Larry Philip Graham
Larry Philip Graham
  • September 28, 1929 - December 30, 2017
  • North Carolina

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Larry Philip Graham was born on September 28, 1929 in Bear Poplar, North Carolina and passed away on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at his home in Greensboro, North Carolina. Larry grew up in rural Rowan County, North Carolina, the third of four brothers. He delighted in the fact that he had 73 first cousins, many of whom he knew and played with in the woods and creeks of the area during a very happy childhood.

He attended Mount Ulla School, a 1-12 union school in Rowan County.
He stayed in the area to attend Catawba College where he was listed in Who's Who in American Colleges and was an All-State and All-Conference basketball player. He was chosen Outstanding Basketball Player of the North State Conference for the 1950-51 season. Immediately after graduation, Larry received his military draft and was selected by the Marine Corps. He served two years at Parris Island, South Carolina, traveling the east coast as a member of the post basketball team.

Larry began his professional career as a math teacher and basketball coach at Gray High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He served as counselor, acting principal, and assistant principal at Gray before becoming principal of Hanes Junior Senior High in Winston-Salem. It was while at Hanes in 1965 that he was involved in successfully integrating the Hanes Junior High, with 60% African-American students and 50% African-American faculty. He went on to become the first principal at the new Parkland High School which practiced the new concepts of flexible scheduling and team teaching.

After a few years away from the school setting as director of Project Change, a program to bring innovation and planning to schools in transition, he returned to a principalship at Chapel Hill High School. His further interest in teacher effectiveness and staff development in a broader context took him to the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction where for three years he was a consultant helping schools to establish innovative programs.

Missing working with students, Larry finally came back to Griffin Junior High School, in High Point, North Carolina where he helped to develop the current middle school concept and the transition to Griffin Middle School. His last five years before retirement were at the William Penn Alternative School in High Point, North Carolina.

In retirement Larry spent many happy hours participating in and watching a variety of sports with good friends, traveling in Europe and across the United States and Canada by bicycle with twenty five good buddies, and building beautiful woodworking projects. He also greatly enjoyed having time to develop his cooking skills, bread baking in particular. He was honored to have been inducted into the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame, and continued to be a loyal alumnus of the Chiefs Club. The Bryan YMCA of Greensboro was especially dear to him as he spent the morning prior to his death doing his favorite Y activities - walking and talking with friends.

Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Frank Eugene and Marie Wise Graham, his brothers Donald and Fred Graham, and his wife Jan Fowler.
Surviving family members are his brother and his sister-in-law Jack and Betty Graham of Burlington, North Carolina, daughter Pat Graham of Portland, Maine, daughter Beth Graham and her husband Ragab Moheisen of Southport, Florida, and son Phil Graham and his wife Anna Bratt of Norrkoping, Sweden. Step-children are Tippi Fowler Granados and her husband Juan of Wake Forest, North Carolina, Clay Fowler and his wife Sara of Thomasville, North Carolina, Edward Benson of Greensboro, North Carolina, and David Benson and his wife Dawn of Mebane, North Carolina.
Grandchildren are Amina Thornton of Columbia, South Carolina, Karema and Nadia Moheisen of Southport, Florida, and Sofia Bratt-Graham of Portland, Maine, and great-granddaughter Angelina Stas. Step-grandchildren are Tristan and Annalise Granados, Brewer and Craven Fowler, and Cornell Benson. Larry also leaves many nieces and nephews whom he greatly loved. Larry is also survived by his wife Laura McMeans Benson Graham of the home and his former wife Peggy Graham of Portland, Maine. Larry was very dear to us all and will be sorely missed. We will always remember his kindness, joviality and ever-positive attitude.

The memorial service for Larry will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro, 5603 Hilltop Road, Jamestown, North Carolina, on Saturday, January 20 at 2:00 pm. Memorial contributions may be made to the UUCG Endowment Fund, or to the Bryan Family YMCA, 501 W. Market Street, Greensboro, North Carolina 27401.