PRESQUE ISLE AND FLORIDA - George W. "Bud" Graves, of Presque Isle, and Winter Haven, Fla., passed away peacefully at his home in Winter Haven on Nov. 2, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. Bud was born April 5, 1925, in Mars Hill, the only son of John H. and Viva V. (York) Graves.
He grew up with four sisters, Frances, Joyce, Elizabeth, and Ann. He attended Aroostook Central Institute where he was known for his sports ability, especially snowshoeing. He joined the Navy where he served aboard the Howard F. Clark Destroyer Escort during World War II
After his Navy service, Bud returned to Mars Hill and married Norma M. Ginn of Fort Fairfield. On Oct. 31, they celebrated 66 years of marriage, having lived in Mars Hill, Caribou, Van Buren, Presque Isle, and their retirement years in Florida. Bud and Norma raised six children.
Bud followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, George Washington Graves and had a stellar career in law enforcement which lasted almost 40 years. He started in Caribou as a patrol officer for the Caribou Police Dept. He joined the Maine State Police in 1951 and patrolled the Van Buren area for a short time before transferring to Presque Isle, serving until 1971, when he retired. After a short service with the Public Utilities Commission working on commercial truck enforcement, he became Security Chief for Potato Service, American Kitchen Foods, Sal-Mor Farms and J R Simplot where he served another 14 years.
While a Maine State Trooper he was known for his sharp eyes, excellent memory and vigilance of keeping track of law breakers as well as the property of land owners in his patrol area. He developed a reputation of being tough, but fair. He seemed to know everyone and everyone knew him. He also demonstrated his kind heart on many occasions when he helped out those in need by a generous act of compassion. It might have been a break from a minor infraction, a hot meal or warm bed to a traveler with a wrecked vehicle. Many times he would take a young offender home to his parents and have a stern talk with them while trying to help them see the proper pathway to success. He also was well liked by his peers in law enforcement and was a welcomed site when a fellow officer needed help. During the late 50s and 60s Bud enjoyed escorting State Representatives through the Northern Maine woods to represent Maine in promoting a commerce highway to Quebec City.
In 1967, he was awarded the Trooper of the Year Award by the Maine State Police. That year he represented the State of Maine at the World's Fair in New York City and the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Mass. In 1991, the first year he was eligible, he was chosen as Maine's Legendary Trooper, of which he and his family were very proud. Two of his sons, Ronald and Ralph, also joined the State Police and served distinguished careers. He instilled a strong work ethic in all his children and they all have been successful in their chosen careers.
Bud and Norma loved to travel in their retirement. They wore out several motor homes between Maine and Florida, before settling down in central Florida where they would be close to the Disney attractions so their grandchildren would have fun vacations while visiting them. For over 25 years they enjoyed Maine in the summer and Florida in the winter. They loved to have company from Maine visit them in Florida. Bud would become the tour guide and show the guests the popular sites of Florida and always find them a place for a good meal. He was also well known as a story teller and would entertain guests for hours with stories of being a Maine State Trooper.
In addition to Norma, he is survived by sons, John and friend, Patricia Sterris, of Presque Isle, Ronald and wife, Nancy, of Squapan Lake and Davenport, Fla., Robert and wife, Linda, of St. Cloud, Fla., and Ralph "Jim" and wife, Paula, of Davenport, Fla.; daughters, Mary Jayne and husband, Roy Woodside, of Davenport, Fla., and Debra and husband, Barry Littlefield, of Riverview, Fla; three sisters, Joyce Stearns and husband, Carl, of Bangor, Elizabeth Merkel, and Ann Smith of Mars Hill; a sister-in-law, Phyllis Shaw of Bangor; and a brother-in-law, Charles Ginn of Washington, Maine. They also have 13 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Frances and her husband, David McKay; his brothers-in-law, Jim Merkel, and Larry Smith.
A celebration of his life will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Duncan-Graves Funeral Home, 30 Church St., Presque Isle. A reception will follow the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either the Maine State Troopers Foundation, 28 Meadow Road, Augusta, ME 04330; or Chapters Health/Good Shepherd Hospice, 12470 Telecom Drive, Suite 300 West, Temple Terrace, FL 33637. Online condolences may be expressed at www.duncan-graves.com