JOHN RICHARD GRAHAM McALLEN - John Richard Graham, 75, died on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at Rio Grande Regional Hospital with his wife Joan and daughter Leslie at his side. Mr. Graham was born August 22, 1938 in Yoakum, Texas to John Richard Graham Sr. and Emma Hilka Flemming Graham. He graduated from Freer High School in 1956 and from the University of Texas-Austin in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government. Mr. Graham's career reflected his lifelong commitment to education. His first professional job was teaching history and government at McAllen High School, initially in the original building downtown and later in the current location. In 1965 he moved to Houston to teach at Spring Branch High School where he met fellow teacher Joan Ruesch. They were married in 1968. Their daughter Leslie was born in 1973. Upon completion of a Master in Education Administration degree from the University of Houston in 1973, he became an assistant principal at Spring Branch High School. He was appointed the assistant principal at McAllen High School in 1977 before becoming the principal, a position he held for four years. After that, he was called on to serve in various administrative positions for the district, including administrator for secondary education, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent. Retiring in 1999, Mr. Graham spent countless hours tending his garden plot, growing vegetables which he loved to share with his friends and neighbors. The Grahams were avid fans of the University of Texas Longhorns and regularly attended games in Austin, with special pleasure after their two Austin grandchildren were born. They also enjoyed a number of cross-country road trips with John's sister, Maury. Mr. Graham was a lifelong Presbyterian. He was a much loved and valuable member of the First Presbyterian Church of McAllen, where, among many duties, he served as elder, treasurer, and chairman of ushers. Always interested in civic affairs, he served on the boards of the Palmer Drug Abuse Program and Planned Parenthood. A man of compassionate nature and careful demeanor, Mr. Graham was well loved by his students, friends, and colleagues. He was always a gentleman, with a becoming modesty and supportive, enthusiastic words for those around him. He was preceded in death by his parents and by his beloved sister Maury Shiver. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Joan Ruesch Graham, of McAllen and their daughter Leslie Jones (Chad) of Austin. His grandchildren, Graham and Eliana ("Ellie") Jones will miss their "Pops." His nieces and nephew, to whom he was "Uncle Bud," are Larisa Keltner, Fort Worth; Dr. Tiana Bonderer, Houston; Scharon Echols, Austin; and Scott Kessey, Houston. The memorial service will be Saturday, October 19, 2013 3:00PM at First Presbyterian Church in Mission. We would like to thank Drs. Tommy Yee and Viraf Cooper and nurse Dan Cavazos. Memorial gifts may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of McAllen Memorial Fund, 104 So. 12th St., McAllen, Tx. 78501. Sign the guest book at

Published in The Monitor on Oct. 13, 2013