Thomas Harry Graves, a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, passed away on Nov. 29, 2023. Tom was a valiant fighter and advocate for his health until the very end. The son of Emma and Josh Graves, Tom grew up in Winthrop, Washington. He was born on Aug. 6, 1929, on the family ranch near Pearrygin Lake. Tom graduated from Winthrop High School as valedictorian and continued his education by attending Washington State University and Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, studying equine science.
Tom had a passion for the outdoors and was a natural horseman and ranch hand at an early age. Tom began breaking horses at the age of 14 and at the age of 16 worked as a local guide on a dude ranch. Tom was drafted into the U.S. Army and proudly served our country alongside his fellow soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division.
As a lifelong Methow Valley resident, Tom loved the wilderness and surrounding beauty of the valley. Tom was a horseman, wrangler, horse trader, guide, packer, smokejumper, rancher, soldier, wildland firefighter, logger, trail builder, and owned several businesses in the valley including: The Winthrop Feed Store, contract fire engine owner and operator for the U.S. government, fence building, and snowplow business.
Tom was an avid reader and preferred reading anything about history, horses, and baseball. Tom was an enthusiastic sports fan all his life. Quick-witted and extremely smart, he always had a saying about any subject, event or activity. He loved interacting with all his great friends and family.
Tom served his community as an active member of the American Legion from the time he left military service to the time of his death. Tom, Slug Davis, and Herb Gatewood are a few of the founders that started Winthrop ’49ers and he was a part of ’49ers committee until he died. Tom was the founding member of the Washington Contract Firefighters from 1998 and a member until his death. Tom was one of the original seven members of the Methow Valley Horsemen that started the Methow Valley Rodeos that were put on Memorial and Labor Day Weekends. Tom was also a founding member of WOGA (Washington Outfitters and Guides Association) and a member of the NRA since its inception.
Tom is survived by his spouse, Fae Graves, daughters Kathy Brown, Janice Tucker, sons Mark Graves, Todd Graves, Dave Graves, and nine grandchildren.
Tom had numerous loyal friends that shared in his life over the years. The family is forever grateful for the support of his friends throughout the journey of the past few years. Details of the service honoring the life of Tom will be provided later and will be held in the spring of 2024. Condolences, memories and pictures are welcomed by the family and can be sent to the attention of: Fae Graves at 2101 S. Zinser St., Kennewick, WA 99338.