Merle Graves

Merle Gunter Graves, 93, a lifetime resident of Pine Bluff passed away Friday, December 7, 2012 at Trinity Village Medical Center.

Born December 24, 1918, in Pine Bluff, she was the daughter of the late George William and Jenny Wilson Gunter. She attended grade school at Pine Street Grammar School and was a 1937 graduate of Pine Bluff High School. She also graduated from Judkins Commercial College.

After college, she worked as a stenographer at St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company. In 1961, she became a secretary in the Personnel Department of International Paper, retiring in 1979.

In 1941, she married Richard Poynter Graves. They spent the next 66 years together, until his death in 2007.

Mrs. Graves was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where she was a member of Mary Guild, Alter Guild and a member of the Adult Sunday School Class.

She was a former member of Business and Professional Club, the Roseland Garden Club, serving on the board of the Shepherd Center. She was also actively involved with the Ladies Auxiliary, the Mizpah Lodge, the American Legion Auxiliary and she assisted in the office of the Southeast Livestock and Rodeo office, becoming an honorary member of the Southeast Arkansas Livestock Show and Rodeo.

She, along with her husband, were also active in the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and the Brotherhood of Railway Clerks.

Mrs. Graves was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Richard P. Graves, Sr. and one brother, Harold Wilson Gunter.

She is survived by her son, Chaplain Major Richard P. Graves, Jr. and his wife, Renita Norton Graves, of Manheim, Germany; three grandchildren, William Richard Graves (Crystal) of Shiner, Texas, Shaun Matthew Graves (Charlene), of Ft. Collins, Colo. and Laura Michelle Gunter Cobb (Jackson), of Honolulu, Hawaii; two great grandchildren, Samantha Lynn Graves and Jayde Selona Cobb; one nephew, Hal Gunter, of Jacksonville; and three nieces, Betty Jane Stubbs and Susan Lambert, both of Pine Bluff and Linda Baskin of Hot Springs.

The family would like to offer a special thanks to the staff of Whispering Knolls Assisted Living and Trinity Village Medical Center for their kindness and care of Mrs. Graves in her final years.

Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, December 14, 2012 at Trinity Lutheran Church with Reverend Dean Clausing officiating by Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Directors. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m. Thursday evening at Robinson’s. Friends may sign the online register at