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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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!!!
Memorial Service Tributes:
A Tribute to Howard D. Graves
By Greg Graves
Given on 16 September 2003 at
Grace Bible Church, College Station, Texas
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
“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
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
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
Thanks again, for all you've
done for us and all of the support you've given the
Gracie Gigi Greg
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
“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:
What do I believe about Jesus Christ?
Whose glory am I concerned about – mine or God’s?
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Updated September 13, 200311:16 PM
Chancellor Graves loses battle to cancer
By JOHN LeBAS
Eagle Staff Writer
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
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
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
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
“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,”
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
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,
Former Texas A&M
chancellor Graves dies
COLLEGE STATION -- Howard Graves, who retired as Texas A&M University
System chancellor in late August as he battled cancer, died Saturday. He was
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.AndersonCancerCenter
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 OxfordUniversity in England
as a Rhodes Scholar, earning bachelor of arts, master of arts and master of
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 StatesArmyWarCollege
at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two children and five
10:40 PM CDT on Saturday, September 13, 2003
Former A&M system chancellor dead at 64
By MICHAEL GRABELL / The Dallas Morning News
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.
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.”
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.
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
He is survived by
his wife, Gracie; two children, Gigi Renee Kail and Gregory Howard Graves; and
A memorial service
will be held at Grace Bible Church in College Station on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
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.
Graves' faith recalled at memorial
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
The late Howard Graves had a
message for the crowd gathered at his memorial service in College Station on
The former Texas A&M University System chancellor
delivered it in person — through a video recording made before his
“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.
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
“You cannot understand the life of Howard Graves apart from
Jesus Christ,” said the Rev. Dwight Edwards, who officiated at the
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
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
“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
“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,”
Texas — Howard Graves was honored Tuesday afternoon for his faith, strength,
leadership and discipline at a memorial he practically organized.
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.
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."
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 GraceBibleChurch in College Station.
per Graves' instruction, focused more on his Christian faith and his
family than his professional achievement.
cannot understand the life of Howard Graves apart from Jesus Christ,"
His son, Greg
Graves, said his father's achievements were because of his desire to serve in
the model of Christ.
shared the gifts that God had given him with others," the younger Graves said.
disciplined, focused and strong life stemmed from his faith, Greg Graves said.
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.
from: The Eagle
(ap.state.online.tx 0665 09/16/2003 22:35:31)