Jerry F. Graham
COLUMBIA — As a member of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association, Jerry Graham was a successful auctioneer who started one of the largest horse sales companies in the country.
Mr. Graham died Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. He was 69.
Mr. Graham was born April 20, 1941, in Springfield to Frank and Emma Jean Thornton Graham.
He married Deborah McKnight in 1979.
Mr. Graham was a member of First Baptist Church in Asher, Okla. He was president and founder of Men of Big Creek, a member of American Legion Post 72 in Ada, Okla., a member of the Missouri State Auction Association, and a lifetime member of the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association and the National Cutting Horse Association.
Mr. Graham graduated from Hickman High School in 1958 and later from Auctioneer Training School in Mason City, Iowa. He worked with his uncle, Tony Thornton, in the auction business and went on to sell automobiles at auctions in Indianapolis, Louisville, Ky., and Chicago.
Mr. Graham and his father owned a horse ranch called Melody Acres in Rocheport. Along with his children, Mr. Graham's father raised, owned and showed 12 world champion American Quarter Horse and American Paint Horse association horses. Together with his father, he owned and operated 4 Square Livestock Markets at Marshall Junction from 1977 to 1985.
Mr. Graham started Heart of America Sales, one of the largest horse sales companies in the country at the time. Mr. Graham purchased Ada Horse Sales in 1983 and had sales in 35 states and four Canadian provinces.
He was part of a band that went on tour and opened for country and western singers such as Merle Haggard, Marty Robbins, Jeanne Pruett and Willie Nelson. Mr. Graham loved music and had the stage presence and ability to entertain an audience. On another occasion, he was asked to sing at the Grand Ole Opry.
Mr. Graham was a lifelong fan of baseball and a supporter of high school and American Legion baseball. In 2002, he was general manager of the Oklahoma Braves, a summer league collegiate baseball team.
Mr. Graham is survived by his wife, Deborah Graham; 10 children, Destiny Graham of Shawnee, Okla., Travis Graham of Ada, Okla., Justin Graham of Byars, Okla., Les Graham of Ada, Okla., Melissa McCoy of Texarkana, Ark., Melody Plants of Oak Island, N.C., Lori Graham of Benson, N.C., Shelly Quinney of Raleigh, N.C., Jerry Graham Jr. of Conway and Sabrina Silverman of Columbia; father, Frank Graham of Columbia; sister, Judy Layher of Branson; 17 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
His mother died earlier.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Criswell Funeral Home, 815 E. Arlington St., Ada, Okla.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Asher, 109 E. Main, Asher, Okla. The Revs. Dwayne Johnson, David Gray and Steve Friskup will officiate.
Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery, off State Highway 19 just west of the State Highway 19/State Highway 3W junction in Ada, Okla.
Condolences can be posted at criswellfh.com.