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Robert Shelton Graham
September 28, 1928 ~ January 28, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old
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Robert Shelton Graham was born on September 28, 1928, in Mason County, Illinois, to Walter Pearce Graham, Sr., and Myrtle Evelyn Elmore Graham. He went home to Heaven on January 28, 2024. Bob graduated from Illiopolis High School and then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1950. He worked many years at Borden. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Walter, and Bruce, and two sisters, Bonnie (Rademaker) and Shirley (Stone).
Uncle Bob, deeply loved by his dozen nieces and nephews – and their children, was often referred to as their “second-hand lion” because of their grand adventures with him, as well as his pranks, tricks, and jokes. He taught them a variety of outdoor skills from archery to the atlatl and also frog gigging. And, of course, there were the fencing lessons.
A man of few words, he loved to make people smile and laugh. He was inventive and creative - as was evidenced by a circle of wooden chickens that would mysteriously begin to peck at corn when you were seated in his living room. He was known to carry a fake skunk into restaurants and offer to let people pet “Penelope.” And his back door was guarded by a very realistic coiled rattlesnake.
He had gifts for drawing, sketching, and poetry. One of his most famous works told the story of an arrow that missed the deer but almost impossibly hit a small branch. And he had the arrow in the branch as proof. Another poem he was known to quote proposing that if you had “pessimistic parents or parasitic playmates you should pick up your Parker pen to pen a penny postcard to the people in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and pursue the purchase of peppermint pills” – and he could quote it all, with the innumerable P’s.
He loved gadgets of all kinds from high-tech items like the 8mm movie camera to musical instruments like the zither and the autoharp – which he taught himself to play. His old home movies are priceless.
Bob was an active member of Faith Baptist Church in Decatur for over 50 years. At one point his church presented him with the Barnabus award because he had provided corsages for ladies who arrived at a Valentine’s dinner without flowers. He truly did “come alongside” others with kindness to help them.
The foundation for his life was his faith in Jesus as his Savior. He reflected our God well through his life of faithful devotion. He was faithful to his country, his church, his friends, and his family. He devotedly cared for his parents and his younger brother, Bruce, to the end of their lives. He was a faithful, devoted man who was never alone, as he often said, “because my Lord is always with me.”
All over the area, Uncle Bob was a common sight at community celebrations in his Marine dress blues playing Taps with his bugle. He would often say that his favorite verse of Taps was the last one – “Thanks and praise for our days, Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky, As we go, this we know, God is nigh.”
Visitation will be at Fullenwider Park Funeral Home in Illiopolis, IL, on February 7 from 6-8 pm. Burial will be on February 8 at 9 am at Mason City Cemetery in Mason City, IL, and will be followed by a Celebration of Life at 11 am at Faith Baptist Church, 875 W. Grove Rd, Decatur, Ill.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be given to Faith Baptist Church, Decatur, IL.
Fullenwider-Park Funeral Home in Illiopolis is in charge of arrangements.