John Graham Obituary

John G. Graham
John G. Graham
John G. Graham

August 25, 1922 - May 4, 2007
Born in Omaha, Nebraska
Resided in Des Moines, IA
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John Gordon Graham, 84, died Friday, May 4, 2007 at Hospice Kavanagh House in Des Moines. Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, of which he was a long time member. His family will greet friends from 4 – 6 p.m., Monday, May 7 at Dunn’s Funeral Home. Private family burial will be held at Glendale Cemetery.

John was born the son of Fae Davis Graham and John Taylor Graham on August 25, 1922 in Omaha, Nebraska and lived most of his life in Des Moines. He attended Hanawalt Elementary, Callanan Junior High and Roosevelt High Schools. He also attended the University of Virginia for two years before entering military service, followed by one year at Drake University. In 1944 he was united in marriage to Barbara Hornaday.

John had a true entrepreneurial spirit and many varied business interests. Early in his career, John owned and operated the Lyric Theater in Valley Junction and, with Barbara, Graham’s Grill in downtown Des Moines. As a real estate developer, he owned and managed numerous commercial and residential properties in Des Moines and founded Graham Investment Company and later The Graham Group, Inc., which specializes in medical office building development, and Graham Construction Company. He started his banking career as a teller at Central National Bank, eventually establishing Hawkeye State Bank in Iowa City and the ABC Bank Holding Company, which included a number of Iowa banks. In the course of his career John also had interests in several food companies, including Tone’s Spices.

John served on many boards of directors, including Simpson College and Mercy Hospital. He was a member of the Rotary Clubs of Des Moines and West Des Moines, the Deer’s Head club, Sigma Nu fraternity, the Des Moines Club, the Wakonda Club, and the Eldorado Country Club in Indian Wells, California. He was an avid golfer, fisherman, walker and pitch player. He especially enjoyed spending time at his home on Gunflint Lake in Northern Minnesota.

John is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara; three daughters, Martha James (Michael Myszewski), Melinda Antisdel (John Firman) and Molly Alberty; nine grandchildren, Katherine Gillette (Graham), Allison Pugh (Jon), J. Graham James (Colleen), Megan Temme (John), Libby Antisdel, and Chase, Tiffany, Christopher and Sierra Alberty; eight great-grandchildren, Connor, William and Mary Katherine Gillette, Jack and Charles Temme, Harry James, and Sam and Graham Pugh; and sister-in-law Margaret Nutt and brother-in-law William Hornaday.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Plymouth Congregation United Church of Christ, the Alzheimer’s Association or Hospice of Central Iowa.


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Dunn's Funeral Home
2121 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Monday, May 7, 2007
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Plymouth Congregational Church
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50312
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
11:00 AM
Glendale Cemetery
4909 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Plymouth Congregational Church
4126 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, IA US 50312
Hospice of Central Iowa
401 Railroad Place
West Des Moines, IA