Mr. Clifford Harvey Graham Sr. was a…
Son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, singer, deacon, trustee, role model, mentor, friend and crossword puzzle expert.
Mr. Graham was born December 21, 1927 in Forrest City, Arkansas. He was the youngest of eight children born to the late Frank and Elnora Graham. He was raised in a Christian home and committed his life to Christ at an early age.
He attended Lincoln High School in Forrest City, Arkansas and graduated with the class of 1947. While attending, he was a football quarterback and participated in the music department. After graduating second in his class, Mr. Graham continued his formal education at what is now known as The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a Biology major.
He was united in Holy Matrimony to Elizabeth Rodgers in 1949. To this union five children were born. Seeking more opportunity for both himself and his growing family he settled in Indianapolis in 1951. Every summer, Mr. and Mrs. Graham would travel “down home” to spend several weeks with family and friends in Arkansas. They would regularly attend the Lincoln High School Class Reunion and received the “Golden Legacy Alumni Award” in 2011.
Mr. Graham was always a keeper of the money.
He was the first Black man to work for Merchant’s Armored Car Service in Indianapolis, often having over a million dollars in his possession. He often held up to three jobs at a time to provide for his family. Mr. Graham was employed with the United States Postal Service for over 30 years. He retired in 1987 at the age of 59. He was fortunate enough to have more time retired than he did worked.
Mr. Graham frequently sang with his wife and even included their musical family with church concerts. Their signature song was “Rough Side of the Mountain.” It was also not uncommon to receive a call on your birthday, from Clifford and Elizabeth singing a “Happy Birthday” duet. Mr. Graham also sang with Gospel Music Workshop of America, Indianapolis Chapter and a traveling men’s group called the “Metro Male Ensemble.” Mr. Graham was a member of the Pleasant Union Missionary Baptist Church where he served as a deacon, choir member, and trustee “keeper of the money” until his illness.
He was truly a southern gentleman. Mr. Graham treated his wife like a queen, always dropping her off and picking her up at the door. They could often be found holding hands and gardening together. Always having a perfectly manicured lawn. Mr. Graham served as a board member of the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association. He frequently canvased the block to keep residents informed of upcoming developments in the neighborhood.
Mr. Clifford Harvey Graham Sr. departed this life on Friday, May 21, 2021 at the age of 93 years. His parents; wife of 63 years, Elizabeth Graham; siblings: James, Annie Mae, Lela Mae, Elliott, Maggie “Canary” and Olivia; daughters, Mary Duncan and Gerald Dupree; and granddaughter, Geri Duncan all preceded him in death.
The legacy of our patriarch continues on through: sons, Clifford Graham Jr. (Carol) and Melvin Graham Sr. (Phyllis); daughter, Anita Boyd; son-in-law, Dale (the late Gerald) Dupree; seventeen grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and his church family.