(Kenneth) Dean Graham age 68 of Rushville left to be with his God on September 26, 2011 after passing away suddenly at his home. Dean was born in Colome, South Dakota on June 14, 1943 to Maurice and Elsie Graham.
Dean attended grade schools in rural Nebraska and rural South Dakota. After graduating from Keya Paha County High School in 1961, he stayed home and helped his parents at the family farm until May of 1962 when he went to work for Outlaw Trading Post (Winner, SD) for 85 cents an hour. On October 27, 1962, he married Caroline Ann Lawrence, the love of his life. Dean would do everything and anything he could to make her happy. Their life began living in a small apartment soon moving into a one-bedroom home.
Soon their first son, Wayde Dean, joined them on October 6, 1963. After his arrival, they bought a 4 bedroom house anticipating adding more children to their family. Four years later, Patrick Allan joined the family on February 4, 1967. Two years after Patrick, Brent Ray was born on October 6, 1969 during a birthday party for Wayde. As Dean and Caroline were building their family, they had boarders to help with extra income. On July 17, 1974, the family moved to Rushville, Nebraska where Dean managed the Ideal Market, a local grocery store. They lived in the Strongs Apartments for 6 months, but soon after, they broke ground on their family home. Dean, Caroline and the boys lived in the basement while they worked on the upstairs. Two years after they moved to Rusvhille, their youngest son, Travis Ryan, joined the family on August 26, 1976.
Dean managed the Ideal Market until August 3, 1983. After this Dean and Caroline bought Alonso’s Market and changed the name to Graham’s Grocery. In March of 1988 they closed Graham’s Grocery and bought Wright’s IGA. They named this new store the Rushville Food Center. Dean and Caroline sold this business in August 1996.
After selling the store, Dean and Caroline took a little time to travel. Their first trip was a special experience for Elsie, Dean’s mom, as they took her out of South Dakota and Nebraska for the first time in her life. In February of 1997, they took her to Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California (where she touched the ocean for the first time in her life), Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. Next was a vacation during the summer of 1997. They traveled to Alaska with Bill and LaRetta Edwards, Dwayne and Lousie Boyd, and Delbert and Wilma Boyd. In October of 1997 Dean and Caroline went to Hawaii with William and Carol Lawrence, Joe Lawrence, Rudy Ciuca and Pearl Lawrence. While in Hawaii, Dean and Caroline celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. In addition to these trips, Dean and Caroline took time to visit their children and their grandchildren as often as they could. Dean dearly loved his grandchildren and found great happiness spending time with them. Likewise, his grandchildren adored their Grandpa Dean!
Never taking a break, Dean went back to work in 1998 as a parts manager for Frontier Services along with purchasing the Nebraska Land Motel with the love of his life, Caroline. Dean would work nights and weekends remodeling the motel. In 2007 he retired from Frontier to put full effects into his “pet projects”.
Dean is survived by his wife, Caroline, four sons and their wives, Wayde and Linda, Patrick and Allison, Brent and Melinda, and Travis and Tina. Dean is also survived by 10 grandchildren, Dustin and his wife Nicole, Zane, Luke, Ken, Jake, Josh, Joe, Olivia, Lauren and Ezra. Dean is also survived by two great-grandchildren, Gracie and Karlie, additionally Dean is survived by his mother, Elsie, two brothers, Don and wife Peggy, and Larry and wife Linda, two sisters-in-law, Lousie Boyd and LaRetta Edwards, two brothers-in-law, Joe Lawrence and life partner, Rudy Ciuca and William and wife Carol, plus many nieces and nephews.
Dean is preceded in death by his father, Maurice Graham, father ad mother-in-law, Lloyd and Pearl Lawrence, and brothers-in-law, Dwayne Boyd and William Edwards.
Dean will always be remembered for his warm smile, loving heart, helping hand, and ability to share conversation with most everyone he met. Celebration of Life was held on Friday September 30, 2011, 9AM at the Rushville American Legion. Burial was in the Sparks Cemetery, Sparks, Nebraska, 3:00 PM central time.
The family suggests memorials to the Rushville Senior Center, the Rushville Ambulance Fund or to the Sparks Cemetery and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain-Pier Funeral Home, PO Box 366, Gordon, NE 69343.