James E. “Jim” Grafton, 90, of Hambleton, WV passed away peacefully in the comforting presence of many loving family members on March 25, 2022 after a short illness at Davis Medical Center in Elkins.
Mr. Grafton was the third child and first son born to Albert and Esta C. Grafton of Lookout, West Virginia on April 26, 1931. He was preceded in death by his loving, caring and serving wife, the late Margaret Ann Shorter Grafton in 1981. He lost his oldest son, James Allen Grafton of Hagerstown, MD in 2001. He was also preceded in death by his parents, an infant brother, Michael “Mikey” Grafton, of Lookout, a sisters, Marie Grafton, Margarete Grafton Sebert, Neola “Bet” Grafton, all of Lookout, a brother, William N. “Bill” Grafton, of Morgantown, WV, and his childhood and lifelong friend and brother-in-law Douglas “Doug” Sebert of Lookout.
He is survived by five brothers: George D. “Don” (Phyllis) Grafton of Stratford, CT; A. Edwin “Ed” (Sue) Grafton of Heaters; Charles R. “Bob” Grafton and Thomas W. “Tom” (Karen) Grafton, all of Lookout; and Allen D “Al” (Colleen) Grafton of Oklahoma City, OK and one sister-in-law, Emily Grafton of Vienna. Many other relatives survive across West Virginia and circle the globe from Belgium to San Diego, CA.
James E. Grafton learned the value of a great work ethic at a young age that carried him well through his entire life. He was a 1949 graduate of Nuttall High School. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean Conflict, rose to the rank of First Lieutenant and served his country with honor and distinction. After being honorably discharged from his service, he married Margaret Ann Shorter, of Pax, WV on July 11, 1954. He then received his BSF in Forestry/Wildlife Management from West Virginia University in 1958. He was the first graduate of WVU in a long line of proud Mountaineers in his family.
Jim then became employed with the U.S. Forest Service. After a brief stint on the Cumberland National Forest (now known as the Daniel Boone National Forest) in Kentucky he moved his growing family back to West Virginia and was employed as an Assistant Ranger on the Monongahela National Forest at the Parsons office until his retirement in 1988. He was known to be a great leader among his co-workers; showed respect to all; lead by example; and was never one to require his subordinates to do any work that he was not willing to perform right along-side them.
James and his beloved “Margaret Ann” had seven children together: the prior-mentioned James Allen Grafton; and six who survive. They are Marie Ann Grafton of Hambleton; Kristina L. Wamsley of Hambleton; Catherine L. (Mitch) Stemler of Philippi; Kimberly Susan (Rick) Lanham of Davenport, FL; John A. Grafton of Lookout; and Kevin S. (Michele) Grafton of Hedgesville.
James is also survived by the following grandchildren: Trisha D. Banks of Greencastle, PA; James Robert D. (Tina) Grafton of Montrose; Dustin T. Grafton of Parsons and his special partner Solena; Cassandra D. Stemler of Hedgesville and her special partner Matt; Chelsea Stemler of Leesburg, VA and her fiancé, Tyler Biser; Morgan Stemler and special partner Wendel of Morgantown; Joshua S. (Jessie) Lanham of Grovetown, GA; Matthew J. Lanham of St. Albans and his fiancé, Raven; J. Garrett (Peyton) Grafton of St. Petersburg, FL; and Grant P. (Rebekah) Grafton of Catlettsburg, KY. He is further survived by 9 great-grandchildren. He has served a great Shepherd of his flock; lead by example; provided comfort and support; and given kindly and loving advice.
His presence will be sorely missed by all family and friends who survive.
His hobbies included construction, travelling around West Virginia and the United States, visiting with and being visited by family, gardening (especially his flowers), forest management and the husbandry of his beloved apple, fruit trees and Christmas Trees, hiking and watching sports, reading and watching news. After his retirement in 1988, he turned his hobby of woodcrafting into a nearly full-time endeavor. He spent many hours creating lasting treasures for his beloved family members.
He was a long-term attendee and supporter of the First United Methodist Church in Parsons. He was active in building, fellowship and service activities within the church.
During the later years of his life he included his special friend and companion Dorothy Carr and her family in his hobbies and church activities.
In 2001 he provided the initial funding for the Margaret Ann Grafton Scholarship Fund maintained by the Tucker Community Endowment Fund. This fund was later amended in 2003 to include the name of his late son, James A. Grafton. This fund provides an annual scholarship for nursing and forestry students; and/or for those seeking a major in occupational safety.
The family will receive friends at the Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Parsons, WV on Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. Final rites will be conducted at the funeral home on Friday, April 1, 2022, at 1 p.m. The Rev. Todd Rhodes, The Rev. William Brown, grandsons, Garrett Grafton and Grant Grafton will officiate. Interment will follow at the Parsons City Cemetery with flag presentation by the WV National Honor Guard, and then Mr. Grafton will be laid to rest beside his beloved “Margaret Ann”.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Margaret Ann and James A. Grafton Scholarship Fund or to the giver’s favorite charitable cause; or the planting of a tree or flower in remembrance of him.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to all the medical staff at Davis Memorial Center that made his final few days on earth restful and peaceful. The care received and special accommodations provided allowed him to have meaningful final conversations and moments with many of his loved ones. The Lohr and Barb Funeral Home in Parsons is in charge of arrangements for James E. “Jim” Grafton. Condolences may be expressed to the family at; www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com.