Longtime Sierra and Luna county resident, Donald William Graham passed away in his sleep at Fort Bayard Medical Center in Santa Clara, New Mexico on July 30th, 2014.
Donald was born on January 22nd, 1926 to the former Elizabeth Inglis Kinney and Arlo Phillips Graham in Kingston, New Mexico. Donald, the youngest of three children, attended schools in Kingston, Hillsboro and Deming. He graduated from Deming High School in 1943, where he was in track and field, captain of the basketball team, played football and participated in FFA. Immediately after graduation, Donald completed training and became a member of the Forest Fire Fighters Service in Kingston, New Mexico. In February 1945 Donald entered active service with the United States Navy in Hot Springs, New Mexico. He served as a Radarman 3rd class on the escort carrier USS Tulagi (CVE 22) in the Philippines through the end of World War II. After serving, Donald returned to New Mexico where he attended New Mexico State University and cowboyed for neighboring ranches including Hyatt, Nunn, Winder, and Gardner in the Nutt, New Mexico area.
During the early 50’s Donald and his brother in law, Richard Strand, partnered on a chicken farm in Honey Grove, Texas. At this time he also took an interest in the bulldogging event and traveled the rodeo circuit around Texas. When it became obvious they were not going to be successful chicken farmers, they returned to New Mexico. Donald then went to work for the New Mexico Cattle Sanitary Board and the United States Army on the White Sands Missile Range. He and partner Fred English, along with two others, gathering wild horses and burros off the range for the army. By the end of his stay at White Sands, he was operating a camera that followed the trajectory of missiles being tested.
Shortly after leaving White Sands he met Karol Ann Gordon from Lakeville, Indiana, who was living at the McDougal Ranch in Deming. They married in 1958. During their marriage, they had three children, Penny and Scott born in New Mexico and LeAnne born in California where Donald began work as an appraiser. By 1969, as a certified real estate appraiser he established the Graham Appraisal Service, where Donald appraised for Deming Federal Savings among others. Later, Home Federal (formerly Deming Federal) invited Donald to serve on the Board of Directors, which he did for a number of years. During this time, Donald also took over ranching at Nutt from his father, who retired and moved to Deming.
By early 1991, Donald sold his appraisal business to John Smith and moved to Nutt, where he continued ranching. In 2009, he worked with his son, Scott, and John Knight of Element Power to create the Macho Springs wind farm. By 2010, twenty-eight wind turbines were erected. Donald was extremely proud of the construction and productivity of the alternative energy source and its benefits to the area. Especially so, because of its location on the little place that Arlo Graham had purchased in 1929 as a holding pasture conveniently located close to the Nutt railroad shipping pens. Donald was a valuable friend and resource to the Hillsboro Historical Society, sharing his amazing recollection of the history of Hillsboro, Kingston and Lake Valley.
He was a longtime member of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and with the Masonic Lodge of Kingston for sixty-seven years. He served as Master of Lodge in 1952. Donald is survived by his three children and spouses: Penny & David McCauley of Silver City, Scott Graham of Austin, Texas and LeAnne and Darryl Troutman of Denver, Colorado. And six grandchildren: John, Daniel and Zachery McCauley; Brianna Graham; Ande and Michael Troutman. He was preceded in death by his parents Arlo and Elizabeth Graham; brother, Kenneth Arlo Graham; sister, Dorothy Elizabeth Graham Strand; grandson, Tyler Lafayette McCauley. Pallbearers are John, Daniel and Zachery McCauley, Michael Troutman, Bub and Bill Graham. Honorary pallbearers are Frank Bowman, Darrell Hawkins, Sonny Pomroy, Bill Graham, John Strand and Buster Riley.
Viewing will be held on Saturday, August 9th, 2014 from 9:30-10:30 am at Baca’s Funeral Chapel in Deming, NM with the funeral service beginning at 10:30 am, John Strand officiating. Concluding services and internment will be at Mountain View Cemetery. A reception will be held at La Fonda Restaurant.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Hillsboro Historical Society. PO Box 461, Hillsboro, N.M. 88042