Tom Graves is throwing a birthday party, and you’re all invited.
Graves, a descendant of a pioneering Methow Valley family, is turning 90 and will celebrate that landmark on Aug. 3 at the Winthrop Barn.
Graves, who’s probably most familiar to valley residents on horseback, “came into the world in the same room where his father was born on the family’s ranch at the south end of Pearrygin Lake,” according to a Methow Valley News profile published in 2013. His grandfather, Charles Graves, started the homestead in the late 1890s.
According to the earlier profile, Graves graduated from Winthrop High School in 1947, and over the years worked as a horse packer and smokejumper, built trails and logged for the U.S. Forest Service. He ran Pasayten Pack Trips until 1981 and these days operates Chewack Enterprises, building fences, running snowplow trucks, and fighting wildfires.
He has been an active member of the local American Legion chapter, and has been involved in the annual ’49er Days celebration except for two years –1951 and ’52 — the years he spent in the infantry during the Korean War. He started riding in the parade in 1959. That has entailed, among other things, carrying the banner of the Methow Valley Horsemen to promote the Methow Valley Rodeo since 1972.
In 2013, Graves and his wife, Fae, served as Grand Marshal and Grand Lady of the 68th annual Winthrop ’49er Days celebration.
Fae was born and raised on the Golden Doe Ranch between Twisp and Carlton, where she lived until her family moved when she was 16. She graduated from Chelan High School in 1952 and went to college in Ellensburg.
Fae had three children and “traveled the world” during her first marriage, eventually settling down in Wenatchee where she became reacquainted with Tom Graves, whom she had known her whole life. The two married on Christmas Eve 1977 and have lived at their home on East Chewuch Road ever since.
Giving back to the community is very important to both of them, noted Fae in the 2013 profile. “If a community is worth living in, it’s worth working for,” agreed Tom.
Tom’s birthday party will start with an “attitude adjustment” session from 3:30-6 p.m. at Mack Lloyd Park, where “beer and snacks will be near,” according to his poster promoting the event.
Dinner and dancing will commence at 6 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m. Dinner will include steak and ribs, but attendees are encouraged to bring a potluck dish. The event promises to include live entertainment and “tattle-telling on Tom.” Bring photos to share if you have them. All ages are welcome. To RSVP (by July 20), email email@example.com or call (509) 991-3986.