Joseph Beard Graham, Sr., 93, formerly of Goshen, died on December 11, 2014, in Bedford, VA. He was the son of Andrew Dewitt and Rebecca Vaughan Graham.
In August 1947 he married Ellen Montgomery Bennett. He is survived by Joseph B. Graham, Jr. of Goshen, Ellen White (Mark) of Moneta, Mary Wiseman (Bob) of Moneta, and Lucy Hayes (Ed) of Rochester, MN, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, and brother-in-law Roy Coker, as well as a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Ellen, his brother and sister-in-law Andrew and Mary Lydia Graham, and two sisters, Anne Coker and Rebecca Catlin and husband Francis.
He graduated from Goshen High School in 1938 and from Virginia Tech with a degree in Animal Husbandry in 1943. He was a lifelong member of Goshen Presbyterian Church where he taught Sunday School for over 50 years. He held other positions such as elder, treasurer, trustee, and choir member.
In 1943 he entered the army and served as an instructor of Basic Infantry at Camp Wheeler, GA from May 1944 until April 1945. He was sent to the Pacific where he served with the 6th Army and later with the 9th Corps during the occupation of Japan.
He said that when he went to college his family was farming with horses, and when he returned, the horses were gone, having been replaced by a tractor.
From 1947 until 1952 he managed Aspen Dale Farm at Delaplane, VA and was a herdsman at Angus Hill Farm, New Market, VA.
In 1952 he returned to Goshen and started farming for himself. In 1954 he joined the Virginia Division of Markets as a livestock grader until 1973. He became the official grader for the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association, weighing and grading cattle on farms in all but five of Virginia’s counties. He graded bulls at the Culpeper BCIA Bull Sale for twenty-eight consecutive years and at the Red House Bull Sale from its start until the mid-1980’s. His work with the Virginia BCIA was instrumental in making performance testing of beef cattle a national program. He also was an official classifier for the American Angus Association for three years.
From 1973 -1975 he managed Roanoke Hollins Stockyard, Hollins, VA. He was a field man for Staunton Livestock Market from 1975-1986 and from 1986 to the late 1990’s as a field man with Staunton Union Stock Yard. In 1999 the Beef Improvement Federation honored him with the Pioneer award. He kept his small herd of Angus cattle started in 1946 until recently.
He has judged draft horses at a few county fairs in VA and WVA and once at the WVA State Fair Horse Show. He took his dream trip to England and France in 1989 with his son-in-law Bob Wiseman where they toured Percheron horse farms on estates there, and they visited the battlefields of Normandy.
His life’s greatest joys were his family, his church, people, and livestock.
Memorials may be made to Goshen Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 217, Goshen, VA 24439 or a charity of choice.
A graveside service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, December 15, 2014 at the Goshen Cemetery at Goshen Baptist Church with a service of celebration immediately following at Goshen Presbyterian Church.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, December 14, 2014 at Craigsville Funeral Home.
Arrangements are being handled by Craigsville Funeral Home.