Charles Coakley Graves III, 78 died of cancer March 27 at his home in Newtown Square, PA.
Dr. Graves was born in Richmond Virginia. His family moved to New Jersey where he attended Freehold High School. He was elected class president thee times, was on the debate team and the Varsity Basketball and Football teams. He graduated from Freehold High School in 1943 as Valedictorian.
He was accepted to and spent several months at Harvard College before joining the army that same year. Returning to Harvard in 1946, he completed his undergraduate work in 1949, graduating cum laude (Class of 1947) with studies in physics and sociology. After Harvard he considered the ministry and attended Seminary School briefly, but decided against it. He returned to his family who had moved to Iowa where his father, a psychiatrist, had taken a position as director of the four state mental health hospitals in Iowa. Here in Iowa, he attended the University of Iowa School of Medicine, graduating in 1954 with a medical degree.
He followed his father's footsteps into a career in psychiatry, finishing his residency at Philadelphia General Hospital in 1958. During that period he met his future wife Sarah Ann Campbell who was a student nurse in psychiatry. It was love at first sight: he proposed marriage on their second date. The two were married on April 6, 1957 and settled in Drexel Hill, moving to Newtown Square in 1960.
He entered into private practice in 1958, which he maintained until his death. He also worked at other mental health clinics including Haverford State Outpatient Clinic, Chester County Mental Health Clinic and Community Council of Philadelphia, where he spent the past 22 years.
He was known for his devotion to his patients and concern for less fortunate people. He worked 6-day weeks, til 11pm each night, often waiving his fee. So devoted was he to his patients, that days before his death, he was asking for his appointment book. Charity and giving were major factors in his life. In 1969 he traveled to Haiti with the Christian Medical Society to volunteer at a health clinic.
Aside from being a gentle and giving man, his other great attribute was his insatiable thirst for knowledge. His high school classmates still call him 'professor' to this day because of his love for books and his habit of reading the dictionary like a book. He visited the bookstore frequently, filling his house with books. Birthday and Christmas presents from him always included books. He always had the list of the 100 NY Times best all-time books and was steadily working down it. An avid chess player, he won several regional championships during competition at local chess clubs.
His family knew him as the answer man. Before the days of the internet, if there was a question, he was the one who always knew the answer. During the annual family reunions in Vermont, he was the one everyone wanted on their team for Trivial Pursuit.
He loved to tell the story of sitting in high school study hall one day. A teacher, noticing his idleness, proceeded to reprimand him." Young man, are you getting all A's", she asked, expecting to scold him when he answered in the negative. "Yes, I am getting all A's", he replied. Nothing further was heard from that teacher.
He adored travel, setting off every summer for huge treks across America armed with travelers' checks and a trailer full of rambunctious kids. He was especially fond of state fairs, visiting every one within a 500 mile radius of his path. Glacier Park, Yellowstone, Banff, Lake Louise, Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, and the Grand Canyon were some of his favorites. Later on he added France, Germany, Great Britain, Alaska, Switzerland and Austria to this list.
Another favorite story took place during WWII. He won a contest selling war bonds. The prize was a round-trip home via B-17 bomber. On his return trip, the folks at the small airfield were quite amused when a private came in asking if his B-17 had yet arrived. Their expressions quickly changed when a B-17 landed presently to fetch him.
His belief in the Bible and his devotion to church were central parts of his life. He was a member of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and subsequently Manoa United Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Christian Medical and Dental Society.
He is survived by his wife Sarah, his children John, David, Robert, Michael, Charles IV, and Laurel, who is carrying on the family tradition as a psychiatric resident. He is also survived by 7 grandchildren.
Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, April 3, 2004, at Manoa United Presbyterian Church, 153 N. Eagle Road Havertown, Pa 19083 610.446.8070 (Intersection of Eagle Road and Sunny Hill Lane, just North of West Chester Pike). The family will be in attendance at 11am and services will commence at 12pm, followed by a burial service at Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, PA.
In lieu of flowers, Charles requested a donation be made to the Manoa United Presbyterian Church.