Merle McGraw, 85, of Eagle Point, died Nov. 28, 2007 at his home.
Mr. McGraw was born in Medford on March 17, 1922, the second child of Thomas E. and Blanche McCay McGraw. He attended Medford schools.
In 1940 he married Jessie Elise.
He worked in all aspects of the lumber industry his entire life. Most notably, he was the general manager for the Steve Wilson Lumber Co. for over 25 years.
During World War II he served in the Air Force as a B-17 and B-25 pilot and flight instructor. He retired as a Captain in the Air Force Reserves. He continued his love of flying, serving as a pilot for Steve Wilson Lumber and later flying his own Cherokee.
Mr. McGraw’s myriad of interests centered around his family, his native Oregon and all the Pacific-Northwest. He loved presiding over huge family holiday gatherings at his ranch in Eagle Point. His many avocations included hunting, fishing, bird-watching, studying Native American culture, Oregon and Alaska history and wandering his beloved Oregon forests, high deserts and wildlands. His encyclopedic knowledge of Oregon and all wildlife made him a valued resource for many, including Oregon Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State University.
He was an active volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol, participated on many committees for the Eagle Point School District and the Eagle Point High School Boosters Club. He was also a major fund raiser for the original Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital building fund.
In addition to Jessie, his beloved wife of 67 years, he is survived by three children; Lana McGraw Boldt, Wendy Lee McGraw and Michael Alan McGraw; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and a sister, Leilla McGraw-Sparks. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Elmo.
At his request, there will be no service. The family prefers in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Malheur Wildlife Associates, % Alice Elshoff, Board Chair, Steens Mountain Road, French Glen, OR 97736. For more information, see www.malheurfriends.org
Arrangements by Rogue Valley Funeral Alternatives.