Chris Christene Graves
Chris Christene Graves
  • February 26, 1924 - May 16, 2017
  • Texas

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Graveside services for Evelyn Christene (Chris) McDonald Graves will be held at 12:30pm on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at Fairview Cemetery under the direction of Bratcher Funeral Home. Immediately following interment, a celebration of life service will be held at 1:30pm at Waples Memorial United Methodist Church, 830 W. Main, in Denison. A reception will be held at the church immediately after the service so family can greet all who attend both services.

Chris, the oldest of two children, was born on February 26, 1924 near Wills Point, Van Zandt County, Texas to Herbert Andrew McDonald and Winnie Lucille Bristow McDonald. She married Frank Eldon Graves of Honey Grove, Fannin County, Texas on December 17, 1942 in San Diego, California. To this beautiful seventy-one year marriage were born two daughters, Sharon Kathleen Graves Mulrey, Catherine Louise Graves Fielder, and one son, Wade Tyler Graves. These children gave her six grandchildren: Christine Ann Mulrey, Brian David Mulrey, Jr., Michael Shean Fielder, William Bristow Fielder, John Austin Fielder, and Frank Tyler Graves. Great grand children include Sarah Catherine Koch, Kaitlin Taylor Koch, Miranda Mulrey, Emily Grace Fielder, Andrew James Fielder, and Matthew Scott Fielder. God also blessed Chris with two sons-in-law, Brian David Mulrey and James Gilbert "Jim" Fielder. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Andrew and Winnie McDonald, sister Neta Faye McDonald Fulton Beatty, husband Frank Eldon Graves, daughter Catherine "Cathy" Fielder, son-in-law Jim Fielder, and grandson Captain Michael Fielder, US Army.

Chris was a proud member of the Charles Dibrell Chapter, New Mexico State Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. Her patriot ancestor was Captain Samuel C. Killian of the North Carolina Militia. In addition to the DAR, Chris was a member of Dixie Chapter #35 UDC through the service of her great-grandfather Pvt. Samuel Henderson Gross of Company D 6th Alabama Infantry. She served as UDC chapter President for 3 years. She also held several positions of leadership in various United Methodist churches near USMC bases around the country. After settling in Denison, Chris was active in Waples United Methodist Women, the Monodrama Club, Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 605 committees, Layne Elementary PTA, the Waples Methodist Church Administrative Council, and Grayson College Women's Club. She was also instrumental in the construction of the liturgical hangings at Waples Methodist Church under the direction of designer Jane Doak.

Chris grew up on various farms in Van Zandt and Kaufman counties as her family farmed the land before and during the Great Depression. In 1942, this newly minted Wills Point High School graduate (class of 1941) moved to Dallas to work as a file clerk for the Wynne Insurance Company in the downtown area. She rented a room next to Lloyd and Sarah Vessels from Honey Grove who had also come to Dallas to work to support the war effort. One October afternoon in 1942 she ran home from the bus stop through a driving Texas rainstorm and, drenched completely, met Sergeant Frank Eldon Graves, USMC, who was visiting his hometown friends next door after returning from service in the Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, CV-6. Because of his early experiences at Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, a whirlwind courtship commenced with an engagement a week later and a wedding in December 1942. She worked as a clerk typist for the Consolidated Aircraft factory in San Diego until the time for the arrival of Sharon Graves (Mulrey). After World War II was over, she and Frank moved to various Marine Corps bases around the United States and added Cathy Graves (Fielder) to their happy family. They did this until 1962 when Frank retired as a Captain, USMC. Soon thereafter they completed a maneuver that Cathy called "reverse Grapes of Wrath" and moved back to Texas where Frank and Sharon entered college at East Texas State Teachers College (now Texas A&M University-Commerce). Soon thereafter Chris found out she was going to add Wade to the family. After Frank graduated from college, they moved to Denison in 1967 with two daughters - one in college, the other in high school, and a three year old! Chris and Frank were finally able to "put down some roots" in Denison and both became very involved in the Denison community until their respective deaths.

During her last three years Chris was blessed to become a part of the "God Chicks" bible study group. This group of ladies held a very special place in her heart and helped her heal from the loss of Frank as well as gave her a new purpose in life. Their love and support throughout this time as well as her short illness are also greatly appreciated by the family.

At Chris's request, memorials should be given to Waples Methodist Church for use by the quilt ministry and Boy Scout Troop 605.

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