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Howard D. Graves
"Howie"

Company M-2

15 Aug 1939 – 13 Sep 2003

Place of Death: College Station, TX

Interment: West Point Cemetery

It is with deep regret that I pass on a message from Glynn Mallory who called to inform me that Howard Graves had lost his battle with cancer on September 13, 2003.  A Memorial Service was held at 3 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 16 at Grace Bible Church in College Station, Texas.

For those of you who would like to contact Gracie, her address is:
  9254 Brook Water Circle
  College Station, Texas  77845
  ggraves@cox-internet.com

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to one of the following charities:
  Officers Christian Fellowship
  3784 South Inca
  Englewood, CO  80110

  MD Anderson Cancer Center
  PO Box 297153
  Houston, TX  77297

  Howard D. Graves Scholarship Fund
  c/o Texas A&M University System
  Office of Budgets and Accounting
  A&M System Building, Suite 2003
  200 Technology Way
  College Station, TX  77845-3424

Their son, Major Greg Graves, is a PhD candidate at Texas A&M and has been there with Gracie.  Many of us have lost a great friend, but know he is at peace with the Lord.

Bob Glass

Remembrances:

Class Memorial Pages\M-2 Howie Graves.pdf

Howard D. Graves Memorial Service
3:00 PM; September 16, 2002
Grace Bible Church, College Station, Texas

Front row: Ellen and John Kammerdiener, Missy Denney and Linda Mallory
Back row: Gabe Gabriel, Ron Barrick, Jerry Clements, Steve Denney, Glynn Mallory, Howie DeWitt, Kyle DeWitt (son)

 

 

It was a lovely Texas day, So cool, clear and bright,
As into the church we made our way,
To honor the loss of a guiding light

Howard D. Graves had lost his fight,
To conquer the cancer that took his life,
But through it all he saw a light,
That gave him resolve, lessened the strife.
 
As was clearly told to all that day,
The strength of his beliefs,
Helped him along his way,
He had made his peace, there was relief.
 
His daughter, Gigi, sang a song,
Her husband, Eric, read the Scripture,
Son, Greg, made a Tribute, not to long,
A beautiful service, I hope you get the picture.
 
John and Ellen Kammerdiener were there,
Honoring Number Two in the Class, was Number One,
Glynn and Linda Mallory , also there,
Howie Dewitt and Kyle, his son.
 
Steve and Missy Denney from afar,
Ron Barrick also made his way,
Gabe Gabriel and Jerry Clements came by car,
All together to worship and pray.
 
Gracie and Greg and Gigi stood proud,
As hundreds were received in a line,
Dignitaries, educators, and friends, one crowd,
All united to remember a man so fine.
 
May we all take a lesson from Howard,
About your beliefs, never be a coward,
Live your life to the fullest y’all,
Be ready when you get the call

Gabe Gabriel

I still remember meeting Howie by accident on the train in Chicago, on our way to Beast Barracks.  I had no idea what I was getting into, and Howie had all the poop; Bugle Notes, West Point books and a case full of info.  We rode together to Highland Falls and he kept me riveted about the adventure ahead.  What a wonderful accident that was.

It did not take long for Howie to establish himself as one of our class leaders and a tremendous leader in the Army and after retirement.  I called him when I was running one of the local West Point societies and he was the Supe.  He took a lot of time helping me shape the message that I delivered to the society about the health of West Point.

We will miss him very much.

Dave Teal

Dear Mrs. Graves;

I read with deep regret the recent passing of your beloved husband and a Great Soldier and leader.

I was assigned under your husband’s command as a young Specialist Five at Wildflecken, Germany from 1976 to 1978 with the 54 th Engineer Battalion.  Though still in my infancy in my military career, then LTC Graves believed enough in me and my capabilities to assign me as his Personnel Staff NCO and later to evolve the combined Personnel Administration Center concept into reality at his battalion.

Though a demanding leader, and at the time, teaching me many arts I did not understand to be within my sphere of influence, I excelled until my departure due to the diagnosis of brain cancer of my Mother.

I had followed General Graves for years through the military news media and have ran across several senior engineer officers who served with him since my retirement.  Many of these encounterances were in the Balkans and middle east while working as an Overseas DOD contractor.

I attribute much of my moral fiber and subsequent successes to the lessons Howard instilled in my during my developmental stage.

Though now gone, he will never be forgotten and will live in the lives and hearts of all those with whom he commanded.

Sincerely;
Warren R. Thomas
Sergeant First Class (Retired)

My family met Howard when he came to England as a Rhodes Scholar, worshipped at our Church and became a frequent guest at our table.  We have stayed in touch over the years and visited from time to time.  It is with great sadness that we heard of his death, though with thankfulness for a life well lived to the glory of our Saviour.  We have all appreciated reading tributes on your web-site, and, knowing the esteem in which Howard was held by all he knew and worked with, had hoped to find here a report of his funeral at West Point.  Please let me know when such a report is to be posted so that I can pass a copy to my parents as soon as possible.

Christine Morris

Could there ever be a better mortal than Howard Graves?? It would certainly be a tough endeavor for anyone to accomplish. I was a SP-5 with the S-3 section of the 8th Engineer Battallion in Vietnam from September, 1968 until November of 1969. We were part of the First Cavalry Division. When I first met Howard Graves, he was a Captain. We were located at Camp Evans in the I Corps Tactical War Zone. Shortly there after he was promoted to Major and headed up the S-3 section. In my 60 years I have met few men with his character and humility. It was a joy to work for and with him. He made a tremendous impression on me as a young man......One that has lasted the the test of time. He made everyone aroun! d him a better soldier and man. I will NEVER forget General Graves as long as I have a concious thouoght. I would like to thank God and his family for allowing me to be one of many to walk with him......Even for a short period of time. God bless you sir!!!

O. Lynn Titus

 

Memorial Service Tributes:

A Tribute to Howard D. Graves
By Greg Graves
Given on 16 September 2003 at
Grace Bible Church, College Station, Texas

Let me tell you a little bit about a man I was privileged to call my friend.  I also called him “Dad.”  I’d like to start out by reading something:

“One of my earliest memories is looking up at a smiling face wearing an olive-green hat with two silver bars on it.  It looked like it was ten feet up in the air, but I could tell that it expressed love.  As I grew older, the face got closer to mine, and the hat changed and eventually disappeared, but the expression of love remained the same.

“I also remember Dad’s strength.  He would pin me to the floor when we wrestled in the living room, and I remember when he gave me boxing gloves for Christmas and then popped me in the nose when we tried them out.  His strength showed in his discipline methods as well.  It was firm and occasionally painful at the time but never excessive, and it was always accompanied by an explanation of why what I did was wrong.  That was true discipline and training, and I appreciate it now that I have children of my own.

“Dad was always the head of the home whether he was physically present or not.  He modeled authority and inspired respect through his actions, not just his words.  He placed exceptional emphasis on integrity, doing your best, and integrity again. 

“As the head of the home, he made sure that we were unified as a family.  Moving around helped to keep us close.  Dad showed me that our family was important and that I was an important member.  He always emphasized doing things together.  He was there for the important events in my life despite his extremely busy schedule.  He always made time for us.  Our family was important to him.

“He was our provider.  He provided emotionally as well as financially.  He loved Mom, and it showed.  That in itself provided more security than any amount of money or things ever could.  He provided spiritually.  He trained me in God's Word at home.  He led Bible studies and Sunday school wherever we went. On numerous occasions he expressed his faith publicly in front of his superiors, peers, and subordinates.  These things combined to show that his personal walk with God was real and important.”

I originally wrote the words I just read eight years ago. I had the wonderful opportunity to share these and a few more like them with Dad in person at Christmas in 1995.  For those of you familiar with Mom and Dad’s home, you’ll find them in a frame hanging on the wall just outside their bedroom.  I thought when I wrote them that I had captured my thoughts and feelings about my father, but I have found that that is not entirely true.  Since then, and especially since he was diagnosed with cancer, I only saw Dad’s faith in God grow and become more central to his life.  He never asked, “Why me?”  He continually said, “God is sovereign, and He is good.  We have so much to be thankful for.”  Many of you prayed along with us that God would heal him from the cancer.  God did not heal him in this life, but He did grant Dad 2 ˝ more virtually pain-free years before taking him home.  And so I echo Dad and say, “God is sovereign, and He is good.  We have so much to be thankful for.” 

Dad’s focus was on how he could share the gifts that God had given him with others.  Your presence here with us today is a testimony to his sharing of those gifts.  Many of you have told me what a strong, remarkable man and gifted leader Dad was.  I couldn’t agree more.  But I know that Dad’s strength was drawn from his personal relationship with God, and his leadership was modeled after the servant-leadership of Jesus Christ.  As I’ve reflected on Dad’s life and death over the past few days, the words of 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 stand out as characteristic of him:

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Dad leaves a legacy of servant-leadership and relying on God’s power. That is how he would want to be remembered.  And for those of us who know and love him best, we will.

But Dad was never one to dwell on the past.  Even when he was approaching death, he continued to focus on where he was going.  His intensely personal relationship with and faith in Jesus Christ saturated his life and his outlook.  His perspective was eternal, and it remains eternal since he is now in the presence of the Eternal God and His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived as a man on earth, who died for our sins, and who rose again, conquering sin and death, to provide a way for those who believe in Him to share eternity with Him.  For those of us who remain here on earth, we still have the opportunity to affect how we will spend eternity.  The questions facing each of us are “What do I believe about this man called Jesus Christ?” and “When it’s all been said and done, what saturated my life and my outlook?”  I know how Dad would answer those questions.  What each of you must ask yourself is, how would you

Classmates Attend Memorial Service

Seven classmates, three wives and a son attended the memorial service for Howard D. Graves on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 in College Station, Texas. The service had an overflowing crowd of family, friends and associates including the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Texas, executives of the Texas A&M University System, businessmen and women of Bryan and College Station, civilian and military friends and his classmates, Glynn and Linda Mallory, John and Ellen Kammerdiener, Steve and Missy Denney, Ron Barrick, Howie DeWitt and his son, Kyle, Jerry Clements and Gabe Gabriel. There may have been other classmates that could not get into the church and that I did not see.

The service was beautiful. Andy Seidel, Class of 1963, a close friend for many years, orchestrated the service. His Greeting, Reflections and Benediction showed his love for Howard and the closeness of their Christian experiences together. Howard and Gracie’s daughter, Gigi, sang a solo, her husband, Eric, read the scripture, after first giving us the reason that he chose those particular words and Greg, Howard and Gracie’s son presented a tribute to his father. After Andy’s Reflections, there was a short video message from Howard that he had prepared for this day. Their pastor and friend, Dwight Edwards, delivered the message that Howie had requested. At the end we all knew the place that Jesus played in Howard’s life, that he never asked, “Why me?” and that he was at peace with himself, with his God and with his family and friends.

The reception line was long as everyone expressed their feelings to the family. Greg and Eric were both in their dress blues. Gracie, Gigi and Wya looked beautiful. I felt that the family was in exceptional condition, that they too were at peace and that they were firm in their faith that they would be together again.

The eleven of us retired to Benningen’s for some libation and supper before our drives home. As usual when classmates get together, there were reminisces. As always, our wives learn a little more about us. As one classmate said, “It was a somber reason for getting together, but we sure enjoyed the opportunity.

Gabe

The following was in the program at the memorial service: 

We would like to say how much we have appreciated the outpouring of love you all have shown to our family during Howard's illness. It has truly blessed our hearts and lives, and we thank God for each one of you. 

The legacy of love that Howard leaves reflects the love that outshines them all, the love of Christ. It is our prayer that as you remember him, that love will comfort you.

Thanks again, for all you've done for us and all of the support you've given the family. 

Gracie
Gigi    
Greg   

Funeral Tributes:

A Tribute to Howard D. Graves
By Greg Graves
Given on 23 September 2003 at
The Cadet Chapel, West Point, New York

Good morning.  Let me tell you a little bit about a man I was privileged to call my friend.  I also called him “Dad.”  I’d like to start out by reading something:

“One of my earliest memories is looking up at a smiling face wearing an olive-green hat with two silver bars on it.  It looked like it was ten feet up in the air, but I could tell that it expressed love.  As I grew older, the face got closer to mine, and the hat changed and eventually disappeared, but the expression of love remained the same.

“I also remember Dad’s strength.  He would pin me to the floor when we wrestled in the living room, and I remember when he gave me boxing gloves for Christmas and then popped me in the nose when we tried them out.  His strength showed in his discipline methods as well.  It was firm and occasionally painful at the time but never excessive, and it was always accompanied by an explanation of why what I did was wrong.  That was true discipline and training, and I appreciate it now that I have children of my own.

“Dad was always the head of the home whether he was physically present or not.  He modeled authority and inspired respect through his actions, not just his words.  He placed exceptional emphasis on integrity, doing your best, and integrity again.

“As the head of the home, he made sure that we were unified as a family.  Moving around helped to keep us close.  Dad showed me that our family was important and that I was an important member.  He always emphasized doing things together.  He was there for the important events in my life despite his extremely busy schedule.  He always made time for us.  Our family was important to him.

“He was our provider.  He provided emotionally as well as financially.  He loved Mom, and it showed.  That in itself provided more security than any amount of money or things ever could.  He provided spiritually.  He trained me in God's Word at home.  He led Bible studies and Sunday school wherever we went. On numerous occasions he expressed his faith publicly in front of his superiors, peers, and subordinates.  These things combined to show that his personal walk with God was real and important.”

I originally wrote the words I just read eight years ago. I had the wonderful opportunity to share these and a few more like them with Dad in person at Christmas in 1995.  For those of you familiar with Mom and Dad’s home, you’ll find them in a frame hanging on the wall just outside their bedroom.  I thought when I wrote them that I had captured my thoughts and feelings about my father, but I have found that that is not entirely true.  Since then, and especially since he was diagnosed with cancer, I only saw Dad’s faith in God grow and become more central to his life.  Dad sent email updates as he progressed through his battle with cancer, and those updates communicated his faith and his outlook.

On February 4, 2001, less than a month after his diagnosis, Dad wrote, “We feel the support of your prayers. Our morale is high and I have no pain. The Lord's grace is bountiful and sufficient for the needs of each day. Let's pray that every step of this journey will be for His glory.”

On November 18, 2001, after what many would consider a setback in his treatment, he wrote, “More than anything, the Lord has been graciously leading [me] from a state of anxiety to a stronger trust in His love and mercy. We have His promise throughout His Word that He loves us and that He leads us through trials for His glory and our growth.”

In April 2002, after receiving news that he would be on chemotherapy for the foreseeable future, he wrote, “Thank you all for your love and prayers. We continue to be sustained by them. The Lord has a purpose in all that He does. He is a powerful and a sovereign God, who loves us in a way that we will never understand in this life.”

In his last update, written August 9th of this year, Dad revealed that he and the doctors had decided to terminate his chemotherapy and let the cancer run its course.  Following that discussion, he wrote this:

“It is refreshing to know that God has all of this in His will and that He will provide the strength to cope with whatever lies ahead, as He has so graciously done thus far.”

Dad never asked, “Why me?”  He continually said, “God is sovereign, and He is good.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Our desire is to glorify Him.”  Many of you prayed along with us that God would heal him from the cancer.  God did not heal him in this life, but He did grant Dad 2 ˝ years after his diagnosis before taking him home.  I view these last years as God’s gift to our family.  And so I echo Dad and say, “God is sovereign, and He is good.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Our desire is to glorify Him.”

Dad’s focus was on how he could share the gifts that God had given him with others.  Your presence here with us today is a testimony to his sharing of those gifts.  Many of you have told me what a strong, remarkable man and gifted leader Dad was.  I couldn’t agree more.  But I know that Dad’s strength was drawn from his personal relationship with God, and his leadership was modeled after the servant-leadership of Jesus Christ.  As I’ve reflected on Dad’s life and death over the past few days, the words of 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 stand out as characteristic of him:

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Dad leaves a legacy of servant-leadership and relying on God’s power. That is how he would want to be remembered.  And for those of us who know and love him best, we will.

But Dad was never one to dwell on the past.  Even when he was approaching death, he continued to focus on where he was going.  His intensely personal relationship with and faith in Jesus Christ saturated his life and his outlook.  Dad’s perspective was eternal.  As a young boy, he placed his faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for his sins to provide the way for him to spend eternity with God.  That decision affected the rest of his life here on earth, and those who are Christians believe that it continues to affect his life in heaven.

If you take nothing else away from my thoughts this morning, consider these important questions:

  1. What do I believe about Jesus Christ?

  2. Whose glory am I concerned about – mine or God’s?

  3. What saturates my life and my outlook?

Dad’s answers to these questions were evident by the way he lived.  To me, his life and his death present a challenge to take every minute I’ve got left on this earth and make it count for the glory of God.

AOG VP for Alumni Support Reflections

Lieutenant General Graves' funeral service took place at mid morning today in the Cadet Chapel, under low gray skies and with a steady rain beating against the stained-glass windows.  During the service, a number of speakers eulogized our 54th Superintendent, all of them stressing both his strength of will and deep humility.   The speakers included MAJ Gregory Graves, who offered a moving "Tribute to My Father," and Don Snider, Class of '62, whose "Reflections of a Colleague" were insightful and inspirational.

When the Cadet Glee Club sang "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and the "Alma Mater," I couldn't help thinking of the stock comparison--"They sang like angels."  In this case, though, they were martial angels.  They lifted the heart and mind to a warrior's heaven.

After the service, with the rain still falling steadily, we formed in a long line behind the hearse, the band, and an honor guard of cadets under arms to walk down the hill and north on Washington Road to the cemetery, where a graveside service was held.  The prayers for General Graves were punctuated by howitzers on Trophy Point booming out a farewell fifteen-gun salute.  A little later there came a rifle salute.  Then the bugler played "Taps."  Then it was over.

The Long Gray Line has lost a very good man, a Distinguished Graduate who lived his life in accordance with the values that we all revere--Duty, Honor, Country.

John Calabro
COL (R)
AOG VP for Alumni Support

Gray Matter Report of Funeral

Pre-dawn rains pelted the West Point area on Tuesday, 23 September 2003, and only diminished slightly as graduates, family and friends assembled quietly at Herbert Hall awaiting transportation to funeral services at the Cadet Chapel.  By 9 am the rains still persisted as the busses departed.  At the chapel, resplendent with battle flags, the stained glass windows remained dark due to the storm clouds overhead.  Several Plebe ushers stood stiffly in full dress gray over white near the pews reserved for the family of LTG (Retired) Howard Dwayne Graves '61, the 54th Superintendent of West Point, who had died at College Station, Texas, on 13 September.  Muffled drums were heard outside, and the Cadet Glee Club silently filed in to fill the seats to either side of the altar.  Then honors were heard, followed by a slow rendition of "Army Blue."  As the chapel organ rendered the processional, a casket draped in a rain-soaked flag was escorted to the front of the chapel by two equally rain-soaked soldiers.  Chaplain Tatum offered words of welcome and a prayer while the glee club moved in front of the altar to sing "Precious Lord, Take My Hand."

After a scripture reading, during which the rain poured down and thunder rumbled in the distance, Howard's son Gregory '88, an active duty major, spoke of his Dad's love tempered with discipline and noted that wherever they were stationed, his Dad always conducted Bible study and taught Sunday School.  He was followed by Dr. Don Snider '62, who spoke as a colleague. He recalled that personal notes from Howard always were styled "Gracie and I," in recognition of their loving partnership; that the former superintendent shocked a Russian leader by observing that SCUD missiles posed little threat to American troops assembling for the first Gulf War; and how his handling of the infamous "fondling incident" was headlined "Wisdom at West Point" by the New York Times.  To him, Howard Graves was a gracious, humble man of God with a disciplined intellect who did not care who received the credit for what was accomplished.

After a rendition of the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul," reflections delivered by retired USAR Chaplain Andrew Seidel '63 on a reading from Mark 10:35-45 underscored the concept of the servant leader who seeks "not to be served but to serve."  After the hymn "To God Be The Glory," the glee club again moved in front of the altar to sing the "Alma Mater."  Following a brief benediction, family and friends exited the chapel to follow the casket to the cemetery.  The band, an honor guard platoon of cadets, and the colors accompanied the hearse bearing the casket down Stony Lonesome Road, formerly Mills Road, to Washington Road and the cemetery.  Hundreds of mourners, under umbrellas, made the slow trek to the burial plot near the Anderson Fountain.  The cadet honor guard in their raincoats and white hats, the firing party, and the band already had taken their places.  After the family was seated, the band began to play a dirge-like rendition of the Official West Point March as the casket, draped with a dry flag protected by clear plastic, was respectfully carried by six soldiers to the small canopy sheltering the grave site.

After brief prayers, a howitzer battery rendered a fifteen-gun salute, the commander of the cadet honor guard ordered the firing of three volleys, Taps was played-followed by the "Alma Mater"-and the flag was meticulously folded.  BG Kaufman presented the flag to Mrs. Graves "on behalf of a grateful nation" and a card was presented with the words, "On behalf of Howard's many classmates in attendance, the Association of Graduates, and the Long Gray Line, please accept our love, respect and sympathy for all that you and Howard have done."  By 11:35 the ceremony was complete, and all, save one, began to move toward the busses to return to Herbert Hall.

Among those attending were GEN Gordon Sullivan (former Chief of Staff of the Army and President, AUSA); LTG & Mrs. Christman '65 (former Superintendent); LTG Robert Flowers (Commander, Corps of Engineers); LTG Stroup '62 (VP, AUSA); LTG & Mrs. McFarren '66 (former Commandant); BG Galloway '57 (former Dean); and Mrs. Joan Schmieder (LTG Graves' secretary for the five years he was Superintendent).

In addition to serving as Superintendent from 1991 to 1996, LTG Graves was Vice Director of the Joint Staff (1986-87); Commandant of the Army War College (1987-89); and Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-91).  In Viet Nam, he initially was an engineer operations officer and then served as the assistant division engineer for the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).  The second man in his class, he spent 1961-64 studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and 1970-73 teaching in the Department of Social Sciences. 

Respectfully submitted,
Your humble servant, J. Phoenix, Esquire, USMA ‘51

 

Eulogy for
LTG Howard Dwayne Graves,
U.S. Army, Retired

Given by
Professor Don M. Snider
Colonel USA, Retired
Cadet Chapel, USMA, 23 September 2003

As I begin I want to thank personally the Glee Club for being here this morning.  You add so much to this martial celebration and, as well, you remind us on this particular day that the Academy’s future is bright, indeed.

I remember an evening in the fall of 1995, when Caroline and I had just returned to West Point.  Along with several leaders of the Corps of Cadets, we were guests for dinner at Quarters 100.  And I asked one of the firsties “What is it like to have General Graves as your Superintendent?”  Now mind you, this was a cadet who our Dean, Brigadier General Kaufman, would affectionately refer to as “a man of normal height;” he was also a member of the chapel choir accustomed to seeing Howard’s tall, imposing figure in Army blues right here in the front pew most every Sunday.  Then the firstie replied in somewhat wide-eyed awe… “When the General walks by me in North Area, you just think that God has passed by.”

Well, that is one way for us to remember Howard Graves.  But there are others.

Perhaps we should remember Howard as the New York Times portrayed him in one of the most visible and risky crises he handled here, one in which the public’s trust in this Academy was clearly at stake.  In the fall of 1994, there was an incident involving the Army football team.  During a “spirit run” past the team, as the Times reports, “…cheers were shouted, backs were slapped – and the bodies of many of the female cadets [present] were groped.”  “Another Tailhook [scandal]?” the Times continued.  “No, [for] the Superintendent of the Academy… moved rapidly, intelligently and with an openness that should constitute a watershed in the armed forces’ treatment of… endemic sexism … Losing some or all of its football players might be a blow to West Point’s football season.  But that is a small matter compared to the condemnation the… Military Academy would have deserved had its command not moved so quickly, decisively, and wisely.”  I also note that the editors of the Times titled that top, left-column editorial, “Wisdom at West Point.”

Or, thirdly, should we remember Howard for his abiding and faithful love for his wife, Gracie?  The trite statement goes, “Behind every successful man stands a successful woman.” But the more informed view recognizes that truly successful leaders, even military ones, are as mutually submissive to their spouses and families as they are to the calling and demands of their profession.  How many of us have received a handwritten note from Howard with the flowing black ink salutation,  “from Gracie and me,” or “Gracie and I share your joy…” I submit that only a remarkably self-effacing man can expunge the last traces of male chauvinism from his character, and thus be prepared, as he was, to lead this great institution through its inevitable crises.  Howard’s relationship with his dearly beloved Gracie throughout their public and private lives surely reflected that he had done so.

Or should we remember Howard at the pinnacle of diplomacy and statecraft as Secretary of State James Baker does while recounting an incident in Moscow in 1990.  “The room was cleared of everyone except the interpreters, and General Graves delivered a highly detailed, classified briefing of our war plans [to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait]… In his dispassionate, understated style Graves summarized the array of lethal weaponry available to the coalition … Shevardnadze seemed absorbed by the detail and the confidence of Graves’ brief.  He had only a single question: “Aren’t you concerned about the Scuds?” he wondered.  “No, we are not concerned about them at all, because they are just not very accurate,” Graves replied.  “They’re not a threat to our forces.”  It took a moment for the enormity of Graves’ mild-mannered insult to sink in.  The Soviet Foreign Minister had just been informed that one of his military’s best missiles was a worthless piece of junk.  Shevardnadze was silent for a moment, and then he broke out in a broad grin.  He’d at least been persuaded we knew what we were doing.”

Or should we remember Howard as Chancellor of the vast A&M University system in the state of Texas - seven universities, plus the forestry service and the agricultural extension service and testing stations.  On a visit there shortly after he was appointed, Howard shared with me one of his key visions.  Via a new consortium between the University system and scores of community colleges around the state, he planned to provide higher education for thousands of Texans for whom it had never before been available.  Having been raised in the Texas panhandle without the affluence he later enjoyed, I assure you this was an intensely personal issue.  And as the governor of Texas noted last week such was not atypical of his life, “Howard Graves was the epitome of public service, a man who dedicated his entire life to giving back to others…  I was honored to call him my friend.”

Or, lastly, should we remember Howard on his deathbed where Caroline and I visited him a little over one week ago.  Now, some believe that “Death is God saying ‘no’ to all of man’s presumptions.”  Not so for Howard.  During one of our halting conversations caused by his lack of oxygen, with great effort he interrupted me to say  “I’m afraid I am not being very hospitable to my friend.”  To my amazement, he was still utterly without presumption.  In contrast to his body, his consideration for others, a quality of his soul, remained undiminished by the ravages of cancer.

Six separate views of Howard: one of awe and respect, one of wisdom in leadership, one of love, one of diplomacy and statecraft, one of altruistic vision, one of friendship; all accurate to a degree, but none capturing the true depth of this person.  For while they tell us what he did, they don’t tell us why he was able to be who he was and to see and to do his duty so well.

If eulogies are to render accurately the praise due a mortal man then we must, I believe, look deeper.   What was it that enabled Howard to handle the public trust with such probity in assignment after assignment both as an officer and later as civilian leader, and then to fight the good fight against cancer until the very end?

To learn from Howard’s life I suggest that we focus deeper and quite sharply on two things.  First, as the vignettes indicated, we must focus on his humbleness as a man - that remarkable ability he had simply to put others first and to abnegate himself in most all situations and actions.

We know that many of the famous and powerful, including President Reagan in the Oval Office, have kept a small plaque on their desk with the statement: “There is no limit to what a man can accomplish, if he does not care who gets the credit.”

In my thirty-two years of being Howard’s professional colleague and friend, I know that he lived this aphorism; he simply was not concerned what man or woman received the credit.  He possessed the remarkable ability (listen carefully, dear friends) to have no equity in the outcome of any decision or action save that of:  the mission, his soldiers, the nation, and the honor of his God.  How utterly remarkable that self was always missing!!

Even though it is a central tenet of their professional ethos, such behavior is too infrequently observed today among military leaders, active and retired, for it does not come naturally.  As the philosophers remind us, such humbleness in fact denies the “manishness of man;” it does not come from any human source.

And in Howard’s case, we know that it came from his deep and abiding relationship with his Creator and in God’s desire to bless us all.  But, the source of Howard’s humbleness was not a mere religion; it came from serious reflection early in his life that continued until just weeks before he death.  He embraced the fact that a life unexamined is not worth living.  So I suggest to you that only a person who is so aware of his own spirituality, so confident in power unseen, one who has settled for good his own equities with his Creator, can abnegate self the way Howard did during his over-four decades of public service.

However, to be humbled before God is only the beginning for leaders of greatness, as many of you here can attest.  The continuing challenge is to stay humble as the applause of men and the approval of institutions increases with each succeeding rise in authority and power.  Few men or women can do this.  What we see too often today in leaders holding the public trust, are those so prideful and deficient of soul that they are incapable of self-abnegation.  How refreshing, indeed, it is to focus on the virtue of humility so well developed and so well lived throughout a life like Howard’s!

Secondly, to understand him I suggest we focus also on his use of intellect.  Howard never considered himself brilliant, but he did consider it a deeply moral obligation to use fully the intellect he had been given.  And he understood clearly that the habits of the mind do inform our views of the world, our own place within it, and the life we are to live.  And he chose consciously to acquire the habits of the mind and to maintain them under his own self-discipline.

He developed very early in his career the practice to start each day in a reflective time of reading and meditation.  Like the great military leaders of the Second World War and Korea, Generals Marshall and Harrison in particular, Howard understood his soldiers’ spirituality and his own spiritual need for a conscience broadly informed and, as well, one deeply steeped in the Truth.  And he worked first in the early morning to do that and only later to attend to the business of the day.

Over the years we often shared insights from our separate reflections and suggested authors to each other to supplement our Biblical studies.  Given his Rhodes background, he favored the thinkers and theologians of Oxford and Cambridge such as C.S. Lewis, John Stott and, more recently, Oz Guiness.  But he also welcomed my suggestions for authors in the newer, American evangelical tradition.

And, in doing so Howard accepted, as I believe we all must, that if we seek true humility, true virtue of character, there is no place for anti-intellectualism of any sort.  To the contrary for the professional soldier the habits of the mind, controlled by self-discipline, must dominate the habits of the body.  Thus, over time, Howard developed the cardinal virtue of prudence, what St. Augustine described as “Love choosing judiciously between the helpful and the harmful.”  So, what the world saw as profound common sense in his leadership, even wisdom, was actually the result of a lifetime of disciplined use of his intellect.

Yes, Howard understood so well that character must precede competence if leadership is to have any authenticity or any vitality in its daily actions.  He lived one of the greatest of truths - Life is first about Being, and only secondarily about Doing.  Howard led by who he was, what he did followed naturally, humbly and wisely.

So, I suggest to you that we all have much to learn from the life of this iconic soldier-scholar-statesman, one of the Distinguished Graduates of this Academy and its 54th Superintendent.  Howard knew that if this Republic were to survive it would do so, as the Founders warned us, on the character of its citizens.  In similar manner, I think we glimpse from Howard’s life that if this Academy were to continue to succeed, it would do so on the humble character and disciplined intellect of its graduates.  And, if we here are to be a better people tomorrow than we were yesterday, I suggest the life of my friend as a guide.

But just now, in our grief, when we are most sure that Love will not suffice, I know Howard would remind us that it will do so anyway.

Thank you.

The following Classmates and family attended the funeral:
Tom and Judie Baird
Ed and Rina Brown
Larry and Connie Budge
Mary Lou Chism with sons, JW and Patrick
Tony Ferraiuolo
Chuck Hodell
Pat Hoy
John Kilkenny
Bill Mackie
Ken Meissner
John and Barbara Neiger
Jay Olejniczak
Shane and Myra Olshansky
Howard and Charlotte Roberts
Brian and Joyce Schultz
Bruce and Pat Shroyer
Larry and Kathy Stoneham
Frank Tilton
Bill Tobin
Al and Carin Vanderbush

 

 

Newspaper Tributes:

Updated September 13, 2003 11:16 PM

Chancellor Graves loses battle to cancer

By JOHN LeBAS
Eagle Staff Writer


Howard Graves, who rose from a poor West Texas
childhood to three-star Army general and later
chancellor of the Texas A&M University System,
died Saturday after a long battle with cancer.

Graves, 64, was surrounded by family at home
when he passed away peacefully late Saturday
afternoon, said his pastor, the Rev. Dwight
Edwards.

“He was ready to go; we knew it,” Edwards said.
“We had a wonderful talk a week ago about him
going to see the Lord and what that would mean.
There was complete peace.”

Graves retired two weeks ago as chancellor, a post he’d held since 1999. He said his 2 1/2-year fight against cancer that started in his abdomen and spread to his lungs prevented him from working any longer.

He was diagnosed nearly halfway into his tenure but stayed on the job despite rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery aimed at destroying the cancer. He often credited his staff with keeping his schedule flexible around treatment and rest times and spoke openly about how the disease deepened his already-strong Christian faith.

In early August, Graves announced he was abandoning treatment and would let the cancer take its course.

Graves’ family issued a statement shortly after his death: “We would like to thank those who have prayed for Howard and have expressed their support and concern for him and for our family. He died peacefully, and we know that he is now rejoicing with his Savior, Jesus Christ, and that he will be for eternity.”

Graves took over as chancellor in August 1999. It was a time of growth and relative prosperity for the A&M System and its flagship campus in College Station.

Under Graves, the system developed and implemented the Integrative Plan. Much like A&M’s Vision 2020, the plan established benchmarks for performance, stating that the system’s universities and agencies would be among the nation’s best within two decades. The plan spelled out the goals of greater internal collaboration and a heightened role in helping the state meet its higher education needs.

Graves was a visiting professor at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs when he was tapped for the chancellor position. The one-time Rhodes Scholar — who was named a distinguished West Point graduate in 2001 — brought a reputation as a consensus builder and a leadership style that emphasized a team approach to major policy decisions.

“I have had numerous bosses in my career,” said Jerry Gaston, his deputy chancellor for four years. “And two that stand out as the finest men I could imagine are [former A&M President] Ray Bowen and Howard Graves.”

Graves was credited with fostering a greater cohesiveness among the sprawling system’s many parts and guiding the organization around a potentially devastating round of budget cuts this year. He championed the importance of higher education to the future of Texas and, while he said the A&M System should play a key role, he worked with the state’s other chancellors on such projects as homeland security.

He also worked with the Legislature to create four-year universities in Killeen and San Antonio and oversaw legislation that will allow Texas A&M University-Texarkana to become a four-year university. Under Graves, the system launched a program to train thousands more teachers and expanded its Health Science Center to include five schools.

“All of us mourn the passing of Howard Graves,” Mark Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas System, said in a statement. “His courage and honor throughout his leadership of the Texas A&M System are an enduring legacy. Chancellor Graves was a genteel, compassionate man whose dedication to education and commitment to students will be missed by us all in higher education and in the state.”

The system enjoyed strong growth during Graves’ tenure: Enrollment surged by some 10,000 students to 98,000, and the budget swelled by hundreds of millions of dollars, surpassing $2.5 billion.

Graves liked to cite another statistic to illustrate the system’s reach. Through teaching and service programs, he said, the A&M System touches about four million people a year.

“Howard Graves was the epitome of public service, a man who dedicated his entire life to giving back to others,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. “From serving our country in the U.S. Army to serving our state as chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, his life was always about helping others and never about himself. I was honored to have called him a friend. Anita and I will keep Gracie and their family in our hearts and prayers.”

As a high-schooler in Amarillo, Graves yearned to attend Texas A&M. But his ROTC instructor steered him toward the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and his parents took out a loan to send him on his way.

Graves performed well at West Point, where he was captain of the debate team, and after his 1961 graduation studied at Oxford University. He became a decorated Army officer, commanding engineers early in his career and advancing to high-level duties in Washington, D.C.

He capped his 35-year Army service in 1996 as superintendent of his alma mater. The three-star general also worked as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, negotiated arms control treaties and served as commandant of the U.S. Army War College.

At West Point, Graves took over an institution in transition. His predecessor, Lt. Gen. David Palmer, had succeeded where previous superintendents tried but failed — he did away with the academy’s “fourth-class” system, which emphasized hardship for first-year cadets.

Rather than abandon the drastic move, Graves embraced it, said those who worked under him at the academy.

“I think General Graves recognized that what his predecessor had done was historic and important,” said Col. Patrick Toffler, the academy’s director of policy, planning and analysis during Graves’ tenure. “He had the humility and the grace to recognize the best thing he could do was carry on.”

Graves also managed to persuade Congress not to drastically scale back West Point’s size during the post-Cold War push toward a smaller military, said Toffler, now director of the Research & Studies Partnership at the academy.

Longtime academy historian Steve Grove said Graves was picked in part to provide stability during his five years as superintendent. He implemented a value system for the cadets, emphasizing honor and consideration of others as “bedrock values,” Grove said.

And when faced with a sexual misconduct incident involving cadets — when a few males groped females before a football game — Graves broke the story to The New York Times. The paper rewarded his forthrightness with a glowing editorial.

“In the early 1990s, it was difficult times for the academy, but he did well,” Grove said.

Though commanding West Point could be stressful and time-consuming — complete with late-night phone calls, social commitments and visits from heads of state — Graves and his family took the challenges in stride, Toffler said.

“The Graveses handled it just beautifully,” he said. “He may have been stressed inside, but he never came to the office with the weight of the world on his shoulders.”

Graves is survived by his wife, Gracie. The couple moved last year from the chancellor’s residence near Texas A&M to a house in College Station to ease her transition after he was gone.

He also is survived by a son and daughter, Gregory Howard Graves and Gigi Renee Kail, and five grandchildren.

 

Sept. 14, 2003, 9:59AM

Former Texas A&M chancellor Graves dies

Associated Press

COLLEGE STATION -- Howard Graves, who retired as Texas A&M University System chancellor in late August as he battled cancer, died Saturday. He was 64.

Graves, who became chancellor in 1999, was diagnosed in 2001 with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that began in his abdomen and spread to his lungs. He died at his home in College Station, surrounded by his family, according to a university news release.

"From serving our country in the U.S. Army to serving our state as chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, his life was always about helping others and never about himself," Gov. Rick Perry, a graduate of Texas A&M, said in the news release.

Graves kept up a grueling schedule over the past 2 1/2 years despite chemotherapy and radiation treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and its affiliate in Bryan-College Station. He announced early last month that he was discontinuing his treatment after being told further chemotherapy would have little effect.

"I don't want to picture this as a crisis or a failure. The fact is we won the battle for two-and-a-half years," Graves said in early August. He said he wanted to stay on the job as long as possible, but decided less than three weeks later that it was time to quit.

He stepped down as chancellor on Aug. 31. A. Benton Cocanougher was named interim chancellor by the A&M System Board of Regents.

Graves was a native of Roaring Springs, about 60 miles northeast of Lubbock. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in June 1961 and attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar, earning bachelor of arts, master of arts and master of letters degrees.

He was a former Army general who returned to West Point to serve the academy for five years as its superintendent.

In addition to his command at West Point, Graves commanded the United States Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two children and five grandchildren.

 

10:40 PM CDT on Saturday, September 13, 2003

Former A&M system chancellor dead at 64

By MICHAEL GRABELL / The Dallas Morning News

Howard Graves, recently retired chancellor of the Texas A&M University system and a career military officer, died Saturday at his home in College Station after a 2 1/2 year battle with cancer. He was 64.

While at the helm of the A&M system, Mr. Graves pushed for a more cohesive network of A&M schools, increased the number of African-American and foreign language teachers produced by the system and weathered the tragedy of the 1999 Texas A&M bonfire collapse that killed 12 people.

“Howard Graves leaves a wonderful legacy of courage, integrity, faith and patriotism,” said interim chancellor A. Benton Cocanougher, who was appointed two weeks ago after Dr. Graves stepped down.

“He dedicated his life to service for others and his life served as a role model for us all. We shall miss him.”

A native of Roaring Springs in the Texas Panhandle, he is a 1957 graduate of Amarillo High School. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1961, then continued his education as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England.

He traveled around the world during his 35-year career in the Army, rising to the rank of lieutenant general and serving as personal assistant to two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William Crowe and Gen. Colin Powell.  In that role, he helped negotiate nuclear arms control treaties, Arab-Israeli peace plans, Operation Desert Storm and the reunification of Germany.

His military career included five years as superintendent at West Point.

“Howard Graves was the epitome of public service, a man who dedicated his entire life to giving back to others,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry.

“From serving our country in the U.S. Army to serving our state as chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, his life was always about helping others and never about himself,” he said. “I was honored to have called him a friend.” Anita and I will keep Gracie and their family in our hearts and prayers.”

Before joining A&M, Mr. Graves was visiting Tom Slick professor of world peace for the 1998-99 academic year at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Graves succeeded Barry Thompson as chancellor of the system, which includes Texas A&M University in College Station, eight other schools and several agencies, in 1999. The A&M System has nine schools and more than 98,000 students.

Shortly before his death, Dr. Graves said he had survived without much pain while fighting cancer for more than two and a half years because of his faith.

In one interview, said he founds meaning in sharing the story of his struggle with others.

“You ask yourself what kind of purpose can be served by this,” he said. “One answer is that there have been opportunities to share my stories with others in similar circumstances.”

He is survived by his wife, Gracie; two children, Gigi Renee Kail and Gregory Howard Graves; and five grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Bible Church in College Station on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the following: Officer’s Christian Fellowship, 3784 South Inca, Englewood, Colorado 80110; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 297153, Houston, Texas 77297; and the Howard D. Graves Scholarship Fund, c/o The Texas A&M University System, Office of Budgets and Accounting, A&M System Building, Suite 2003, 200 Technology Way, College Station, Texas 77845-3424.

 

September 17, 2003

Graves' faith recalled at memorial service

By DAVID GREBE
Eagle Staff Writer


Eagle photo/Butch Ireland

A mourner at the memorial service for Texas A&M University System Chancellor Howard Graves looks at a collection of pictures from chancellor Graves life at the front of the church Tuesday September 16, 2003 in College Station, Texas

The late Howard Graves had a message for the crowd gathered at his memorial service in College Station on Tuesday afternoon.

The former Texas A&M University System chancellor delivered it in person — through a video recording made before his death.

“Our walk with Christ has been an important part of our lives,” Graves told the audience, speaking of himself and his wife, Gracie. “It’s been a wonderful time together with you.”

About 800 people — including friends, family and system and university officials — gathered for the memorial at Grace Bible Church. A funeral service is being planned at West Point in New York, where Graves, a retired three-star general, will be buried.

Graves stepped down as chancellor last month after battling cancer for more than 2 1/2 years. He died Saturday at age 64.

Many dignitaries attended the memorial, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The service, though, focused more on Graves’ Christian faith and his family than his record of public achievement.

“You cannot understand the life of Howard Graves apart from Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Dwight Edwards, who officiated at the service.

That faith allowed Graves to display the strength and leadership his life’s work exemplified, said his son, Greg Graves.

“He shared the gifts that God had given him with others,” the younger Graves said, tearing up as he spoke.

Greg Graves said his father’s achievements were the result of a desire to serve in the model of Christ, not simply the result of an ambitious nature. His disciplined, focused and strong life stemmed from his faith, his son said.

Graves’ discipline was present even at Tuesday’s memorial, where Edwards said he’d been given instructions on what the service’s topic ought to be.

“True to form, Howard had a folder ... and instructions on what’s to take place,” Edwards said to laughter. “He said ‘I want you to talk about Jesus, and I want to talk about Jesus like you’ve never done [before].’”

Edwards joked that he’d comply, partly out of fear of seeing Graves in heaven someday.

Graves was born in Roaring Springs in 1939 and finished second in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He later became a Rhodes Scholar, served a tour of combat duty in Vietnam and held such high-ranking posts as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He retired from the Army in 1996 as a lieutenant general, having finished his 35-year military career as superintendent of his alma mater. In 1999, Graves was named chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

“That was a life remarkably well-lived,” Edwards said. “So many people scramble to the top with their own egos and are quickly forgotten.”

Graves, the pastor said, was different. Instead, he dedicated his life to service. Borrowing a phrase once used to describe John Brown, the abolitionist hung for leading a slave revolt at Harpers Ferry, Edwards said Graves “forgot himself into immortality.”

Others said Graves wouldn’t be quickly forgotten.

“One of things that I first noticed was that he had a presence,” said Kem Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of engineering at A&M, who attended the service.

“He made you feel like you were the only person in the room” when he spoke to you, Bennett said.

He said A&M is a stronger institution because of Graves.

Edwards said Graves’ strength, discipline and faith reflected not just in his work at A&M but throughout his life.

“You, Howard Graves, have made a difference,” Edwards said.

© 2000 - 2003 The Bryan - College Station Eagle

09/16/2003

Howard Graves remembered by friends, family

The Associated Press

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Howard Graves was honored Tuesday afternoon for his faith, strength, leadership and discipline at a memorial he practically organized.

The Rev. Dwight Edwards, who officiated at the service, said the former Texas A&M University System chancellor had left him with a set of instructions on what to say in the service.

"True to form, Howard had a folder ... and instructions on what's to take place," Edwards said to laughter, the Bryan-College Station Eagle reported in its Wednesday editions. "He said I want you to talk about Jesus, and I want to talk about Jesus like you've never done before."

Edwards joked that he had to comply, partly out of fear of seeing Graves in heaven someday.

Graves stepped down as chancellor last month after battling cancer for more than 2 1/2 years. He died Saturday at age 64.

Graves had also prerecorded a video of himself to be played for the crowd of about 800 people, including Gov. Rick Perry, in attendance at Grace Bible Church in College Station.

The service, per Graves' instruction, focused more on his Christian faith and his family than his professional achievement.

"You cannot understand the life of Howard Graves apart from Jesus Christ," Edwards said.

His son, Greg Graves, said his father's achievements were because of his desire to serve in the model of Christ.

"He shared the gifts that God had given him with others," the younger Graves said.

His father's disciplined, focused and strong life stemmed from his faith, Greg Graves said.

A funeral service is being planned at West Point in New York, where Graves, a retired three-star general, will be buried.

Graves retired from the Army in 1996, and in 1999, he added his post of chancellor of the Texas A&M University System to his list of achievements.

Information from: The Eagle
(ap.state.online.tx 0665 09/16/2003 22:35:31)

 

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