Vernon Leland Graham, 92, passed away on Monday, December 27th, 2010 at the Washington County Hospital in Washington, Kansas. A funeral service was held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, December 31, at Ward Funeral Home in Washington. The Rev. Judy Hill officiated. Burial was in the Washington City Cemetery. Vernon was born November 23, 1918 in Mahaska, Kansas, the second son to Clarence Milton Graham and Josephine (Tuma) Graham. While he and his brother, Avery, were still quite young, his mother passed away and his dad took the boys and moved to Fairbury, Nebraska where he took a job with the Rock Island Railroad. Shortly thereafter he married their housekeeper, Ethel (Fentiman) Robertson, and they had a daughter, Harlene Alice. Vernon and Avery moved out and batched together in an old log cabin near Endicott and both worked at the Endicott Brick Yard (Endicott Clay Products). They took several trips together in their Model A which included Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, working their way along. Being very musical, Vernon taught himself the guitar and harmonica, and played in the dance band “Gentleman Jack and the Westerners” for quite a number of years. He was also an excellent rodeo participant and won first place often in both steer riding and bare back bronco riding. Vernon married on February 6, 1940, at age 21, to Velma Marie Schutte of Linn, Kansas. He worked on and off at the Endicott Brick Yard, with his last stint from November 1973 until his retirement September, 1990. Vernon and Velma resided in Endicott, Steel City, Burchard, and Washington, usually on farms. He raised cattle, sheep, Shetland ponies, and had a great collection of many exotic birds. He and Velma both loved their dogs, especially little “Mitzi’, and had an internationally prized collection of Iris flowers. Their last residence together was in Washington, Kansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Josephine (Tuma) Graham; stepmother, Ethel Graham; loving wife, Velma Graham; brother, Avery Graham; and step-brothers, Lynn, Ivan and Fritz Robertson. Survivors include his half-sister, Harlene Hellbush and husband, Victor; several cousins, nephews, nieces, extended family and many friends. Memorials to the family for their choice c/o Ward Funeral Home.
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