing was a blessing and he will be sorely missed always. We love you.

A private viewing with immediate family took place on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary in Billings; there will be no funeral. John will be interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Independence, Kansas, by Webb Funeral Service on Nov. 25. Since a funeral will not be held at this time, in lieu of flowers, please offer your condolence in a contribution to PBS, ZooMontana or a charity of your choosing.

John would want nothing more than his life to be celebrated in laughter and deep conversation. We will celebrate John’s life in person at a later date.

John’s Family would like to specifically thank the ownership and staff of Caramel Cookie Waffle who were incredibly kind and patient to he and Linda until his passing, as well as to Mrs. Cathy Comly for being such an incredible and kind caregiver up until the very end.

John was preceded in death by his siblings, older brother and sister respectively, David of Houston, Texas, and Gwen Webb of Independence, Kansas. John is survived by his wife, Linda (Brandenburg) Graves; and his three children, John Frederick, Jr., Clarence Zachary and Gwendolyn Elizabeth; and four grandchildren, Maura, Mollie, and Claire of Zach and Brigid (McGuigan) and Sebastian of Gwen Wickett.

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4 thoughts on “John Frederick Graves”

  1. LINDA Gossett Hill

    Dear Linda
    I’m so sorry to hear about John’s passing.
    You take care of yourself. I know it’s difficult right now, but taking care of yourself is important too.
    Love to you and your family.
    LINDA Gossett Hill

  2. Dear Linda and family,
    We are so sorry to hear of your loss. John was a good friend and co-worker and we will always remember staying with you and John before we moved back to Minnesota in 2001- especially all the delicious meals he made and how welcoming you both were. I always enjoyed working with John and seeing you both when we were out about and visiting.

    With Deepest Sympathy,
    John and Kathy Freetly

  3. All of us at ZooMontana send our condolences. ZooMontana has received several gifts in memory of John. Thank you for listing the Zoo as a charity to memorialize his life.

    With sympathy,

    Jeff Ewelt
    Executive Director

  4. Billie Kay Vassau

    Linda, it was a sad day to learn of John’s passing. He was such a good guy, and an absolute hoot to work with. May the Gods wrap you in their arms and sooth your heart.

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