Karen and I have been friends since 1981, when we happened to work on the same floor of Woody Hall. Whenever I couldn't make it home for the holidays, her parents gave me an open invitation to spend time with them, and I often did. When Karen was seriously ill 20 months ago, I spent a lot of time at her home, becoming closer to her parents.
The last year has seen several surgeries for Jack, and before this last one they checked out his heart, to make sure he could make it. Nothing is ever certain, but the hernia was going to block his colon, causing a painful death, so they went ahead. Early this morning Jack lost his fight. His only brother Bill, and his daughter Karen were with him.
He will be sorely missed.
Former dean of students, higher education professor dies at 83
Jack Graham remembered as "mentor and grandfather"Barton Lorimor
A handful of the hundreds of lives Jack Graham touched through the last 50 years at SIUC remembered him as a mentor, friend and gentleman Monday.
Graham, a retired professor of higher education and former dean of students, died just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday at the Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, said university spokesman Rod Sievers. Graham was 83.
Karen Graham, Jack's daughter, said her father had a stint put into his heart in March. Though it is generally not recommended, Karen Graham said her father's doctors thought he was able to undergo a hernia repair Friday.
Jack Graham succumbed to heart complications triggered by that procedure, Karen said.
His death came as a shock to those at his old stomping grounds in the College of Education and Human Services, said Brad Colwell, associate dean of the college. Colwell said Graham frequently visited his office to offer his time to assist the college in any way, report the whereabouts of former higher education students and contribute to the department's alumni newsletter."He was almost like a mentor," Colwell said. "He was a colleague, but he also felt like your grandfather at times."
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Larry Dietz said Graham was there for him when he first arrived on campus in 1996.He said a photograph of Graham hangs in a third-floor hallway of Anthony Hall for his time as dean of students for both campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville. Graham held the position from 1965 to 1967.
Karen Graham said her father's life was SIU, which is why he served as the dean of students and head of the higher education graduate program without a pay raise." I'd like to know if anyone else did that," she said. Karen Graham said her father did it at the request of then-University President Delyte Morris.
Dietz said he knew Jack Graham outside of the university as an active member in the Carbondale Rotary Club, he said. But the change of scenery did not mean Graham had a different persona, he said."I would characterize him as a gentleman scholar," Dietz said. "I think if you look at this philosophically, I am a better person because of my interaction with Dr. Graham. I know there are several others that would say the same."
One of Graham's former students in the higher education doctoral program, Nancy Pei, said she was one of those people. Pei, a retired director of Student Development, said Graham's involvement with international students allowed him to bring more experiences with him to the classroom than her other professors.
Interim Chancellor Sam Goldman said in a written statement that Graham was a valued member of the SIUC community for more than half a century, even after his 1991 retirement." Jack was instrumental in the creation and growth of SIU's programs in education and higher education," Goldman said. "His contributions, wisdom, insight and advice will be missed by many."
His wife, Sophie Graham of Carbondale, survives him, along with two children, Karen Graham of Carbondale and Mark Graham of Peoria.Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Carbondale or the United Missions to Nepal.
Graham's visitation will be at the Meredith Funeral Home, 300 S. University Ave., Carbondale, at 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church of Carbondale.
Daily Egyptian reporter Barton Lorimor can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 263 or email@example.com.